A memorandum of understanding promises to re-start BP’s reservoir studies, and could lead to a long-term development deal.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi signs an MoU for BP to study the Kirkuk field on January 18, 2017, at the North Oil Company headquarters, as BP President for Middle East Michael Townshend looks to the cameras. Seated next to Lueibi is Kirkuk Governor Rakan al-Jabouri. Seated next to Townshend is BP Head of Country Zaid Elyaseri, and behind Townshend is Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedy, the Director General of the ministry’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate.

BP is primed to return to Kirkuk, after signing a memorandum of understanding last Thursday.

The agreement paves the way for the British super-major to resume a reservoir study, which began in 2013 but was interrupted a year later when the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group took over much of northern Iraq.