Iraq oil: promises and challenges

Hurdles ahead

Oil

Iraq has one of the world's largest oil reserves and is tipped to be a crucial exporter for future oil supply in the medium and long term. But years of political turbulence and a ravaged physical infrastructure have meant Iraq has continually fallen short of producing oil at a pre-invasion level, which stood at 2.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2003.

However, this looks set to change. With two successful bidding rounds granting a number of major international energy companies (table 1), inclu