Iraq’s oil output now stands at 3.2 million barrels per day, outpacing neighbouring Iran to become the second-biggest producer in OPEC, Iraq’s top energy official said on Sunday.
“Oil production is now at 3.2 (million bpd), higher than other countries like Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait,” Hussein al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, told journalists.
Iraq has sought to dramatically increase its oil output and exports, the latter of which account for the vast majority of government income, while world powers have imposed ever-tightening economic sanctions on Iran’s oil export sector.
Oil cartel OPEC’s August market report, citing secondary sources, put Iraqi production at 3.079 million bpd in July, compared to 2.817 million bpd for Iran.
The former represents a 400,000 bpd increase since the end of 2011, while the latter marks a 700,000 bpd decline.
The gap is likely to widen further as Iraq looks to ramp up production in coming years, and as several contracts with foreign energy firms to extract crude begin resulting in increased output.
Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi has said Baghdad plans to increase production and exports this year to 3.4 million bpd and 2.6 million bpd respectively.
Iraq has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of oil and 3.2 trillion cubic metres (111.9 trillion cubic feet) of gas, both of which are among the highest such deposits in the world.