Iraq sees oil output at 3.5 mln bpd by end 2009

DUBAI - Iraq plans to raise crude oil production to 3.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2009 and and will build pipelines to supply oil and gas to Syria and Iran, Oil Minister Hussein Al Shahristani said on Saturday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 8 Sep 2007, 7:09 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:35 PM

Shahristani told reporters that Iraq would supply Syria with 50 million cubic feet of gas a day and Iran with 100,000 bpd of crude through pipelines that would be built in the coming year.

The tender to build the Iraqi side of the small pipeline to Deir Al Zour in eastern Syria would be launched in September, Shahristani said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

He said the deal with Iran would involve building a pipeline from Iraq’s southern city of Basra to Iran’s Abadan refinery.

Overall, the OPEC producer sees its crude output rising to 6 million bpd over the next 10 years from 2.5 million now, but its plans depend on the security situation.

Sabotage has plagued Iraq’s oil sector since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 sparked an insurgency and the country, which has the world’s third-largest oil reserves, has not been able to raise production to pre-war levels of almost 3 million bpd.

Shahristani said he did not expect the withdrawal of British troops from southern Iraq to expose facilities in the region, home to most of the country’s oil reserves, to more attacks.

‘The pullout of the British troops has no impact on oil facilities because they were not protecting these installations. This is the responsibility of the ministry of oil,’ he said.

‘We see a substantial increase in oil and gas resources and a doubling of oil production.’

Oil law

Growth also hinges on a long-awaited federal hydrocarbons law that aims to unlock billions in potential foreign investment by setting ground rules for operation.

The controversial bill has been approved by the Iraqi government after months of talks but has yet to be debated by parliament, which returned this month from its summer break.

International oil companies are reluctant to enter Iraq until a legal framework for the energy sector is in place.

Shahristani reiterated comments by other Iraqi officials that the oil law would be passed ‘within a few weeks’, though many disagreements over the fine print persist.

He said the bill would allocate all 27 existing producing fields to the new Iraqi national oil company, along with a similar number of nearby discovered but not producing fields.

Another 26 discovered fields that are further away from production centres will be opened up to international oil companies along with around 65 exploration blocks, he said.

Iraq hopes to raise proven oil reserves by over a third through exploration ‘to change non-potential reserves that stand at 214 billion barrels to proven reserves, adding 43 billion barrels to the existing 115 billion barrels’, Shahristani said.

The plan involves drilling 2,000 new production wells and the development of new fields, he said.

Iraq also wants to raise gas production to 4.7 trillion cubic metres from 3.1 trillion cubic metres, the minister said.

However, many international oil company executives have cast doubts on Iraq’s ability to meet those growth targets given the political wrangling over the oil law and continued instability.

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