To Keep Eye on Its Oil, Iraq Buys US Drones Unarmed drones will watch over Persian Gulf By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted May 21, 2012 9:57 AM CDT 9 comments Comments Iraqi workers are seen at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the city of Basra, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jourani, File) (Newser) – Iraq is looking to America to help it monitor its oil interests—sort of. The country is buying unarmed surveillance drones from the US that will scour Iraq's Persian Gulf waters, which Iran has spoken of blockading in the past and which the majority of Iraq's oil exports flow through, USA Today reports. There's no word on how many drones it's buying, or at what cost. Iraq's oil production has jumped from 2.5 million barrels a day before the US invasion to 3 million today; it's aiming for 10 million within six years. "We'd like Iraq to be considered as a dependable long-term supplier of world energy needs," says a top Iraqi energy official. The West likely agrees, USA Today points out, as it could look to Iraq as a supplier capable of replacing Iran. The drone deal also "helps facilitate (the) strategic relationship" between the US and Iraq, says the US officer in charge of security cooperation with the country.