BAGHDAD, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Iraq aims to have another round of oil and gas licensing auctions during the fourth quarter of 2011, an Iraqi oil official said from Baghdad.
Iraq has had three rounds of oil and gas auctions since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. It emerged from the last round in December 2009 with the confidence to say the country would one day rival Saudi Arabia in terms of oil production.
Increasing production at some of the fields, however, could mean overcoming some major technological hurdles in the war-torn country. Energy officials said oil production could reach 8 million barrels per day by 2018 if all goes as planned.
Energy officials in Baghdad said the central government has started procedures necessary to hold another round of oil and gas licensing auctions at the end of 2011, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Oil majors working in the county, like British energy company BP, Italy's Eni and Exxon Mobil, have contributed to a measured rise in production in the country already.