Iraq Oil Production Surges--David Frum

Iraq has rejoined the world market, reports Bloomberg/BusinessWeek. In 2011, Iraq produced more oil than at any time since the first Gulf War. In 2012, it should produce even more oil again.

Yes, violence continues. But so does progress:

Iraqi crude oil production jumped to the highest level in at least 20 years, or more than 3 million barrels a day, said Hussain al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy affairs.

Iraq’s government, which takes complete control of the country this month after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces, will acquire unmanned drone aircraft to help protect pipelines and related energy facilities that have been frequent targets of sabotage, he said today in an interview in Baghdad.

He spoke hours after nine bombs exploded in the capital Baghdad, killing at least 57 people in attacks that underscored instability and divisions as the U.S. ends almost nine years of military presence in the country. Iraq holds the fifth-biggest natural-gas reserves in the Middle East and the world’s fifth- largest crude deposits, according to BP Plc data that include Canadian oil sands.

'Iraq’s crude production will rise to 3.4 million barrels a day by the end of next year, and exports will rise to 2.6 million barrels a day, including 175,000 barrels from fields in the northern Kurdish region, next year from a current average of 2.2 million barrels of oil a day,' he said.

Iraq’s first single-point mooring facility for oil tankers will begin operating in January, he said. A second unit will be in place within six months, a third one by the end of next year and a fourth in 2013, he said. Each of the four facilities will add 900,000 barrels a day of exporting capacity for crude oil, he said."