Iraqi energy reserves exceed $15 trillion, senior official claims

The value of Iraq’s natural resources exceeds $15 trillion, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, the financial adviser to the country’s prime pinister, has claimed.

The nation exports around 3.3 million barrels per day of oil currently and aims to expand domestic crude production to more than 5 million bpd, but has yet to reveal a timeline for achieving the higher target.

Iraq is a key member of the Opec group and has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves, totalling up to 155 billion barrels.

Saleh noted that Iraq ranks ninth in the world in terms of wealth of natural resources.

“The market value of the country’s oil, gas and other natural resources exceeds $15 trillion,” Saleh added, according to the official Iraqi news agency.

He stated that the country’s hydrocarbon wealth is expected to grow due to ongoing development projects in the oil and gas sector, coupled with ongoing exploration efforts.

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Saleh said that Russia controls the world’s largest natural resources wealth of around $75 trillion followed by the US at nearly $45 trillion.

Iraq has invited bidders to show their interest in fresh onshore acreage for gas exploration and exploitation, according to media reports.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdul-Ghani invited international energy companies last month to bid for contracts to explore and develop natural gas in 11 blocks in Iraq.

Of the 11 blocks, eight are located in Anbar Province in western Iraq, one in the northern province of Nineveh, one in an area between the provinces of Anbar and Najaf, and one between Anbar and Nineveh, Abdul-Ghani said in a statement issued by the Oil Ministry, according to the Xinhua news agency.

In 2009, Iraq opened its oil and gas sector to foreign investment.

Abdul-Ghani said in May Iraq’s oil reserves had increased by 10 billion barrels and its natural gas reserves by 8 trillion cubic feet following a 3D seismic survey near Basra, a key oil hub located about 550 kilometres south of the capital, Baghdad, reported the Bernama news agency.

This would increase Iraq’s proven crude reserves to about 155 billion barrels and natural gas to some 140 Tcf, although Opec, of which Iraq is a member, has not officially adopted the revised figures.