Feb 8 2014
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, February 8, 2014
Iraq’s recoverable oil reserves have shot to 150 billion barrels, thanks to new major discoveries, Oil Minister Abdulkareem Luaibi said.
Previously, the ministry’s official figure of oil reserves stood at 120 billion. Luaibi attributed the surge to “large-scale discoveries made by the ministry in explorations across the country.”
Iraq was the first country in the Middle East to produce oil in commercial quantities. The country started exporting oil in 1927 when the first commercial wells were drilled in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
In the years since 1927, Luaibi said Iraq had only pumped 8 billion barrels “at a time the reserves have risen nearly fourfold.”
“The ministry will continue with its efforts to increase reserves to surpass production so that future generations can also benefit from the oil wealth,” he added.
Iraq currently produces up to 3.5 million barrels per day and has its eyes set for 6 million barrels in a few years once oil fields currently developed by foreign majors come on stream.
Luaibi said Iraq had no problem marketing its crude with demand exceeding supply.
He said there were new requests for Iraqi oil from at least three African countries. Africa, he added, is a new promising market for Iraq’s crude, which currently is mostly sold to Europe and Southeast Asia.
“Three African states – Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea – have requested buying Iraqi oil,” Luaibi said, adding that Iraq was keen to expand its oil exports to Africa because the continent “is witnessing signs of growth and prosperity.”