Baghdad is still expecting exports from southern Iraq to rise to 4 million barrels a day by the end of 2016 even as investment at large upstream projects is slashed, according to an advisor to the prime minister’s office.

“We aren’t telling oil companies to stop investment – we’re telling them that investment must be minimised,” said Abdulilah al-Amir speaking to MEED in Dubai. “We are still confident that exports to hit the 4 million b/d target by the end of the year.”

Southern Iraq is currently exporting around 3.25 million b/d and nenegotiations with international oil companies (IOCs) are ongoing, according to Al-Amir.

He says officials are in talks with companies including Russia’s Lukoil, UK-based BP, and Italy’s Eni.

“If there is no investment then the fields operated by these companies will see production decline. We want to prevent this from happening,” said Al-Amir.

Currently the future of planned oilfield development projects in southern Iraq is uncertain.

BP was planning a $2.5bn project to develop its Rumaila oilfield and Lukoil was planning a $4bn scheme to boost production at its West Qurna-2 oilfield.

Both projects are currently on-hold as negotiations continue.