Iraq Seeks to Boost Oil Output to Match 1979 Record
(Corrects that OPEC meets this week in second paragraph of story published yesterday.)
Iraq plans to boost oil production to as much as 3.8 million barrels a day in 2013, matching the record reached in 1979, the country’s oil minister said.
The Arab nation will export 2.9 million barrels a day in 2013, from 2.6 million last month, Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi told reporters in Vienna, where he is attending this week’s OPEC meeting. The country aims to build a 1 million-barrel-a-day pipeline to Jordan, he said.
“We plan to increase production, and we may reach 3.8 million barrels a day by the end of next year, which would meet the record high in 1979,” al-Luaibi said. The country is pumping more than 3.4 million barrels a day currently, he said.
Iraq, which has held a payment to the Kurdistan Regional Government for its share of exports, said it will pay the amount only if the semi-autonomous region agrees to meet a 2013 export target of 250,000 barrels a day and provides accounting of sales and production since 2008, he said.
The Iraqi government will hold a roadshow on Dec. 14 in London for the construction of a pipeline to export crude oil through Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba, he said. The pipeline’s capacity will include 150,000 barrels to Jordan’s refinery in Zarqa, al-Luaibi said.
The government’s plans include construction of a second export pipeline through Syria with a capacity of 1 million barrels, once unrest in the neighboring country ends, he said.
Iraq will pursue legal action against companies that are buying crude smuggled from the Kurdish region, mainly through neighboring Turkey and Iran, he said.
The Oil Ministry plans to hold an auction for 10 natural gas blocks in the first half of next year, al-Luaibi said. The ministry will offer better contract terms to the companies than those in the last round in May, when only four out of 12 blocks were awarded, he said.
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