Baghdad, June 6 (AKnews) - Iraq's Oil Minister Abdulkarim Luaibi has set off for Austria to attend the annual OPEC meeting to discuss international calls for an increase in crude oil production.
The conference will discuss whether its possible to produce enough crude oil to satisfy global demands after exports from Libya ground to a halt due to the uprisings there.
"Iraq's move to raise its output level to 3 million bpd by the end of this year fits with the OPEC plan to develop crude oil production in the world," the Oil Ministry's assistant media official, Murtadha al-Jashaami, told AKnews.
On Sunday, the state-run Iraq Drilling Co. started drill-and-repair work on wells in the Hamrin Mountains, north of Baghdad, for the first time in 21 years, according to the semi-official al-Iraqiya television station.
Al-Iraqiya TV cited Idris Mohsin al-Yasiri, general director of the drilling company, saying they had started work on a total of 72 wells this week.
Iraq Drilling Co. is also expected to drill 12 wells in 2011 and 18 next year, according to al-Yasiri.
Holding the world's fifth-largest oil reserves, Iraq depends on oil for most of its revenue. The government is struggling to raise crude exports and is seeking foreign investors to boost output after three decades of successive conflicts and international sanctions destroyed its infrastructure.
The crude oil business has also suffered in recent years from insurgent attacks.
Since 2003, Iraq has signed 15 gas and oil licenses and is expecting oil output to rise to more than 3 million bpd by the end of this year. Iraq currently produces 2.4 million bpd.
Written by Raber Y. Aziz (AKnews) - Jaafar al-Wannan contributed to this story