Iraq Seeks Iran Cooperation in Oil and Gas Projects

Iraq eyes Iran's cooperation for carrying out its domestic oil and gas development projects, the Iraqi deputy oil minister for exploration affairs said Monday.

Abdul Karim Lu'aibi, heading a delegation, in Tehran on Monday discussed energy ties with Iranian officials, particularly in the fields of conducting joint exploration and development projects, SHANA reported.

Iraq is planning to develop 85 oil and gas fields by the next ten years, he said and added his country seeks Iran's cooperation and expertise in this respect.

Companies from across the globe are eager to take part in Iraq's oil and gas development projects," he said, "Thanks to their high capabilities and experience, Iranian companies can compete to carry out these projects," he added.

Iraq's crude output is projected to hit three million barrels per day in two years, the official said and added that the figure would increase up to six million barrels by the next seven years.

Oil reserves in Iraq, according to its government, rank fourth largest in the world at approximately 115 billion barrels.

As a result of war and civil unrest, these statistics have not been revised since 2001 and are largely based on 2-D seismic data from three decades ago. International geologists and consultants have estimated that unexplored territory may contain an estimated additional 45 to 100 billion barrels (bbls) of recoverable oil.

In 2006, Iraq's oil production averaged 2.0 million barrels per day, down from around 2.6 million barrels per day of production prior to the coalition invasion in 2003. Iraq's reserve to production ratio is 158 years.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.