Production could reach 6.1 million barrels per day by 2020, up from the current output of around 3 million barrels a day, and top more than 8 million barrels by 2035, the agency said in a special edition of its World Energy Outlook.
“This landmark study confirms the increasing importance of Iraq to the global energy system, highlighting the key role it is expected to play in meeting growing energy needs and the responsibilities it will assume as a strategic source of world oil supply. Put simply, this report shows that we all have an interest in Iraq realizing its potential and revitalizing its economy,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.
Such rapid growth would generate $200 billion a year of revenue for Iraq and transform the country’s economy, the IEA said, adding that revenues of this magnitude can transform Iraq’s future prospects, with the potential to stimulate much-needed economic growth and diversification
Iraq is already the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) having overtaken Iran, whose oil output is suffering from the impact of international sanctions.
“Developments in Iraq’s energy sector are critical for the country’s prospects and also for the health of the global economy,” said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol. “But success is not assured, and failure to achieve the anticipated increase in Iraq’s oil supply would put global oil markets on course for troubled waters.”
But the report also said Iraq needed to sort out internal disputes in order for its estimates to come true. Disputes between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over oil contracts must be resolved.