Here’s some good news from a country that could use some good news: Iraq is experiencing an oil boom. The country has achieve a 20 percent increase in exports and is now pumping out almost 2.5 million barrels of oil a day.
The increase in production is especially impressive because Iraq has done it despite the bombings and other acts of violence that continue to plague the country. The government has made port improvements that have allowed for the increased exports and has managed to engineer an increase the flow of oil. Iraq is now pumping crude at a rate seen only once since Saddam Hussein took power in 1979, and plans to increase its production even more next year. Indeed, Iraq’s announced goal is to pump 10 million barrels a day by 2017.
This is good news for the world — Iraq’s production has helped to hold down oil prices and has reduced Iran’s oil power — but it is especially good news for the people of Iraq. People are back at work in the oil fields and ports, oil revenues are pouring into the country, and internal improvements are being made to allow for increased production. Of course, there are still serious concerns about the ongoing sectarian violence in the country, about corruption and favoritism, and about a fledgling government that has had difficulty governing. It remains to be seen whether those concerns are exacerbated by the incoming oil money or whether the cash allows the competing factions to paper over their differences and agree upon their shares of a rapidly expanding pie.