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Friday, February 5, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Iraq plans to become OPEC's top oil producer

BAGHDAD — Iraq has assessed that it would become the leading crude oil producer by 2016.   

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al Shahristani said his country would steadily increase oil production over the next seven years.

Al Shahristani said this would make Iraq the world's top oil producer over the next six to seven years, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We cannot find a reason to prevent Iraqi production from becoming higher than any other OPEC state or even states outside OPEC," Al Shahristani said on Jan. 29.

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"We expect that to happen over the next six to seven years with coordination and agreement with other OPEC producers."

Over the last month, Iraq signed contracts with Asian, Russian and U.S. companies to develop several major oil fields.

Officials said Iraq assessed a future production level of 12 million barrels per day.

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