IRAQ PLANS OIL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

IRAQ PLANS OIL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Iraq aims to increase its oil production capacity by an extra 1.5 million to 2 million barrels a day through its new oil field development program, said Issam al Chalabi, Iraqi oil minister.

"We have a range of 1.5 (million) to 2 million b/d, but it will all depend on the approach, on the response and on the timing," Mr. al Chalabi told the Nicosia, Cyprus-based Middle East Economic Survey. He said the program will include light as well as heavier crude.The program entails inviting foreign companies to develop new oil fields already discovered and appraised but as yet undeveloped in Iraq. The investors would provide the necessary financing, with repayment to be made in crude oil production from the field in question.

The response so far has been very positive, according to Mr. al Chalabi. He said that U.S., Japanese and European companies have formed task forces and are seeking more information from Iraq.