Iraqi oil output hits 3.2m b/d, targets 4m for 2014

Reuters Middle East

CAIRO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Iraq's oil production has exceeded

3.2 million barrels a day (b/d) so far this month and it hopes

to hit capacity of 4 million b/d in 2014, its Oil Minister Abdul

Kareem Luaibi said on Saturday.

"Next year we're planning production close to 3.7 (million

b/d)," he added in remarks to reporters on the sidelines of a

meeting of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting

Countries (OAPEC).

Iraq, rebuilding its energy industry after decades of war

and sanctions, has emerged as the second biggest producer in the

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), leading to

rivalry with top producer Saudi Arabia.

The two countries have backed different candidates to

succeed Libya's Abdullah al-Badri as OPEC secretary general. His

term was extended until the end of next year.

"There will be another debate in the first months of the new

year... (the decision) should be by the end of May 2013," Luaibi


Saudi Arabia has also pressed for Iraq to join any future

rounds of supply curbs that OPEC makes to support prices if

energy markets weaken.

Baghdad has resisted this, insisting it should first regain

the 4 million b/d output capacity it lost during the 1980-88 war

with Iran, a decade of harsh sanctions in the 1990s and civil

war since 2003.

"We haven't reached the quota that was set over 40 years

ago. We haven't reached it yet," Luaibi said.

"The issue of quotas will for sure need to be reviewed based

on many indicators such as production capacities and reserves

and others. It is known that Iraq was deprived for many years

because of the wars."