KUWAIT CITY - Iraq, the second largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel, plans to sharply increase its output capacity to seven million barrels a day by 2022, its oil minister said Tuesday.
Iraq now has an oil production capacity of five million barrels per day (bpd) but is pumping just over 4.7 million under an OPEC output cut agreement.
"Our target is to reach seven million bpd by 2022," Jabbar al-Luaybi said, while presenting oil and gas projects available for private foreign investors.
Luaybi said Iraq sits on proven crude reserves of 145 billion barrels but he is confident the figure will jump to around 250 billion barrels with sufficient investment.
He said the war-battered nation plans to boost natural gas production to seven billion cubic feet per day by 2021 from the current output of 2.7 billion cubic feet.
Luaybi called on foreign investors to seize huge investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector where billions of dollars are required immediately in accordance with an Iraqi reconstruction plan.
He was speaking during the second day of the three-day Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq where Baghdad hopes to collect pledges totalling $88.2 billion.
The minister said Islamic State group attacks in Iraq had reduced the country's refining capacity from 930,000 bpd to just 450,000 bpd.
But reconstruction efforts have succeeded in regaining 70,000 barrels per day.
He outlined plans to build seven new refineries with a production capacity of 700,000 bpd by 2021.
Luaybi also outlined plans to build new pipelines and export facilities mainly in the oil-rich southern region.