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Iraq expects oil output to touch 3m bpd this year.

Dubai Iraq's oil output has been exceeding predicted output rates. On Monday, Iraq's crude oil output surpassed 2.9 million barrels per day. This has increased from the average 2.7 million barrels per day since the beginning of this year and is a 15 per cent increase over the rate in 2010 which was around 1.8 million barrels per day.

Dr Zalmay Khalilzad, president of Gryphon Partners and former US ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and the UN said this is a positive sign of Iraq's potential which recently had its proven oil reserves upgraded from 115 billion barrels in 2006 to 143 billion barrels in 2010.

According to Dow Jones, Iraqi oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaiby predicts that production will reach three million barrels per day by the end of the year.

"The Kurdish region's success is even more significant. Virtually no oil and gas industry existed, now dozens of companies of different sizes, some significantly larger countries have shown interest. Some have even begun to produce not only for local use but also for export. Production is 200,000 barrels a day," said Dr Khalilzad.

However while output is up, Dr Khalilzad said conflicts in the region may have an impact.

Opportunity

"The dramatic changes in the region are still unfolding and it might have a bigger effect on Iraq. Some Iraqis are concerned that the overthrow of the order in Syria will sharpen and heighten the competition among regional players," he said.

Iraq still faces a number of significant challenges in the industry, said Dr Khalilzad in his keynote speech at the recent Annual Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference in Dubai.

"One has to do with politics and the current government and the other is that the Iraqi constitution requires that a new oil law be developed to regulate the industry. After the new government was formed there was a commitment to having the law come about that has not been achieved," said Dr Khalilzad.

"My own judgment is that ultimately there will be a law developed. I don't know if it will be developed in the next couple of months, I think it's too optimistic," he added.

Another key challenge is the dilapidated infrastructure.

"However, it also an area for future opportunity. Iraq has ambitious plans on how much oil it will produce. Ideally they'd like to have the ability to export in all directions in the Gulf and even revitalise

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Oct 6, 2011
Words:423
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