By Tom Bergin
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - The leader of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said the area has the capacity to produce one million barrels per day of crude in three years and criticised Baghdad’s policies on oil as “failed”.
“Today, the region is able to export 100,000 barrels per day and towards the end of the year we will be able to export 200,000 bpd,” Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, told a conference in London on Thursday.
“By the end of next year it will be 450,000 bpd and after three years we will be able to produce 1 million bpd”.
Iraq currently produces some 2.4 million barrels per day, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said last week.
However, reaching this target hinges on an agreement on revenue sharing with the central government, he said.
The region currently produces only a few thousand bpd for local consumption as it is unable to sell crude into the Iraqi pipeline system for export.
Barzani declined to say when he expected an agreement with Baghdad that would facilitate exports, nor did he offer any specifics as to how the targets would be achieved.
Kurdish leaders have previously outlined an aspiration to produce 1 million bpd but have not before offered a timetable for achieving it, Alex Munton, anlayst at consultants Wood Mackenzie said.
The President criticised Baghdad’s oil ministry for failing to lift Iraq’s oil output despite investing billions of dollars.
“The policy of the ministry of oil and gas in Baghdad is a failed policy,” he said.
The Kurdish region has large oil reserves but only two fields, Tawke, part-owned by Norway’s DNO International (DNO.OL) and Addax Petroleum’s AXC.L Taq-Taq, are currently producing, analysts say.
Tawke and Taq-Taq on their own would not enable the region to reach the targets outlined.
“It’s difficult to see how those numbers have been arrived at,” Munton said. (Additional reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Keiron Henderson0