ABU DHABI - Iraq could spend up to $150 billion on projects to expand its crude production capacity to more than 12 million barrels a day, the country's oil minister said in remarks published Monday.
"Iraq can reach 9 million barrels per day in 2018 and I believe we can exceed 12 million barrels per day given the massive potential of our fields," federal Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaiby told the daily briefing of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.
"Reaching that capacity could involve investment of $130-$150 billion, which could be shouldered by the foreign companies developing our fields," he said.
Mr. Luaiby said $100-110 per barrel is an acceptable price for oil as most producing countries base their budgets on around $90 a barrel.
The Iraqi oil minister said Sunday that Iraq--a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries--doesn't see a need to adjust its production levels to help maintain current prices, echoing comments by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Iraq is currently producing about 3.2 million to 3.25 million barrels per day and could raise its output to 3.4 million barrels per day by early next year, and 3.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2013, Mr. Luaiby said.
About 100,000 barrels per day will come from Majnoon oilfield, while the rest will come from Rumaila and other fields, he said.
Iraq is the only member of OPEC exempt from output quotas. It relies on crude revenue to rebuild its economy after years of war and economic sanctions.
Mr. Luaiby said that he doesn't expect OPEC to discuss bringing Iraq under the quota system in the upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna next month.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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