Iraq’s oil exports are expected to rise to their highest in decades this month and production is on course to more than double by 2020 as it cements its place as OPEC’s second biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, a report said on Sunday.
The International Energy Agency said that Iraq’s oil production would reach 6.1 million barrels per day by the end of this decade from current output around 3 million barrels per day. Iraq recently signed deals worth billions of dollars with foreign oil companies to increase production and exploration of new oil and gas fields. The IEA, which advises 28 industrialised countries, highlighted the risk of production rising more slowly than expected in a recent report.
A senior Iraqi oil official said that oil exports were expected to rise above 2.8 million barrels per day this month with shipments on the rise from both the north and south of the country. Exports of 2.6 million barrels per day in September were already the highest in more than 30 years.
“I’m quite confident that if all goes well exports will increase to at least 2.8 million,” the Iraqi official said who declined to be identified. Iraq’s supergiant southern oilfields are set to contribute about 2.4 million barrels per day of Basra crude to the export total while the northern oilfields are due to crank out around 450,000 barrels per day of Kirkuk.
Baghdad said last week its September oil exports peaked the highest in three decades with about 2.6 million barrels per day, earning the exchequer $8.4 billion.
Iraq’s oil and gas reserves are among the largest in the world, totalling estimates of 143.1 billion barrels of oil and 3.2 trillion cubic metres of gas.