Iraq ready to boost production if the embargo is lifted

Jan 28, 2003 01:00 AM

Iraq has drawn up plans to expand crude oil production to 6 mm bpd or more -- if the embargo is lifted and there is no war, an Iraqi energy expert said. Current production of crude oil from the 15 producing fields stands at 3 mm bpd of which some 2.3 mm-2.5 mm bpd is exported.
"Iraq is planning the expansion of crude oil production to 6 mm bpd and beyond. There will be a proportionate increase in gas production and fuel oil substitution," Saadalla Al Fathi, independent energy consultant, told delegates at the fourth Oil Refining and Petrochemicals in the Middle East conference. "The expansion to 6 mm bpd will be undertaken six or seven years after the embargo is lifted, and also if there is no war. When this will happen..." he said.

Current proven reserves of crude oil in Iraq are 115 bn barrels while possible reserves are some 214 bn barrels. Proven gas reserves are 3,100 bn cm while possible reserves are some 4,600 bn cm. "The demand for light oil products is increasing fast. The refining industry will expand vertically (light products) and horizontally (capacity and replacement)," said the Baghdad-based expert.
Al Fathi criticised the Iraq's oil for food programme with the UN as "dismal" and reiterated that the trade embargo had a negative impact on the country's refining industry. "Iraq's experience indicates that not much can be done through the dismal performance of the MoU with the UN." Performance guarantees are not possible under the MoU and the six months duration of each phase is impractical and uncertain, he said. "The held contracts affect others and there is no allocation for local expenses to make the imported items useful. The trade embargo has impacted negatively Iraq's refining industry."

Emphasising the importance of Iraq's refineries for the performance of the country's oil industry and economy, he said there is a dire need for extensive rehabilitation and modernisation of its existing refineries. "Future plans include maintaining, rehabilitating and modernising the existing refineries and building new, modern and complex refineries."
In view of great opportunities in Iraq for specialised companies in refinery rehabilitation, he urged engineering companies and equipment manufacturers to take a serious look and cooperate with Iraq in developing the country's refining industry.

Source: Gulf News
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