Iraq, BP sign initial deal to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Iraq and British energy giant BP have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop lucrative oil fields in the country's north.

The Oil Ministry's statement quotes BP's president for the Middle East region, Michael Townshend, as saying that his company will conduct surveys and studies to increase production to 750,000 barrels a day. It says the signing took place in Kirkuk on Thursday without giving more details.

As of late last month, the fields around Kirkuk produced around 140,000 barrels a day, all of which went to refineries.

Iraqi forces seized the disputed city of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces in October. The Kurds, who took control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas when Islamic State group swept into Iraq in summer 2014, exported oil through their own pipeline to Turkey.