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Iraq to Boost Daily Oil Output by 13% in 2011, Official Says

Iraq, holder of the world’s third-largest oil reserves, expects to increase daily crude production by about 13 percent next year, an Oil Ministry official said.

“We expect an increase of about 300,000 barrels per day,” Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, deputy director general at Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, said in a telephone interview. “This includes about 60,000 barrels per day from the al-Ahdab field”, he said.

Iraq, reliant on oil for most of its income, is seeking foreign investors in all parts of its economy after years of conflict and sanctions. The Middle East country currently produces a total of about 2.4 million barrels of oil a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Al Ahdab in the eastern Wasit province was the first oilfield development to be awarded by the Iraqi government after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003. China National Petroleum Corp. won the $3.5 billion agreement to develop Al Ahdab in November 2008. Since then, Iraq has awarded 11 other contracts to international major oil companies and has announced a third round of bidding this year to develop the country’s natural-gas reserves.

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