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Iraq to Lead Increase in OPEC Crude-Oil Capacity, IEA Forecasts

Iraq will account for about 80 percent of the forecast increase in OPEC’s crude-oil production capacity by 2016, according to the International Energy Agency.

The 12-member group of oil-exporting nations will be capable of producing 38.1 million barrels a day in five years, up from 35.8 million in 2010, the IEA said in a report today. Iraq’s crude output is predicted to increase by 1.87 million barrels a day to 4.36 million.

The Paris-based agency lifted its Iraq outlook by 335,000 barrels a day from its June estimate, citing “steady progress at the country’s 12 joint venture projects.” The IEA also warned that the withdrawal of U.S. troops this year may jeopardize stability.

The recovery in Libya’s output also exceeded expectations in 2011, with output forecast to rise to pre-war levels of 1.6 million barrels a day by 2014, the agency said. Libya pumped 500,000 barrels a day in November, from a low of 45,000 barrels in the midst of the rebellion against former leader Muammar Qaddafi.

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