Mar 30 2011
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Oil committee casts shadow on Iraq's forecasted 12m bpd exports
Furat al-Sharei told AKnews that the oil ministry has only just begun to implement a plan to develop the country's storage facilities for crude oil, expected to reach 4 million bpd by 2016.
"Iraq requires intensive efforts from the oil companies that won licenses in the three rounds to improve the extractive infrastructure of crude oil during the next phase to meet the highest levels of exports," he said.
The Oil Ministry announced on March 19 that it is seeking to increase the production of crude oil to 4 million bpd after the completion of the storage and export development projects.
"Enhancing the capacity of oil production must be preceded by development projects and infrastructure development through the establishment of pipelines and the development of export reservoirs."
Sharei's remarks follow a report issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday which expressed concern that the Iraqi Oil Ministry would be unable to raise the level of oil exports as forecasted because of the limitations of the country's infrastructure
The Oil Ministry announced at the end of last year a five year plan to raise the country's oil production to 12 million bpd from the 2.7 million bpd currently produced.
In the early 1980s Iraq maintained a healthy crude oil industry with a capacity of 6.6 million bpd, including the 1.6 million bpd double pipeline running from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.
Iraq's oil production and transport infrastructure suffered extensive damage and neglect due to the long years of war and subsequent insurgency, which has had a negative impact on the country's exports.
Iraq has the third largest oil reserves in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Ministry of Oil announced in September last year that the Iraq's proven reserves of oil reached 33.463 billion barrels in the northern and southern oil fields, particularly in the fields of Qurna and Zubair.
The West Qurna field in Basra province is the largest Iraqi oil field and the second largest in the world in terms of its proven reserves of 43 billion barrels.
The new reserves, distributed among 14 fields, comprise more than five billion barrels and they are located in Missan, Dhiqar, Salahaddin and Nineveh.
71% of the oil reserves are located in the southern fields, particularly in Basra, 20% in the northern fields especially in Kirkuk, and 9% in the middle of the country especially in a field east of Baghdad.
Iraq signed oil contracts with international energy companies at the beginning of this year after two rounds of licenses to develop ten oil fields were tendered.
The 2.7 million bpd that Iraq currently produces constitutes around 94 % of the country's overall revenues.
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