Iraq's Oil Reserves Bigger Than Previously Thought

Country claims it has 24% more crude in new estimate
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2010 1:56 PM CDT
Iraq's Oil Reserves Bigger Than Previously Thought
In this Dec. 13, 2009 file photo, Iraqi workers are seen at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the city of Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP)

(Newser) – Iraq is home to 24% more oil than it had previously estimated, the country announced today. In Iraq's first revision to its stated oil reserves since 2003, the oil ministry claims to have 143.1 billion barrels of known and recoverable oil, up from the previous level of 115 billion barrels—and, perhaps significantly, more than Iran's oil reserves, the BBC reports. The country may have yet even more oil, as officials from the Kurdish Autonomous Region declined to submit new figures as part of their ongoing dispute with the Iraqi government over oil revenue.

Little new exploratory work was completed under the rule of Saddam Hussein, but the country has stepped up its exploration efforts in the last two years. The oil ministry said that it planned to present its findings to OPEC, presumably to get a bigger slice of production. The oil authority sets limits on each member state's production in order to control the overall price. But OPEC isn't holding Iraq back—due to its limited infrastructure and security issues, OPEC doesn't currently impose a quota on the country, and isn't expected to until its production hits 4 million barrels a day; right now it produces 2.5 million.
(Read more Iraq stories.)

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