The BBC and Greenpeace Unearthed contacted bp directly and we provided the following statement in response to a series of questions they asked.
Rumaila is Iraq’s largest oilfield and plays an essential role in the country’s economy. After years of conflict and under-investment, the field required extensive repair and modernisation. bp and partners – state-owned Basra Oil Company, PetroChina and Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company – have worked to support the rehabilitation and operation of the field.
Over $20 billion has been invested in Rumaila and significant improvements made. These include improvements in the safety culture of the field’s 6,000-strong workforce, operational safety improvements, clearing of historic contamination and unexploded munitions, reducing emissions, and improving the integrity of the field’s ageing infrastructure. Important initiatives in infrastructure, education and health have also been delivered in the communities around Rumaila, such as new roads, health clinics and school refurbishment.
Management of gas produced alongside the oil is a significant challenge, and progress has been made here. Working with the Basrah Gas Company, flaring of Rumaila’s gas has reduced by almost 60% over the past six years. Plans are also in place to continue to reduce emissions more widely from the field.
Wherever we work, we aim to support safe, responsible and reliable operations, bringing our experience and technology to help deliver improvements. Despite the progress that has been made at Rumaila, we know there is much still to do.
We are extremely concerned by the issues raised by the BBC − we will immediately review those concerns and work with our partners on any necessary interventions. We are fully committed to supporting further improvements at this vitally important field for Iraq.
In line with standard practice across the oil and gas industry, bp reports flaring from activities where we are the operator and emissions data from activities where we operate or have an ownership interest.
bp does not have any ownership interest in the Rumaila field, or any right to the oil it produces, and has never been its operator. Its flaring and operational data are therefore not included in our reporting.
We are paid a fee for the technical services we provide at Rumaila, which we have taken as allocations of oil – these are included in our reporting.
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