Both Iraq and Iran are set to play a bigger role in the world's oil markets as the technology to develop heavy oilfields grows, it was revealed.
'While estimates of Iraq's oil reserves suggest it in the region of 112 billion barrels that figure was calculated some 18 years ago,' Iraq-British Business Council chairman Mustafa Bazergan told delegates at the first Heavy Oil World Mena 2010 conference.
'But with the development of technology and the ability to access heavy oil we are probably looking at something closer to 300 billion barrels now.
'And on top of that we already have proven gas reserves of 1,100 trillion cubic feet which could make us the 10th largest gas producer in the world.'
He said that moving ahead with developing the industry depended to some extent on the government passing an oil and gas act but that would probably be completed in the next few weeks as problems between the government and the Kurdistan region were ironed out.
In the first four months of this year the government had received around $17 billion from hydrocarbon sales, accounting for some 96 per cent of its income.
'Between 1977 and 1980 Iraq was already a producer of heavy oil and we can do that again,' he said.
'We probably have some 13.3 billion barrels of heavy oil which could account for 12 to 14 per cent of our production,' he added.
He added that by 2015 Iraq expected to be able to produce 5.5 million bpd, upping this to 8.5 million bpd by 2020.
With some 137 billion barrels of reserves Iran holds around 10 per cent of the world's oil supply, Iran Deputy Minister of Petroleum and National Iranian Oil Products Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) president Shahnazi Zadeh told delegates at the conference.
'We have a daily production of 3.6 million bpd of which 2.1 million is exported,' he said.
'We have ambitious plans to go ahead with expansion of our refinery capability including expanding capacity at our existing plants while developing five more across the country.
'The development of our condensate industry as well as accessing heavy oil resources will help us to produce the feedstock for these ventures,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service