At the 'Iraq: Untapped Opportunities' conference in London last week, the Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for energy, Dr Hussain al-Shahristani (pictured), clarified Iraq's target of producing 12 million barrels per day of crude oil.
The 12 million bpd was, he said, a capacity figure, and would not necessarily mean that this quantity of oil would be produced. The amount produced would depend on the market conditions at that time.
While oil companies are contracted to output these levels, and there are penalty clauses in place for not achieving them, the oil ministry can agree with the companies to scale back if the demand is not there.
This 12 million bpd relates only to the 12 contracts in the south of the country -- any output from Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, is additional.
Dr Shahristani said that progress was on plan, with an increase of 500k bpd this year, and a similar increase expected next year.
He pointed out that only 15 of the 78 oilfields discovered in Iraq have been developed, and speculated that there could be more than 200 billion barrels of unproven oil reserves, in addition to the 143 billion barrels of proven reserves.