Iraq sets sights on 10 million bpd mark

April 24, 2012 at 8:31 AM

WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- Iraq expects oil production to reach 10 million barrels per day within the next six years, the country's deputy prime minister said from Washington.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani arrived in Washington this week for energy meetings with U.S. officials.

Iraq next month is expected to put around a dozen oil and natural gas blocks up for auction in a fourth international licensing round. Shahristani, a former oil minister, said Iraq has proven oil reserves of 143 billion barrels plus potential reserves of around 214 billion barrels.

"As we speak, Iraq is producing more than 3 million barrels per day of crude oil but we expect in the coming six years to be able to increase that capacity of production to more than 10 million barrels per day," he said. "This is to assure the world market that there is sufficient crude for them."

Carlos Pascual, the U.S. coordinator for international energy affairs, said Washington was ready to work with Baghdad to help the country meet its production goals.

Iraqi is without a comprehensive hydrocarbon law that would govern oil. Shahristani said prevailing laws would govern the oil sector until new legislation develops. The lack of legislation, however, hasn't discouraged international oil companies from investing in Iraq, he said.

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