Iraq has set up a company to manage 70 new oil discoveries, Oil Minister Amr Al-Rashid said in comments published Thursday, August 30, claiming they will make Iraq the world's largest producer of crude.
The firm, called the "Oil Projects Company" will take care of the new fields," Rashid told the Al-Zawra weekly newspaper. He gave no other details. Earlier this month the minister announced fresh efforts to discover more oil deposits and bring reserves up to 270 billion barrels from 112 billion today.
"Iraq could boost production capacity to 10 million barrels per day as soon as it starts to develop its new oilfields, which are on top of the 74 fields already in operation," Rashid said. Baghdad wants to overtake Saudi Arabia, which boasts 261 billion barrels, as the world's top reservoir by transforming potential reserves into proven reserves, he said.
Rashid noted that the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq conflict, the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait and UN sanctions in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate had all hampered Baghdad's efforts to develop oil reserves.
Iraq has signed contracts with foreign oil companies, notably from Russia and China, to develop oilfields, but the deals cannot be implemented until sanctions are lifted. Under a UN exemption to the sanctions regime, Iraq exports crude to finance imports of essential goods. –(AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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