ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Oil Minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, claimed oil prices are stabilizing, Iraqi al-Sabah state newspaper reported on Monday.
OPEC’s second-largest oil producer plans to boost oil production to over 7.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2024, of which six million bpd of oil would be for export and 1.5 million bpd to meet domestic needs, Luaibi stated.
On June 22, members of OPEC, Russia, and other oil producers agreed to raise production starting from July after months of underproduction by the organization members, including Venezuela.
Iraq’s refining capacity now sits at around 670,000 bpd, with local consumption reaching 1.2 million bpd, Luaibi added.
“We plug the gap by importing fuel which costs us over $2 billion a year,” al-Sabah quoted the Iraqi official as saying.
After liberating Iraq’s largest oil refinery of Baiji from the Islamic State (IS) in Oct. 2015, the country’s Oil Ministry planned to resume partial operations at the refinery with an output of 70,000 bpd, the minister said.
Iraqi Oil Ministry is currently repairing the Baiji Refinery and resume production at a second sub-refinery to increase capacity by another 70,000 bpd, Luaibi added.
According to the official, the repair and maintenance of the refinery so far have cost the country half a billion US dollar.
IS occupied the strategic city of Baiji in Dec. 2014, after capturing Nineveh and other northern and central Iraqi provinces. The area, including the Baiji Refinery, suffered heavy damages during intense clashes between Iraqi forces and IS militants.
Iraq currently relies on Baghdad’s Doura refinery and Shuaiba plant in the south to partially fulfill its domestic needs.
Editing by Nadia Riva