Iraq has a growing economy despite political unrest over the past two decades; in 2012, the Iraqi economy grew by approximately 10 percent. One of the strongest areas for Iraqi economic investment and export to the West (specifically the United States) is oil.
While Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world (150 billion barrels), it is one of the least explored. Iraqi oil has high projected growth due to rising oil prices and expansion in oil production. Iraqi oil refineries project that oil production will triple or even quadruple in the next 3 years, in collaboration with U.S. technologies and techniques.
Besides oil, Iraq also possesses high natural gas reserves. From 2003 to 2012, natural gas production in Iraq rose from 81 billion cubic feet to 660 billion cubic feet. However, due to underinvestment and underdevelopment, five of Iraq’s major natural gas refinery plants sit unused. Natural gas could potentially be a huge area of potential economic development for the country; already the equipment and supply are in place, and the only thing lacking is investment and demand.
For both oil and natural gas industries to develop properly, Iraq requires extensive investment in export infrastructure, pipelines as well as updates and expansions made on their existing refinery plants and equipment. The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has committed to augmenting oil production in the next five years, but in order to achieve this goal, international investors are required. Heightened investment and economic development will support infrastructural stability and growth, which should encourage social and political stability as well.
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