Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said Iraq’s oil reserves have risen to 153 billion barrels, from a previous estimate of 143 billion barrels. The OPEC country will ask the group to adopt this new figure as the official estimate for its reserves, according to a Reuters report. Exploration and appraisals carried out at seven of the country’s oil fields in the southern and central regions is the reason for the boosted estimate.
The new figure places Iraq closer to Iran’s 158 billion barrels. The country is developing its oil reserves with the participation of foreign companies to help counteract the impact of about 35 years of conflict and international sanctions- most recently the ISIS attacks on the country’s oil infrastructure.
In terms of OPEC’s oil reserves, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela hold the most- with 266 billion barrels and 301 billion barrels respectively. In terms of production, Iraq is not exempt from abiding by OPEC’s oil production cut agreement struck on November 30 and implemented on January 1, even though chatter prior to the forging of the deal indicated that it might be.