May 22, 2011
BAGHDAD (Commodity Online) : Iraq’s oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani claimed Thursday that the country has now become the third largest oil reserves holder with 200 billion barrels.
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According to the minister, Iraq’s oil reserves were largely increased from an earlier estimate of 115 billion barrels but it remains 13th in oil production.
Iraq is currently exporting at a rate of 2.6 million barrels per day and aims to hit 3m bpd by the end of the year.
Analysts said decades of sanctions, terrorist atacks and the ravages of war have left the country under-producing
In 2003-09, there were more than 600 attacks on Iraq's oil infrastructure. These cost the country more than $12 billion in damage and lost export revenue.
More than half of Iraq’s oil is exported through its southern ports, which have been struggling to recover from neglect and the ravages of war. Iraq only has one deep water port, Umm Qasr, capable of dealing with super-tankers.
Iraq’s oil production is increasing at an impressive rate; improvements to infrastructure have made sure of this. But compared with others, such as neighbor Saudi Arabia, they are way behind, and it will take much longer than the government projects to catch up, analysts added.
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