Hydrocarbon Reserves in Iraq

By Dr Thamir Uqaili

Dr Uqaili is E&P Consultant and CEO of Petroconsult Canada & Associates. He has BSc in Oil Technology and PhD in Petroleum Engineering form the Imperial College in addition to MSc in Water Resources Technology from Birmingham University. Dr Uqaili worked in over ten countries including some 35 years in Iraq, in the hydrocarbon upstream sector and has been concentrating on Iraq during the last 10 years


The ministry of oil, last year declared that Iraq has about 142 Billion B recoverable oil reserves (P1) compared to the old official figure of 112 BB, without giving details where the increase came from. Information obtained from personal source in the Ministry suggested that the increase was due to upgrading oil in place in W Qurna and possibly Zubair fields.

Such increase should be based on new seismic data acquisition and reservoir delineation by wells that were not achieved by then.

This article discusses what increase of the reserves is likely to be according to a detailed reassessment done by the author, noting that more reserves are expected as outcome of Bid Round-4 in addition to the likely revision of reserves in the known fields and discoveries.

A review is also made on the optimum production plateaus of the Iraqi Fields taking into consideration the reservoir limits and achievable size of work on ground.

Sources of reserves upgrade

The main sources for the extra reserves are from the increase in:

  1. Oil in place of W Qurna-2 whether in the producing reservoirs or discovered but undeveloped reservoirs
  2. Oil in place in Majnoon Field due to delineation of the northern extension
  3. Hydrocarbon in place in other discovered reservoirs but not delineated yet. These are awarded fields of Bid Rounds-1, 2 and 3; and those still with the national operators
  4. Hydrocarbon in place as result of Bid Round-4
  5. Recoverable reserves of the known fields and discoveries by revising the Recovery Factors ‘RFs’ as result of better reservoir management and applying EOR techniques
  6. Hydrocarbon in place as result of deep drilling especially in the southern part of Iraq
  7. Discoveries in new blocks or exploration by Iraq’s Oil Exploration Company ‘OEC’
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