Iraq’s oil reserves have increased to 153b barrels, from a previous estimate of 143b barrels, according to the Oil Minister, Jabal al-Luaibi, The Star informed.

Al-Luaibi added that Iraq will ask the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to adopt the new figure as the official estimate for its reserves, Reuters reported.

The increased estimate is the result of appraisals and exploration carried out at seven oil fields in central and southern Iraq. The country is currently developing its oil reserves with the help of foreign companies to make up for three and a half decades of conflict and international sanctions, starting with the 1980-1988 war against Iran.

Iraq’s new proven reserves estimate brings it closer to Iran’s 158b barrels. It is OPEC’s second largest producer after Saudi Arabia. Venezuela and Saudi Arabia lead OPEC’s 14 members in terms of oil reserves, with 301b barrels and 266b barrels respectively, according to OPEC’s website.