Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani yesterday said he expected Iraq to become the world’s top oil producer in six to seven years, and that OPEC should take into account Iraq’s need to rebuild its economy.
Emerging from the shadow of war and keen to generate petrodollars to rebuild, Baghdad looks set to lift capacity to 12mn barrels per day in six or seven years, strengthening its hand for future negotiations on output quotas with OPEC.
“We can’t find a reason to prevent Iraqi production becoming higher than any other OPEC state or even states outside OPEC. We expect that to happen in the next six to seven years with co-ordination and agreement with other OPEC producers,” he said.
Iraq has signed a series of oilfield development deals with global oil firms – which bid on prime fields at two energy auctions last year – in a nation with the world’s third largest crude reserves, emerging from years of conflict and sanctions.