Iraq may be crippled by mismanagement and violence, but it does have one huge bright spot these days—oil. Iraq's crude oil production is up 20% this year to the tune of 2.5 million barrels a day, reports the New York Times. Oil provides 95% of government revenues in Iraq, and is scheduled to climb another 400,000 barrels per day next year. In fact, the Iraq government wants it to reach 10 million barrels per day by 2017, although most experts think such a Saudi Arabia-esque level is unrealistic. “Nobody has yet managed to increase oil production in their country to the extent Iraq is planning to," says the president of BP Iraq. "It’s hugely ambitious, and it will take a lot of things to work correctly.”
Iraq's soaring production, combined with increased production in Saudi Arabia and the recovery of Libya's oil production, helped bring oil down to $98.43 per barrel last week, the lowest level since January 2011. In fact, with OPEC now exceeding its 30-million-barrels per day quota by 5%, Iran is calling on the cartel to cut back production, reports Business Week. But with sanctions on Iran growing ever tougher, the world will need Iraq's increased production to make up for lower Iran sales, which are already down 12% this year.