Iraq Ups Official Oil Reserves, Overtakes Iran!

Iraq has raised the level of the oil reserves it claims to own by 24% in its first revision since the change of regime in 2003.

The country has 143.1bn barrels of known and extractible oil, up from the 115bn barrels previously estimated.

If correct, the revision means that Iraq now has bigger oil reserves than neighbouring Iran.

Under Saddam Hussein, sanctions and political isolation meant little new exploratory work was undertaken, but Iraq has issued two rounds of international oil licences, and launched a big increase in exploration efforts in the last two years.

Announcing the new figures, the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, said he expected further increases as continuing exploration yields more results.

The minister also said that his country would now officially inform the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) of its findings, so that the new reserves figure can obtain international recognition; Iraq may be pushing for a bigger share of Opec’s oil production.

Iraq aims to increase its oil exports to 10-12 million barrels per day in the next five to 10 years, but this will require sustained investment in infrastructure to extract and transport the crude.

The new proven reserves figure excludes oil located in the autonomous province of Kurdistan in the north of the country, according to the oil minister.

“The Kurdish regional government did not supply us with the latest developments of their activities,” complained Mr al-Shahristani.

“We are surprised that they supply oil companies with this information, but do not inform the oil ministry or the federal government.”

The reserves are mainly located in the Shia-dominated south of the country. Iraq’s biggest oilfield – West Qurna – is the world’s second largest, with 43bn barrels, according to the oil minister.

He said that a further 33.5bn barrels of oil are known to exist, but are [currently considered to be] unrecoverable.

3 Responses to Iraq Ups Official Oil Reserves, Overtakes Iran!

  1. […] is home to the world’s third largest proven reserves of crude. Oil exports account for more than 90 percent of its state […]

  2. […] which has some of the world’s largest oil reserves, is looking to its oil exports to, as Mohammed said, “contribute to the recovery of the economic […]

  3. […] a week after Iraq finally re-stated its oil reserves, jumping from fourth to third place ahead of Iran, the Iranians have decided to re-state their oil […]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Honeywell to Open Office in Baghdad – More to Follow | Iraq Business News - October 5, 2010

    […] is home to the world’s third largest proven reserves of crude. Oil exports account for more than 90 percent of its state […]

  2. Iraq Focuses on Food Security and Poverty | Iraq Business News - October 12, 2010

    […] which has some of the world’s largest oil reserves, is looking to its oil exports to, as Mohammed said, “contribute to the recovery of the economic […]

  3. Iran Re-Gains Third Place in Oil Reserves War | Iraq Business News - October 12, 2010

    […] a week after Iraq finally re-stated its oil reserves, jumping from fourth to third place ahead of Iran, the Iranians have decided to re-state their oil […]