LONDON Oct 9 Iraq's oil production is on course
to more than double by 2020, the International Energy Agency
said, although delays to investment could tighten the global
market in coming decades and push prices higher.
In its Iraq Energy Outlook published on Tuesday, the
Paris-based IEA said Iraq's oil production would reach 6.1
million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this decade under
its central scenario.
But that rate would be half of that implied by Iraq's
targets signed with foreign oil companies and the IEA, which
advises 28 industrialised countries, highlighted the risk of
production rising more slowly than expected.
"This report anticipates movement towards possible
trajectories for oil output lower than that implied by current
contracts," the report from the IEA said.
Iraq's oil production, which stagnated for years due to wars
and sanctions, started to rise in earnest in 2010, after Baghdad
secured contracts with companies such as BP Plc, Exxon
Mobil, Eni and Royal Dutch Shell.
Output has passed 3 million bpd for the first time in three
decades. Iraq earlier this year overtook Iran to become the
second biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries, after Saudi Arabia.
Industry executives say that while Iraq, holder of the
world's fourth-largest oil reserves, has enough oil in the
ground to hit its target of 12 million bpd, infrastructure
bottlenecks, red tape and bureaucracy make that unlikely by a
contractual deadline of 2017.
The IEA's report also presented a delayed scenario, in which
energy investment in Iraq rises only slowly from 2011 levels,
leading to oil production of 4 million bpd in 2020 and 5.3
million bpd in 2035.
In this case, Iraq would face a $3 trillion loss in national
wealth due to lower oil export revenues and a failure of other
industrial and services sectors to develop. Global oil prices
would also be higher.
"These reach almost $140 per barrel in 2035 in real terms,
nearly $15 higher than in the Central Scenario," the IEA said.