Cambridge Energy Research Associates (IHS CERA) is questioning the feasibility of Iraq’s extremely ambitious oil production capacity expansion plans in a latest report.
Iraq is currently gunning to expand its oil production capacity to 12 million barrels per day from just 2.5 million now, in as little as seven years.
CERA believes that Iraq has massive production potential, but believes Iraq will be challenged to just increase oil production half as much as it intends.
The reason is that we’ve never seen such a rapid expansion successfully completed:
“But Iraq’s new expansion timetable would dwarf the most rapid buildups that we have recently seen in places such as Russia and Saudi Arabia,” said IHS CERA Senior Middle East Director, Bhushan Bahree. “The political, security, operational and infrastructure challenges in the country, along with a likely shortage of skilled personnel, are likely to hamper progress towards such an unprecedented achievement.”
“Iraq’s expansion timetable appears extraordinarily ambitious in comparison to the recently completed capacity increase in Saudi Arabia,” said Bahree. “Saudi Arabia has significant security and infrastructure advantages yet it took Saudi Arabia between four and five years to expand its net output capacity by some 2 million barrels per day. Iraq will certainly be challenged to match this pace, much less exceed it.”
IHS CERA thinks Iraq will only be able to expand oil production to 4.3 million barrels per day by 2015 and 6.5 million by 2020. They nevertheless stress that even this will be a significant change for the oil market, and OPEC in general (Iraq is currently not restricted by OPEC quotas). Just don’t think Iraq will hit 12 million barrels per day production any time soon. Thus Saudi Arabia will remain the undisputed oil production king for at least another decade.
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