Oil Output to Surge in Iraq

Basra, 23 May 2010 - Gulf Daily News

Iraq expects crude output from its southern oilfields, Rumaila, Majnoon and West Qurna Phase One, to reach about 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this year, the head of South Oil Company (SOC) said yesterday.

State-run SOC gave the estimates after international firms presented development plans and started issuing tenders for work in the supergiant fields, company head Dhiya Jaafar said.

Iraq, in desperate need of cash to rebuild after years of economic sanctions and underinvestment, has opened its vast oil reserves and some untapped fields to global oil companies.

It struck major deals in two auctions last year in a bid to raise its production capacity to Saudi Arabian levels of 12m bpd in seven years from 2.5m bpd now.

The potential workload in Iraq is unprecedented in the history of the oil industry.

Jaafar said the output target from Rumaila - the backbone of Iraq's oil production - is expected to hit 1.085m bpd after July this year from 1.065m bpd now, and a more than 10 per cent increase in production by the end of the year.

That would take the total production level from the field to about 1.2m bpd.

BP and China's CNPC signed a 20-year development contract last year to lift output at Rumaila, which has 17 billion barrels of estimated crude reserves.

"In Rumaila ... starting from the month of July, there will be obvious increases," he said.

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