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Iraq’s Oil Reserves Rise To 153 Billion Barrels

Iraq Oil and Gas Exploration

The results of appraisal and exploration in central and southern Iraq have led to increased estimate for the country’s proven oil reserves to 153 billion barrels from 143 billion barrels previously estimated, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Sunday.

Iraq will ask OPEC to use the updated higher figure as the official estimate for the country’s reserves, al-Luaibi noted.

OPEC’s facts and figures about Iraq currently place the member state’s proven crude oil reserves at 142.503 billion barrels as of 2015.

Despite the increase, Iraq will still keep its ranking as holding the fourth largest reserves, just after Iran whose reserves are 158.4 billion barrels. The two leading nations in terms of reserves are Venezuela with 300.878 billion barrels, followed by Saudi Arabia with 266.455 billion barrels, as per OPEC’s data.

Currently, the proven oil reserves are for now just statistics, as OPEC producers move to reduce oil supply in hopes of boosting crude oil prices.

Iraq is one of the OPEC producers that is having troubles keeping its end of the supply-cut deal. The country has contractual obligations to foreign oil companies, and must deal with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which controls fields in the north, making any production cuts quite complex. In this way, Iraq faces more challenges than other OPEC members in trying to comply with the deal.

Related: Middle East Oil & Gas Investment Surges To $294 Billion

Last week, reports had it that Iraq would reduce the amount of crude oil it exports via its largest port terminal in Basra to 3.013 million bpd next month, which would be the lowest daily figure since last August. This may be a signal that Iraq is working to improve its compliance with the production cut agreement. As of the end of January, Iraq was still producing 130,000 bpd above its quota.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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