Wednesday, 27 October, 2021

Iraq aims to boost crude output to 8m bpd by 2027

Iraq aims to boost crude output to 8m bpd by 2027

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BAGHDAD: Iraq, Opec’s second-largest producer, is in talks with the international oil majors operating in the country to help boost its crude production capacity by 60 per cent to about 8 million barrels per day, in the next six years, the country’s oil minister said on Wednesday.

Ihsan Ismail also said Baghdad considered oil trading between $75-$80 per barrel range as a “fair price for both producers and consumers”.

Eighty-five per cent of Iraq’s revenue is dependent on hydrocarbons and it currently has a production capacity of 5 million bpd, report agencies.

The country has three oil output scenarios: high, medium and low, and “we agreed in Iraq to go with the medium scenario, which speaks about 8 million bpd”, Mr Ismail told an online panel at the Energy Intelligence Forum.

Iraq is engaged in discussions with international oil companies including Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Lukoil and Italy’s Eni that operate in the country to help it boost its crude output, he said.

“There is a new discussion with all our partner IOCs to optimise the production to about 8 million bpd by end-2027,” the minister said.

“I think we have completed about 90 per cent to 95 per cent of these discussions.”

Brent, the benchmark under which more than half of the world’s oil trades, has rallied in the past week.

On Wednesday, it gave up earlier gains to trade 0.75 per cent lower to $81.94 a barrel at 4.23pm UAE time. West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, fell 0.87 per cent and was trading at $78.24. Both benchmarks have gained about 60 per cent since the beginning of this year amid a strong economic rebound that has boosted demand for oil.

Iraq is also investing in new infrastructure to expand its export capacity, the minister said.

“Our target is to reach more than 6 million bpd by the end of 2024.”

The country, Mr Ismail said, was already in the process of bidding for a new offshore pipeline, which will help boost its export capacity from the current 4 million bpd.

In June, Iraq’s oil ministry spokesman Aseem Jihad said the country planned to export its crude to global markets in “America, Asia and Europe”.

Higher oil prices and larger export volumes support oil producing economies of the region and lower their fiscal breakeven prices, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The fiscal breakeven price is the base price needed to balance the budgets of oil-exporting countries.

The fiscal breakeven price of Iraq has increased steadily since 2018, when it was $45.40 a barrel. Last year, it was $63.70, which is expected to hit $71.30 in 2021, before falling to $66.10 next year, according to the fund.

Iraq, which on Monday announced approval of talks with US energy company Chevron to develop four exploration blocks in the southern part of the country, expects to sign a deal with the energy major within the next few weeks, the minister said on Wednesday.