Iraq said Saturday it aims to double oil output capacity to six million barrels per day (bpd) "by its own means" if foreign companies opt out because of UN sanctions.
"Iraq is determined to raise production capacity, by its own means, even if it does not sign accords with foreign companies to develop oilfields," an Iraqi oil official said, quoted by the state news agency INA.
"More than 33" foreign oil companies are in negotiation with Iraq, which has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, over its plans to raise output to six million bpd, said the unnamed official, who gave no timeframe.
Calling in effect for international oil companies to ignore the embargo, he urged those "who want to participate with Iraq in developing its oilfields not to miss this opportunity".
Iraq has been exporting crude since December 1996 to finance imports of essential goods under a deal agreed with the United Nations. Its normal exports run to 2.5 million bpd, with some 500,000 bpd set aside for domestic use.
Baghdad has said it plans to raise capacity to 3.5 million bpd by the end of 2000 and estimates it needs 30 billion dollars in investments to develop its war-battered oil sector - BAGHDAD (AFP)
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