Iraqi Crude Production Nearing Highest Level In Decades

November 2012, Vol. 239 No. 11

Estimated Iraqi oil production surpassed 3 million bpd in July, the highest level since the end of the Gulf War in 1990. Increased investment in Iraq’s petroleum industry and export infrastructure underpin these production gains. However, many factors still constrain the Iraqi oil industry from reaching its full production potential.

Iraqi production rebounded after 2005. Production in previously developed fields such as Rumaila and West Qurna has increased in recent years. New upstream investments are boosting output even further. In June, the Halfaya oil field came online, increasing total Iraqi production by an estimated 70,000 bpd with the potential to produce up to 535,000 bpd.

With existing fields like Rumaila and West Qurna and new production coming online in Halfaya, Iraqi production has the potential to exceed 4 million bpd. However, constraints including pipeline bottlenecks, export capacity limitations, and security issues still may limit Iraq’s oil production potential. Alleviation of these constraints could enable Iraqi oil production and exports to reach record-high levels in the near future.