Oil prices gain, Iraq unveils huge reserves

4th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Oil prices edged ahead on Monday, building on last week's rally and as Iraq reported a sharp rise in proven oil reserves to rank it number three in the world.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, rose 38 cents to 81.96 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for November increased 29 cents to 84.04 dollars.

Iraq on Monday reported 143.1 billion barrels of oil that it believes it can extract from the ground, representing a 24-percent increase over the old level of 115 billion barrels.

The increase leaves Iraq behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela in terms of known reserves, according to data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"Iraq's oil reserves which are extractable are 143.1 billion barrels," Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said at a news conference in Baghdad, noting this figure excluded any reserves in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

A further 33.486 billion barrels was non-extractable, said Shahristani.

Energy analysts previously said they expected the figure of 115 billion barrels to rise, as little to no exploration was conducted during the rule of dictator Saddam Hussein.

Oil prices hit five-month highs near 84 dollars last week in London as upbeat economic data pointed to a strong outlook for energy demand.


© 2010 AFP

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