Iraq study sees output hike, confirms reserves

Iraq could double oil production capacity to 4 million b/d in 5 years with little effort, according to a 12-month study of its reservoirs by IHS Inc., London.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 18 -- Iraq could double oil production capacity to 4 million b/d in 5 years with little effort, according to a 12-month study of its reservoirs by IHS Inc., London.

The study, to be published in May as an Iraq Atlas, confirmed longstanding conventional wisdom that Iraq has 116 billion bbl of proved and probable oil reserves and 100 tcf of gas reserves. Basin studies indicated that another 100 billion bbl of oil and a large volume of gas can be recovered from the country's hardly explored western desert.

The study group assessed 435 undrilled prospects and noncommercial discoveries and 81 producing fields and commercial discoveries. The group evaluated the reservoirs using new information and reassessed and validated all field reserves and production numbers.

The government, which needs $20-25 billion in investment in its E&P sector, is expected to launch a bid round for 65 exploration blocks and 78 fields in 2007.

The western desert estimate, which IHS said has a large error margin, was developed from new play concepts generated in a recent study of the Western Arabian platform. Iraq has made only one discovery in the region, which is expected to hold oil in Silurian rocks and gas in Ordovician formations.

Given a stable political and civil environment, Iraq could boost its capacity from just under 2 million b/d presently by restoring shut-in wells to production in northern fields and drilling infill wells in southern fields without using new technology or enhanced oil recovery methods, the group found.

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