BP CEO Bob Dudley told the Oil & Money Conference in London on 18 October that he had not heard from Iraq’s Oil Minister Jaber al-Luaibi about a report today that he had invited the oil company to resume work on the Kirkuk oil field.

Control of the field was recovered by the Iraqi government this week from Kurdish forces, which captured the Kirkuk region in 2014.

“I read (about the offer) on the Reuters screen this morning,” Dudley said in a question-and-answer session at the conference.

“We know Kirkuk well. We were working on technical and advisory work on Kirkuk until 2015. I haven’t read [Al-Luaibi’s] remarks or heard from him.”

Iraq’s Oil Ministry announced earlier in the day that Al-Luaibi had asked BP “to quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oil fields.”

The Kirkuk field, the largest in northern Iraq, has an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil reserves. It produces about 1 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil.

Iraqi troops retook the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk and its oil fields, as well as parts of the Nineveh and Diyala provinces, on 16 and 17 October. The military operation came three weeks after the Kurds held an independence referendum, which Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said was now a “thing of the past”.

Al-Abadi called for dialogue with the Kurdistan Regional Government on Tuesday night, saying he wanted a “national partnership” based on Iraq’s constitution.