Iraq plans to sharply increase its output capacity to 7 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2022, the country’s Oil Minister has said.

Iraq, the second largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting (Opec) countries, currently has an output capacity of 5 million b/d, but is pumping just over 4.7 million b/d due to its commitment to the output cut agreement between Opec and non-Opec producers.

“Our target is to reach 7 million b/d by 2022,” Jabbar al-Luiebi said on 13 February at the Iraq Reconstruction Summit in Kuwait.

Luiebi said Iraq has proven crude reserves of 145 billion barrels and he is confident the figure will jump to around 250 billion barrels with sufficient investment into exploration.

He said the country plans to boost natural gas production to 7 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) by 2021 from the current output of 2.7 billion cf/d.

Luiebi called on foreign investors to seize huge investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector, to develop which Baghdad requires billions of dollars to be invested soon to achieve the goals of the larger Iraqi economic restoration plan.

The minister said its violent conflict with radical militants and the attacks the group had inflicted on Iraq’s assets had more than halved the country’s refining capacity from 930,000 b/d to just 450,000 b/d. But reconstruction efforts have succeeded in regaining 70,000 b/d, he said.

Luiebi outlined Baghdad’s plans at the conference to build seven new refineries with a production capacity of 700,000 b/d by 2021.