Iraq claims hikes in oil output as foreign majors evacuate staff

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Azzaman, June 19, 2014

Iraq says its annual oil output capacity is now in the range of 42 million tons per year at a time foreign firms developing its oil fields are fleeing the country.

The surprise advance by militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and their control of much of the north and central Iraq have prompted foreign countries to order their companies to pull out of major projects they are implementing in the country.

Foreign nationals are leaving in droves and even foreign firms developing oil fields and constructing refineries and power plants in the relative quiet parts of southern Iraq are considering pulling out.

However, a statement by the Southern Oil Company gave a rosy picture of the industry, saying its production at the 13 major oil fields was going on without interruption.

“There has been a noticeable surge in output from the 13 fields and 860 oil wells the company operates,” according to a statement by the Southern Oil Company.

The state-run firm is one of four in Iraq administering different oil-rich regions in the country.

The statement, signed by the company’s Deputy Director-General Mohammed Khudhair, said the past years had seen the development of new fields and rehabilitation of producing ones

The statement said the company was not only focusing on developing new fields. Its activities included offering lodging and accommodation for its workers as well as other amenities.

Most of Iraq’s oil output and exports originate in the south, which is the country’s most prolific and holds the largest volume of its proven reserves.