18 June 2013 11:19 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Increased measures to enhance oilfields infrastructure and a resultant hike in oil production has placed Iraq as a key player in the energy markets over the past few years, Amos Hochstein, deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy at the US State Department, said on Tuesday.
"Iraq now produces three million barrells a day. As recently as 2007 that kind of growth was incalculable," Hochstein said at the Iraq Petroleum 2013 conference being held in London on June 18-19.
These production gains have contributed to energy security across the world, he said.
The country's influence in the energy markets does not stop with oil production, but extends to its increasing consumption of hydrocarbons, the diplomat said.
"Iraq's consumption will reach two million barrels a day, according to estimates. Growing demand within the Midle East is crucial," he said.
Hochstein added rising petroleum consumption in China, Brazil, parts of Africa and India was redefining traditional energy diplomacy and price dynamics.
"This is changing the dynamics of prices. Oil prices are near historical highs, not just as a result of geopolitics but changing consumption patterns across the world."
Iraq still faces challenges in ensuring good infrastructure, Holstein said.
"Ultimately these are Iraqi challenges, and these must be ultimately met by Iraqi solutions," Hochstein said.
A rise in Iraqi oil supply could potentially push global oil prices down in the coming years.
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