The BBC contacted bp directly and we provided the following statement in response to a series of questions they asked:
As we have stated before, bp is not and has never been the operator of the Rumaila field. Nor do we have any ownership interest or equity in the field or any right to the oil it produces. Nevertheless, we continue to actively support the lead contractor – Basra Energy Company Limited (BECL) – in its work to help the operator of the field, the Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO), to reduce its flaring and emissions.
ROO has and continues to implement a number of strategic projects which have significantly reduced flaring and emissions. These include completing a series of facility upgrades, improving plant reliability and working with Basrah Gas Company – which is responsible for managing the gas produced by several major oilfields in the region, including Rumaila – to reduce flaring. At the same time, work has also been carried out to reduce black smoke near local communities.
And work will continue with planned additional facility modifications to further reduce flaring and black smoke. As shareholders, bp and PetroChina continue to provide technical advice and support to BECL aimed at delivering further improvements at Rumaila.
In line with standard industry practice, bp reports flaring from activities where we are the operator, and emissions data from activities where we operate or have an ownership interest in a field or its production. In relation to our operated assets, we continue to progress our work under the World Bank's Zero Routine Flaring Initiative by 2030 (and by 2025 in our bpx energy operations).
We are in action. Working with the partners at Rumaila we reviewed the issues raised and how to address them. ROO continues to make good progress at the Rumaila field – reducing flaring, reducing emissions, and improving support and engagement with local communities.
ROO continues to use data and insights to inform ongoing improvements across the field. This includes an expanded and ongoing programme of air monitoring.
bp and PetroChina continue to provide technical advice and support to Basra Energy Company Limited (BECL), who are working closely with the Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO) – which is the operator of the oilfield.
The reductions in gas flaring and black smoke emissions are possible through ROO’s ongoing work with the Basrah Gas Company (BGC), which is responsible for managing the gas produced by a number of major oilfields in the region, including Rumaila.
ROO is fully committed to delivering further improvements and bp will continue to support these efforts as a matter of urgency.
Further progress has been made in 2022. ROO estimates that as a result of its interventions flaring of gas from its operated facilities at Rumaila decreased more than 65% from 2016 to 2022.
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.