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Ali is an economist and political analyst, working at a private UK-based company. He worked previously at the World Health Organisation and has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS. You can follow him on Twitter (@alialsaffar).

The Iraqi Oil Bonanza

Foreign Policy magazine had an interesting article about the role Iraq could play in OPEC, and the general clout that will be gained, by an increase in oil production. The two oil bidding rounds last year ended with 10 deals signed. They were generally accepted as being quite successful, and the terms negotiated quite favourable for Iraq. Technically, the agreements could increase Iraqi oil output to 12.6m b/d by 2016, way beyond Saudi Arabia’s capacity and around 3 times Iran’s current production. This is unlikely, definitely not going to happen in the time frame suggested. BP estimates 10m b/d by 2020, which would be quite a decent feat really.

The most pertinent point about the oil, in my humble opinion, is not how much of it Iraq will produce, but how the revenue it brings in is used. Will it again be up to the government to redistribute at will, to grease the patronage machine? Or will it be invested in a real, productive economy that will not be subject to the whims of the fluctuating oil market?

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