6-18-2012 SWFloridaGuy: "Again a power in OPEC, Iraq could shift landscape. Iraq's rapidly expanding oil production is likely to complicate OPEC's efforts to influence world prices as the country re-emerges as a major player after 20 years on the sidelines due to sanctions and strife.
Iraq recently reached production of 3 million barrels per day, a level not seen since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
It is on track to become OPEC's second-largest producer in the coming year, surpassing Iran and trailing only Saudi Arabia.
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Iraq, for all intents and purposes, could double its production in next five years.
No other OPEC country has the ability and capacity to do that. Iraq's return to petroleum prominence was not supposed to take this long.
Before the U.S.-led invasion, officials in President George W. Bush's administration said that the country's oil exports, long hampered by international sanctions, would recover quickly and possibly even pay for the war.
With Iraq pumping 3 or 4 million extra barrels a day, other countries would face the choice of either cutting their own quotas to accommodate Iraq or raising the overall production level.
Its ambitious expansion goals and contracts with major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC depend on pumping more and more oil, so Iraq's own self-interest in coming years is likely to reverse its stance of pushing for production cuts."