Iraq Plans to Invest $130B in Oil, Gas Over 5 Years

Iraq plans to invest some $130 billion over the next five years in order to triple the country's output, which is currently stood at 3.25 million barrels a day, the country's oil minister said Saturday.

Abdul Kareem Luaiby said that his country would allocate $18 billion to raise natural gas output and $25 billion to upgrade refinery capacity. Iraq expects to earn some $600 billion in revenue from these oil expansion plans, Mr. Luaiby told an energy conference held in Basra.

Iraq has boosted its crude oil production last year by 24%, thanks to several oil deals Iraq signed with international oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Eni SpA, OAO Lukoil Holdings and China National Petroleum Corp.

Iraq's crude oil exports have, over the last few months, surpassed those of Iran and became the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer.

Iraq's crude oil exports in February rose by 7.5%, to 2.536 million barrels a day on month, compared with 2.359 million barrels a day in January, according to figures released by the State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO. Iraq plans to raise exports to 2.9 million barrels a day this year.

Production from Iraq's super-giant Majnoon oil field, which is being developed by Shell, will reach 100,000 barrels a day in May and 200,000 barrels a day by the end of the year, Luaiby told the conference.

Last year, the Paris-based International Energy Agency estimated that Iraq would be able to pump up to 6.1 million barrels a day in 2020 and 8.3 million barrels a day in 2035. Iraq said it would be able to reach 8 million to 9 million barrels a day in 2020.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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