Iraq to Up Southern Oil Output to 2.25 Million bpd by End 2006

Aug 09, 2006 (Dow Jones Commodities News)

Iraq has begun a plan to hike crude oil production from its southern oil fields to 2.25 million barrels a day from the current 2 million b/d, the head of the country's South Oil Co. said Wednesday.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Basra, Abdul Jabbar Lauiby also said the company is implementing a project to increase export capacity at two Persian Gulf terminals.

"We have started a project to connect 100 producing oil wells in Rumala and West Qurana oil fields," Lauiby said.

"Work on this project is expected to finish by the end of this year," he said, adding "the project would increase crude oil production from these oil fields."

Although he didn't say how much the project would increase oil output, in previous remarks Lauiby said southern oil output is expected to reach 2.25 million b/d by the end of 2006.

Lauiby also said the company is implementing several other projects such as the rehabilitation of oil wells and the drilling of new ones, financed by the Oil Ministry.

Lauiby said the company is implementing another project to increase export capacities of the Basra and Khor al-Amya terminals. The capacity of Basra terminal is currently around 1.6 million b/d, while the capacity of the smaller Khor al-Amaya is only around 300,000 b/d.

Lauiby didn't say by how much the capacity of the terminals would be increased.

Khor al-Amaya has been out of service since a fire two months ago. Lauiby said work is continuing to repair the terminal but he didn't say when it would start operation.

Iraq exported an average of 1.66 million b/d from its southern oil fields in July. Exports from northern oil fields have been shut down since July 7. Persistent acts of sabotage to northern oil pipelines and installations have kept the north oil exports shut down for most of this year and last year.

Before the U.S.-led war, Iraq used to export around 800,000 b/d from its northern oil fields.

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