A combination of surging non-OPEC supply and lower projected demand growth has eroded the anticipated call on new Iraqi output. And this has energized a reassessment of Iraq’s production expansion requirements. A final decision on plateau targets has been postponed, but nevertheless Baghdad is still pushing hard for near-term growth, aiming for average 2013 crude exports of 2.9mn b/d, up almost 600,000 b/d on last year, and it is targeting 2014 output of 4.5mn b/d, compared to just over 3mn b/d last year.

Iraq added significant production capacity last year and investors are working hard to deliver a further boost this year. If everything goes well, over 700,000 b/d could be added in 2013 alone. But unless bottlenecks are addressed aggressively production gains will be far more modest, MEES estimates. Much will depend on whether a resolution to Baghdad’s oil dispute with the Kurds is achieved, but if it is not, Iraq could miss its 2013 target by over 400,000 b/d and its 2014 target by almost 600,000 b/d (see table). (CONTINUED - 1810 WORDS)