Iraq plans to export 2.9 million barrels of oil per day in 2013 and hopes to increase production to 3.4 million bpd by the end of this year, a high-ranking official said on Tuesday.
“Next year the plan is 2.9 million bpd of exports,” said Thamir Ghadhban, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s main advisor.
Production is “already over three million bpd… We hope to reach 3.4 million bpd by the end of the year,” Ghadhban told reporters on the sidelines of the third Iraq Mega Projects conference held in Dubai.
When asked about the reintegration of Iraq into the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production quotas system, Ghadhban said: “We are not in a hurry. Actually this is very much subject to an agreement within OPEC.”
Baghdad had for decades stood on the sidelines of OPEC as a result of conflict and sanctions during the rule of Saddam Hussein and the violent aftermath of his overthrow, particularly apparent in Iraq’s removal from the cartel’s national production quota system.
When asked if he “expects” to be OPEC’s next secretary general, Ghadhban, — a candidate for the position — said he had no comment.
On Monday, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said oil exports were slightly higher in September at about 2.6 million bpd than 2.565 million bpd the previous month, he said.
Revenues from September exports were $8.4 billion at an average price of $107 per barrel, Jihad said. Iraq earned $8.442 billion in August.
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 largest in the world.
Crude exports account for the lion’s share of government income, and Baghdad is looking to dramatically ramp up both production and sales in the coming years, bringing in much-needed cash to rebuild its conflict-battered economy.