By John Lee.
Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani (pictured), has said that 'Big Oil' is about to spend over $25 billion next year to boost oil output towards record levels.
He predicted that the southern fields are expected to pump an extra 500,000 bpd in 2014, compared to just over 3 million bpd this year.
Additionally, Baghdad is increasing security at the smaller fields such as Najmah and Qayara -- operated by the Angolan company Sonangol in the al-Qaeda heartland of Nineveh -- and at the Akkas gasfield in Anbar, operated by South Korea's Kogas.
He told Reuters:
"We are definitely concerned about the upsurge in violence, but our concern is for the Iraqi people throughout the country. Iraq is trying its best to combat terrorism ...
"The security situation has not affected the oilfields in the south and central Iraq and we haven't noticed any hesitation or slow down in investment by the companies."
But Shahristani said he did not expect militants to inflict any lasting damage on Iraq's strategic oil network, which has helped generate revenues of nearly $60 billion this year.
"The security situation is not affecting our investment decisions," said an oil company source. "Iraq has such huge and easy to access resources: one way or another, the foreign oil companies will find a way to make money."