Iraqi Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi said on Sunday that his country is seeking to produce three million barrels of crude per day by the end of the year.
“We seek with international companies to produce three million barrels by the end of 2011, and export 2.5 million barrels next year,” Luaybi told a conference in the Jordanian capital, which is being attended by 46 oil firms.
“We are implementing a plan that is unprecedented in the history of Iraq’s oil industry, multiplying oil and gas production to four times and building gigantic infrastructure and projects to turn Iraq into a key energy source in the world.”
Iraq currently produces around 2.7 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), and the government is aiming to increase that to 12 million bpd by 2017, although the IMF has voiced doubts over whether that target is attainable.
Oil accounts for the lion’s share of government income, with Iraq exporting around 2.2 million bpd.
Last month, Iraq’s cabinet approved a draft oil and gas law in a bid to regulate the country’s most lucrative sector after years of political deadlock.
The new law divides responsibility for the oil sector between the central government and the provinces but even before its passage, foreign investors still poured in, signing 11 major contracts which could potentially boost Iraq’s output fivefold.