IEA optimistic about future of Iraq oil industry

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The International Energy Agency predicted today that Iraq will consolidate its position as a global oil power — allowing it to rebuild the economy of a nation ravaged by war and decades of Saddam Hussein’s autocratic rule.

The leading global energy monitor reported that Iraq’s annual revenues from energy exports could double to an average of $200 billion annually over the next 20 years. That optimistic scenario would make Iraq’s economy the same size Saudi Arabia’s is now by 2035.

The IEA is a policy adviser to 28 member countries, mostly industrialized oil consumers. The Paris-based group’s predictions are important because they are seen as key benchmarks for energy markets.

In the group’s “central scenario,” Iraq’s oil exports are projected to grow from 3 million barrels a day now to 6.1 million barrels a day in 2020 and 8.3 million barrels a day in 2035. Iraq is already the world’s third-largest oil exporter.

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