Iraq may have double the current estimated amount of oil reserves, according to the country’s oil minister Jabar Al-Luaibi said, Arab News has reported.
If estimates prove to be true, OPEC’s second largest producer would overtake Saudi Arabia as having the highest proven reserves in the Middle East, and contend with Venezuela for the largest worldwide reserves.
Last year, Iraq upgraded its reserve estimates from 143 billion barrels (bb) to 153 bb.
“I don’t think it has any impact on the short or medium-term output from Iraq, but it does emphasize the tension between OPEC restraint and Iraq’s plans for production growth,” Robin Mills, CEO of UAE-based Qamar Energy said.
Al-Luaibi insisted that this “definitely will not deviate from the overall decision of OPEC” regarding the possible extension of a deal between OPEC and other producers to cut production and stabilise prices in the wake if the US shale boom, due to expire at the end of the year.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the country is discussing a 10-20 year cooperation agreement with Russia, essentially extending 2016’s agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut output to support oil prices.
Venezuela has stated its current proven reserves as 300 bb, however, some market analysts have been skeptical about this figure as much of the reserves consist of hard-to-access heavy oil in the Orinoco belt.
Saudi Arabia’s current proven reserves are 266bb, according to Oil & Gas Journal.