LISBON (AFP) -Iraq’s oil production could reach 9.0 million barrels a day in 2016, up from around 2.4 million barrels currently, the head of international oil producer Heritage Oil, said.
But the lack of a clear development strategy for Iraq’s oil resources is delaying the much-needed foreign investment required to reach this level of production, Micael Gulbenkian warned in an interview with Portugal’s Lusa news agency.
“Iraq has gigantic potential,” said Gulbenkian Saturday, whose company has projects in the war-torn country. “The Iraqi economy is a failure. The country doesn’t have the means to develop and explore its national resources.”
Iraqi authorities are torn between a policy which would seek to keep the development of the country’s oil resources in national hands and a policy of openness to foreign investment in the sector, he added.
Iraq expects its daily oil production to reach 6.0 barrels per day by 2012 and be challenging Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer by 2015, Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said last month.
Iraq’s highest oil production was 3.5 million barrels a day, he said.
Production was about 2.5 million dollars a day when President Saddam Hussein was deposed by US-led forces in 2003. It then collapsed to virtually nothing and has been slow to rebuild because of insurgent attacks and other problems.
Heritage Oil, based in Canada, has a development property in Russia, a producing property in Oman, exploration projects in Uganda and has entered into projects in Kurdistan, Iraq.
Gulbenkian was in Lisbon to take part in a course on oil management offered to 46 Iraqis which is sponsored by Heritage Oil and Portuguese oil and gas company Galp.