Iraq to spend $173b on energy infrastructure to ramp up oil production

BASRA, Iraq (AFP) - Iraq plans to invest US$173 billion (S$214 billion) in its energy infrastructure over the next five years to dramatically ramp up crude output, Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi said on Saturday.

The investment in upstream activities, refineries and to increase natural gas production will boost oil production to 9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) and bring in revenues of US$600 billion, Mr Luaybi told a news conference in the southern port city of Basra.

"This plan will achieve revenues that will reach about US$600 billion in the coming five years," he said.

Iraq currently produces around 3.15 million bpd, according to oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad, of which around 2.5 million bpd is exported. The country has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels, among the highest figures in the world. It has sought in recent years to sign contracts with international energy firms in order to boost output sharply and cement its role as a key global oil supplier.

Baghdad is almost entirely dependent on crude sales for much-needed revenues to rebuild Iraq's decrepit infrastructure and state-dominated economy, both of which have been shattered by decades of conflict and sanctions.

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