Iraq’s Oil Ministry expects oil production capacity to increase to 3.4 million barrels a day (b/d) by the end of the year, including 150,000 b/d from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Production from the south of the country will continue to contribute the majority of Iraq’s capacity, with 2.39 million b/d from state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) and its joint ventures with international oil companies, according to a source close to the Oil Ministry.

The source adds that North Oil Company (NOC) will also increase capacity to 580,000 b/d along with 150,000 b/d from Kurdistan. Midland Oil Company will raise production to 130,000 b/d and Missan Oil Company will produce 150,000 b/d. It is unclear how much the state-owned firms are currently capable of producing.

The Oil Ministry also expects domestic consumption by power stations and refineries to total approximately 800,000 b/d, leaving 2.4 million b/d available for export, although this excludes exports from the Kurdish region, which averaged 50,000 b/d in 2011.

Iraq’s production stood at 2.6 million b/d, with exports of 2.14 million b/d in November, the last month for which Oil Ministry data is available.

Baghdad forecasts that it will be able to increase exports to a total of 950 million barrels, up more than 20 per cent from the 790 million barrels it is expected to export in 2011.