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Iraq’s oil production hits 2.6 million bdp

Exploration & Production

The newly appointed Iraq oil minister, Abdul Karim al-Luaibi, announced in December 2010 that the countrys oil output had risen to 2.6 mn bdp from just under 2.4 mn as a result of a production increase from the giant Zubair and Rumaila oilfields.

A statement from the oil ministry said that the increase was the first since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and came after the foreign consortia succeeded in raising production by 10 per cent from the two fields in less than a year, ahead of the three-year schedule set out in the service contracts, reported Platts.

The terms of the technical service contracts awarded to foreign companies stipulate that the 10 per cent production increase from each of the fields awarded for further development must come within three years of the contracts coming into effect though several companies involved have said the planned increments are ahead of schedule.

Iraq, a member of OPEC, had in October raised its oil reserves estimate from 115 billion barrels to 143 billion barrels, mainly due to increases in reserves for the West Qurna and Zubair fields.

Luaibi stated that there would be further increases in the near future from other fields. Iraq aims to raise oil output to 3 million bdp by the end of 2011.

Zubair was among 12 oil fields awarded by Iraq's oil ministry at two separate auctions in 2009 with the aim of raising the country's oil production capacity to over 12 million bpd in six to seven years from around 2.6 million bpd currently.

Luaibi said the oil ministry would now focus on improving energy infrastructure to absorb the additional crude oil with a particular emphasis on upgrading export facilities in the south to allow for an expansion of export capacity to 4.5 million bpd in line with anticipated production increases. Current exports are running at just over 1.9 million bpd.