Iraq has announced first oil flow from early production facilities at the 1.5bn barrel Hamrin oil field, part of which lies within the giant Kirkuk structure. The project has been on the back burner for years but is being rushed as the ministry strives to boost oil output from central and northern fields as Kirkuk has declined. Meanwhile, the state budget, which relies almost exclusively on oil revenues to generate income, is in limbo as a result of the ongoing dispute between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad over Kurdish oil exports through Turkey.

Iraqi Oil Minister ‘Abd al-Karim al-Laibi said in a statement posted on the oil ministry’s website that the Hamrin development, about which little has been said since a project to develop the field was first mooted in 2008, was part of the ministry’s efforts to develop further its northern fields. He gave no figures for production but said the field would be tied to the national pipeline system as part of efforts by the North Oil Company to boost its output. Iraqi state engineering firm SCOP, which is in charge of pipeline and infrastructure developments, said in 2008 that conservative estimates put production capacity from Hamrin, known in Iraqi circles as “the sleeping giant,” at 60,000 b/d. It was discovered in 1961 by the then Western-owned firm Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) but has not been fully developed, though some production facilities exist. (CONTINUED - 2431 WORDS)