IEA Sceptical of Iraq's Oil Output Plans

The IEA report amplifies those concerns. It said that if investment targets of around $150 billion are met, largely by the foreign oil companies, Iraqi production should reach 12 million bpd in the allotted time.

But it estimated that a more realistic figure, provided infrastructure was improved, would be a production level of 6.5 million bpd by the 2030s compared to the current 2.4 million bpd.

The agency emphasized the mammoth task that lies ahead, noting that "basic infrastructure, including roads, bridges, airports and water supply are all in need of repair and expansion."

It said "a major expansion of shipping ports will also be needed."

The IEA cautioned that "the sheer scale of the required construction of infrastructure, coupled with political uncertainties, suggests that the expansion of capacity will be much slower."

If the Iraqis succeed in reaching their target of 12 million bpd, it would, on current production levels, challenge Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer, and eclipse Iran, currently the No. 2 producer in the Saudi-dominated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As we recently reported, Iraq has upgraded its oil reserves from 115 billion barrels to 143.1 billion.

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