Iraq aims to reach 7 million bpd crude production capacity by 2027

The Iraqi oil minister remained bullish about the prospects for demand recovery in the second quarter of 2021

A workerss wears a protective mask, following an outbreak of coronavirus, at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra, Iraq March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani
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Iraq, Opec’s second largest producer, is aiming to reach 7 million barrels per day of production capacity over the next five to six years, according to the country’s oil minister.

"Even with Opec cuts and even with a low price, Iraq's master plan is in line to achieve our target,” Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told Iraq Petroleum conference.

“There is a revised plateau ... but it will not be less than 7m bpd in 2027. So adding another 2m bpd to our capacity – this is our target in the coming five to six years.”

Baghdad has been one of the laggards within Opec+, falling short of its target to curb production, as the war-ravaged country struggles to balance its books amid a record plunge in prices at the height of the pandemic. The Iraqi state relies overwhelmingly on oil revenues for its state finances.

Iraq has a total of 434,598 cases of Covid-19, with 10,366 deaths as of Tuesday, according to Worldometers, which tracks the pandemic.

Iraq has committed to Opec+, an alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to carry out compensatory cuts to make up for its earlier shortfalls.

"The impact of Opec [production cuts] has made our projects slow down,” Mr Abdul Jabbar told the panel.

"There were many development delays but nothing was cancelled and I would stay with this commitment to reach 7m bpd in 2027,” he added.

Opec+ is currently drawing back 7.7m bpd from the oil markets. Tapered restrictions are set to remain in place until April 2022, with the joint ministerial monitoring committee, which convened on Monday, making no recommendations to deepen or change the current volume of restrictions.

At the height of the mobility restrictions induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the group agreed to cut an historic 9.7m bpd from the markets between May and July to reverse a record crunch in oil demand and prices.

The Iraqi oil minister remained bullish about the prospects for demand recovery in the second quarter of next year.

The second quarter of 2021 "will be more positive when we speak about the oil market and the price policy”, he said

The minister added that the quarter "will be more attractive for a return to our business activity on projects and sustained performance”.