‘It is not in the interest of Iraq to stay out of OPEC,’ he said. ‘It is in its interest to see stable markets in terms of the supply and demand scenario, plus in terms of prices.’ Chalabi told a press conference in Manila on 14 March
Chalabi also forecast there would be no quick expansion in Iraqi production capacity. He said that it would take at least two years to get it back to the pre-Kuwait crisis level of 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d). ‘We should not expect major increases in the capacity for some years to come,’ he said. ‘It could happen gradually but definitely not before the year 2008. Six million b/d might be achievable by the year 2010.’ Iraq’s present oil production capacity is estimated at 2.8 million b/d. Production has been averaging 2.5 million b/d.
Chalabi was Iraq’s Minister of Oil from 1987 until 1990. He is now an oil consultant based in Amman.