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Iraq aims to more than double northern oil output
by Staff Writers
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Feb 14, 2012

Iraq aims to more than double northern oil production from around 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) to about 1.3 million bpd by the end of 2014, executives from the Northern Oil Co told AFP.

"We adopted a plan to increase the production" and export of oil, said Hamid Abdelrizak al-Saadi, the company's general manager.

An executive in the company's planning and investment department said on condition of anonymity that "the plan is to increase production to more than one million barrels per day by the end of 2014" from about 600,000 bpd now.

Saadi gave figures for planned increases for various fields that would bring the total to about 1.3 million bpd.

Saadi said the plan for the company, which is in charge of oil and gas fields in Kirkuk, Anbar, Salaheddin and Nineveh provinces, includes increasing production from the Kirkuk field from 280,000 bpd to 600,000 bpd.

The plan also includes developing the Bai Hassan field, also in Kirkuk, to increase production from 195,000 bpd to 250,000 bpd.

And the company aims to boost output from the Jambur field in northern Kirkuk from 36,000 bpd to 80,000 and the Ajeel field in Salaheddin province from 25,000 bpd to 35,000 bpd.

It will also develop the Hamrin field in Salaheddin to increase production from between 20,000 and 25,000 bpd to 60,000 by the beginning of 2013.

And there is a project for Angolan company Sonangol to develop the two fields of Qayara and Najmah in Nineveh province, south of Mosul, so they produce 230,000 bpd in the next three years, he added.

Saadi also said a study had carried out a study on building new pipelines to the border with Syria and repairing or replacing old pipelines.

Oil sales account for the vast majority of Iraqi government income and around two thirds of gross domestic product. Iraq currently produces about 2.9 million bpd. It exported an average of 2.1 million bpd in 2011.

Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi has said Iraq plans on increasing production and exports this year to 3.4 million bpd and 2.6 million bpd, respectively.

On Sunday, Iraq began pumping oil to the first of five floating terminals in the Gulf in a move that will increase its export capacity by 850,000 barrels per day.

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Iraq PM to visit Kuwait to improve ties before Arab summit
Baghdad (AFP) Feb 14, 2012 - Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki will visit Kuwait ahead of a late-March Arab summit to try to improve ties still strained by Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate, a statement released on Tuesday said.

The Kuwaiti ambassador to Baghdad "Ali al-Mumin on Tuesday renewed an invitation for the prime minister to visit Kuwait soon," the statement on the website of the premier's office said.

"The two parties agreed that the visit would take place before the upcoming Arab summit is held in Baghdad," on March 29, it said.

According to the statement, Maliki called for entering a new era of "trust and mutual respect" in relations between the two countries.

But there are a number of issues that remain to be resolved between the two countries.

Iraq currently pays five percent of its oil and gas revenue into a special United Nations fund for war reparations for its seven-month occupation of the emirate.

Since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi authorities have repeatedly asked for relief from debts and compensation requirements inherited from the former regime.

There is also the issue of the Mubarak al-Kabir port project, which was begun in 2007.

Baghdad says that once completed, it would strangle its shipping lanes in the narrow Khor Abdullah waterway that serves as its entrance to the Gulf, through which the vast majority of its oil exports flow.

In December, the the UN Security Council called on Iraq to step up efforts to normalize ties with Kuwait.

UN envoys are looking for greater progress in helping pin down the fate of Kuwaitis and other foreigners missing since the 1990 war. Property and most of the Kuwaiti national archives also remain missing.

And there are still outstanding border issues between the two countries.


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