Iraq's oil minister, Abdul-Karim Elaibi [Luaibi], says the country's daily crude production has exceeded 2.6 million barrels a day.
The minister says oil production will reach its planned targets "sooner than expected." Elaibi did not set a date for reaching these new levels in comments to reporters on Monday, although some reports put the target at 3m bpd by the end of 2011.
He also commented that “the rate of $100 per barrel is a fair one for crude oil".
Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas contracts since 2008 and plans to reach daily production capacity of 12 million barrels from the current 2.6 million.
Iraq plans to raise exports to 2.25 million barrels a day in 2011, up from 1.9 million at present.
(Sources: Associated Press, Aswat al-Iraq)