CAIRO, (Reuters) – Iraq’s oil production has exceeded 3.2 million barrels a day (b/d) so far this month and it hopes to hit capacity of 4 million b/d in 2014, its Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Saturday.
“Next year we’re planning production close to 3.7 (million b/d),” he added in remarks to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
Iraq, rebuilding its energy industry after decades of war and sanctions, has emerged as the second biggest producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), leading to rivalry with top producer Saudi Arabia.
The two countries have backed different candidates to succeed Libya’s Abdullah al-Badri as OPEC secretary general. His term was extended until the end of next year.
“There will be another debate in the first months of the new year… (the decision) should be by the end of May 2013,” Luaibi said.
Saudi Arabia has also pressed for Iraq to join any future rounds of supply curbs that OPEC makes to support prices if energy markets weaken.
Baghdad has resisted this, insisting it should first regain the 4 million b/d output capacity it lost during the 1980-88 war with Iran, a decade of harsh sanctions in the 1990s and civil war since 2003.
“We haven’t reached the quota that was set over 40 years ago. We haven’t reached it yet,” Luaibi said.
“The issue of quotas will for sure need to be reviewed based on many indicators such as production capacities and reserves and others. It is known that Iraq was deprived for many years because of the wars.”