BAGHDAD - Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi called on British energy giant BP on Wednesday to help develop fields in the northern province of Kirkuk recovered from Kurdish forces this week.
Luaybi appealed to the firm, whose origins lie in the development of oil in then British-ruled Iraq nearly a century ago, to "quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oil fields".
The Iraqi oil ministry signed a consultancy contract with BP in 2013 to help the state-owned North Oil Company to develop the Havana and Baba Gurgur fields.
But it was never implemented as Baghdad lost control of the fields to Kurdish forces the following year during the chaos of the Islamic State group's lightning offensive through northern and western Iraq.
BP says on its website that it has "provided technical assistance to the North Oil Company to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field."
It says that the Kirkuk field is estimated to have around nine billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining.
The Baba Gurgur field, which was discovered by the company that later became BP, was the largest in the world when it began production in 1927.
Today it produces around 50,000 barrels of oil per day, while the Havana field pumps between 50,000 and 60,000 bpd, an NOC official said.
Federal troops retook the two fields, and three others that had been held by Kurdish forces, on Tuesday, dealing a body blow to the finances of the autonomous Kurdish region which had derived much of its revenue from their output.