Production from oilfields in Iraq’s Kirkuk region is being hampered by underinvestment, according to the region’s governor, Najmaldin Karim.

“There is really a significant problem,” he said, speaking to MEED in an interview.

UK-based oil and gas company BP was planning to execute a project to double production in the region prior to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) launching a major offensive in Northern Iraq in 2014.

Since June 2014 all work on the project has stopped, according to Karim.

Aside from the ongoing security issues, the return of BP has been complicated by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) taking control of the Khurmala formation, which was operated by Baghdad’s North Oil Company (NOC) prior to Isis’ 2014 offensive.

The Khurmala formation is one of three formations that would have been developed as part of the BP development.

“I think they would like to come back, but they cannot. They have to do the whole thing and the whole thing is not available to them because the KRG part is not available to them,” Karim said. “I think eventually there has to be [a policital solution] because everyone is in bad shape economically. They have to figure out a way to bridge the differences.”

If the BP project had gone ahead it would have increased production in the Kirkuk region from about 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) to about 600,000 b/d.