News Summary: Iraq may put BP on Kirkuk oil field

Iraq's Cabinet considering bid from BP to raise output at oil field in contested area

Associated Press

DISPUTED TERRITORY: Iraq is considering a proposal from British oil giant BP PLC to begin work on a major oil field that lies in territory claimed by both Baghdad and the country's Kurdish minority.

POTENTIAL: The Kirkuk oil field was discovered in 1927. Production levels have fallen sharply over the years to less than 300,000 barrels a day as a result of mismanagement dating back to Saddam Hussein's rule as well as neglect and occasional sabotage of crucial infrastructure.

RISKY BUSINESS: The field is at the heart of the largely autonomous northern region controlled by Iraq's minority Kurds who have their own army. An exchange of fire in another part of the region in November brought troops from both sides, along with heavy weapons, to their disputed internal border.

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