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Iraq seeks major expansion in oil reserves with new licensing rounds

1 min

In a strategic push to solidify its standing as a global oil powerhouse, Iraq has embarked on a new phase of energy sector development by initiating new licensing rounds aimed at expanding its oil and gas exploration. 

This increase is considered crucial for reducing Iraq’s reliance on energy imports, particularly Iranian gas which is vital for electricity production © Mena Today 

In a strategic push to solidify its standing as a global oil powerhouse, Iraq has embarked on a new phase of energy sector development by initiating new licensing rounds aimed at expanding its oil and gas exploration. 

The Iraqi Oil Minister, Hayan Abdel-Ghani, announced the country's plans to increase its proven oil reserves to over 160 billion barrels.

During a ceremony marking the beginning of a three-day bidding process, Minister Abdel-Ghani unveiled the start of the "fifth plus" and sixth licensing cycles. These rounds involve the issuance of licenses for 29 oil and gas fields, including areas in 12 provinces and an offshore block in Iraq's territorial waters in the Gulf. 

Currently, Iraq is the second-largest exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with an average production of four million barrels of crude oil per day.

The Iraqi government is strongly backing this initiative, anticipating significant increases in production capacity. It is estimated that the new licensing rounds could enable Iraq to extract over 3.459 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (approximately 98 million cubic meters) and more than one million additional barrels of oil per day. 

This increase is considered crucial for reducing Iraq’s reliance on energy imports, particularly Iranian gas which is vital for electricity production.

Despite its vast oil wealth, Iraq continues to face significant challenges. The nation remains heavily dependent on oil revenues, which account for 90% of its total income, and is still seeking stability after decades of conflict. Increasing natural gas production is especially strategic, aiming to enhance energy independence and more effectively meet domestic needs.

With these measures, Iraq is not only looking to boost its oil production but also to achieve greater economic and energy stability. 

The outcomes of these licensing rounds could significantly transform the Iraqi energy landscape and, by extension, contribute to greater regional stability. The coming months will be critical in assessing the impact of these developments on both the Iraqi economy and the global energy market.

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