Growth of Iraqi oil output will take time: oil exec

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraq has the potential to greatly expand its oil production, but development will not take place overnight, an executive with ConocoPhillips COP.N said on Thursday.

“The potential is there, but just like with anything, these things take time,” said Darren Jones, general manager for global business development at ConocoPhillips at an Arab-U.S. policymakers conference.

ConocopPhillips has been working with the Iraqi government for the past few years as the country prepares to increase its oil output, Jones said.

“We see a real desire to move ahead and add capacity,” he said.

Iraq is currently working to seal new service contracts with big oil firms on some of its giant oilfields. The deals would almost triple Iraq’s output and catapult it up the table of global producers.

In 2008, Iraq produced an average of about 2.4 million barrels of oil per day, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Last June, Iraq conducted its first major energy auction since the 2003-led invasion.

ConocoPhillips and Russia's LUKOIL are still competing against another consortium led by Exxon Mobil XOM.N to develop the West Quran oilfield, Iraq's oil minister said earlier this week.

Additional reporting by Simon Webb; Editing by Christian Wiessner