But as the troops move out, the oil companies are moving in. According to a July report from the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, oil production in Iraq is currently about 2.4 million barrels per day. The goal, by 2017 is to produce 12 million barrels per day. That’s quite a leap, especially since average production levels have held steady for more than two years. It’s going to a take a lot of investment to expand production by 10 million barrels per day.
How much? That’s anybody’s guess. For example, in January, ExxonMobil signed an agreement to redevelop and expand an oil field in southern Iraq. A company spokeswoman says that “total field capital expenditure will depend on full project scope,” which is currently being examined.
There’s a pile of oil money pouring into Iraq right now. Since last year, the Iraqi government has awarded 11 development deals to various consortia. BP and China National Petroleum Corp. are developing the enormous Rumaila field, which has a total proven reserves of about 18 billion barrels. Other companies winning awards include Royal Dutch Shell (working with ExxonMobil on one project and Malaysia’s Petronas on another), France’s Total SpA, Angola’s Sonangol, Italy’s Eni SpA, Russia’s Lukoil and China National Offshore Oil Corp. The signature bonuses to be paid by the consortia are anywhere from $100 million to $500 million.