Iraqi Kurdistan aims to increase increase oil production to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2019, KRG Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami (pictured) told a panel at a World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday.
According to a report from Reuters, Hawrami also said that he wants companies to build pipelines so the fuel can reach foreign markets, but did not say which companies or projects would help it achieve those targets.
As an interim target, the region expects output to reach 1 million bpd by 2015.
Output in Kurdish-run northern Iraq has fallen sharply to an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 bpd after exports were halted in March amid a dispute with the central government in Baghad over oil-revenue sharing.
"If Iraq is serious about reaching 8 million bpd of exports, at least 3 million of it will come from the north," Hawrami said. "Within a couple of years there will be additional infrastructure to get the isolated crude of Kurdistan to market."
The existing pipeline from Kirkuk's oilfields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan has maximum capacity of about 1.5 million bpd, though only about a third of that flows through the aging link, often the target of attacks by insurgents in Iraq and Turkey.
Hawrami said his administration wants the private sector to build a new pipeline link that would solely carry the heavy crude extracted from Kurdish fields within two years.
"This is not an alternative to Kirkuk-Ceyhan, but additional capacity, and it is not really a pipeline to bypass current infrastructure," he said.
As for natural gas, the Kurdish region will be ready to export it within a couple of years, Hawrami said.
The Kurdistan Region has 45bn barrels of oil reserves and in 2003 the government began to offer the oil fields to foreign investors. The region began exporting oil officially in 2009.
(Sources: Reuters, AKnews)