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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    Iraq and Oil

    Oil Reserves
    According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Iraq’s proven oil reserves are 115 billion barrels, although these statistics have not been revised since 2001 and are largely based on 2-D seismic data from nearly three decades ago. Over the past two years, multinational companies, at the request of the Government of Iraq (GoI), have reexamined seismic data and conducted comprehensive surveys of Iraq’s hydrocarbons reserves in locations throughout the country. Geologists and consultants have estimated that relatively unexplored territory in the western and southern deserts may contain an estimated additional 45 to 100 billion barrels (bbls) of recoverable oil. While internal Iraqi estimates have ranged into the hundreds of billions of barrels of additional oil, the seismic data under review by a host of international firms seem to be pointing to more conservative, but significant, increases. Iraq has the lowest reserve to production ratio of the major oil-producing countries.
    The majority of the known oil and gas reserves in Iraq form a belt that runs along the eastern edge of the country. According to the GoI, Iraq has around 9 fields that are considered “super giants” (over 5 billion bbls reserves) as well as 22 known “giant” fields (over 1 billion bbls). According to independent consultants, the cluster of super-giant fields of southeastern Iraq forms the largest known concentration of such fields in the world and accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the country’s proven oil reserves. An estimated 20 percent of oil reserves are in the north of Iraq, near Kirkuk, Mosul and Khanaqin. Control over rights to reserves is a source of controversy between the ethnic Kurds and other groups in the area.
    The Western Desert is of interest to oil prospectors as well as to the sectarian groups occupying these areas where there is no active oil production. Minor oil formations beneath western territory have been known of for decades, but little has been done in the way of development. Much of this area is just now undergoing exploration, although it belongs to same geological formation as part of the Saudi Arabian deposits. According to an Egyptian news source from February, 2007, a test well at the Akkas field in the Al-Anbar province is flowing at rates equivalent to larger fields elsewhere in Iraq.


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