| BASRA, Iraq
BASRA, Iraq Iraq sees production from its southern oilfields reaching 2.75 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year as the country, expected to be the world's biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years, pushes to increase output.
Iraq's biggest field Rumaila, operated by BP, is currently producing 1.316 million bpd and is expected to boost output by 250,000 bpd in the second half of this year, Dhiya Jaffar, head of the state-run South Oil Co. said on Friday.
"We expect production from Basra oilfields will increase from 2.15 million barrels per day to 2.75 million barrels per day by the end of this year," he told a news conference in the southern oil-rich city of Basra.
Iraq aims to double its output over the next three years as it recovers after years of sanctions and war. Last month, the country's oil production rose above 3 million bpd for the first time in more than three decades.
Jaffar said output at West Qurna One, currently at 406,000 bpd, was seen increasing by 100,000 bpd in the next six months while Zubair oilfield, also in the south, was producing 254,000 bpd and expected to increase by 100,000 bpd by the end of 2012.
West Qurna One is run by Exxon Mobil and Italy's ENI is in charge of Zubair field.
SECOND FLOATING PLATFORM
South Oil Company sources told Reuters on Thursday Iraq was ready to begin loading oil from the second new Single Point Mooring (SPM) floating platform in a bid to further boost exports.
Iraq's oil exports rose to their highest level since 2003 in March thanks to the first new offshore export terminal, which began exporting at a capacity of 300,000 bpd last month.
A ship with a capacity of two million barrels had docked at the second SPM and loading oil onto it would be completed by around 12 p.m. (0900 GMT), Jaffar said.
"The export capacity of the 2nd floating platform is 900 thousand barrels, and the first floating platform is also 900, so the total will be 1.8 million barrels," Jaffar said.
Iraq's oil exports have been held back by a lack of loading capacity in the Gulf after decades of neglect of infrastructure due to war and economic sanctions, but it is expected to provide the world's largest expansion in oil export capacity in 2012 as new outlets open.
Iraq has planned for four new SPM terminals which are being built by Australian construction firm Leighton and are expected to help it in doubling output in the next few years.
(Writing by Serena Chaudhry, editing by James Jukwey)