Iraq Production Plans Could Rankle OPEC

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Iraq's plans to tap into its vast oil reserves and boost production may draw the ire of OPEC and pose a problem for the cartel's efforts to firm up oil prices. Iraq has no production limits and that could be an issue for OPEC, which said it expects to discuss output with Iraq at some point. Iraq has the third-largest known oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Iran.

With the help of international oil producers such as Royal Dutch (RDS-A), BP (BP) and PetroChina (PTR), Iraq is looking to boost its production to 2.4 million barrels a day in the near-term and 12 million barrels a day over the next several years. Those companies and others won licenses to produce oil in Iraq when the country auctioned off the rights earlier this month.

Iraq's OPEC quota has been similar to that of Iran, which is currently pumping about 459,000 barrels a day more than its OPEC quota of 3.336 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg News.

The 12 OPEC members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Their next meeting is scheduled March 17.