Iraq ‘to switch focus from oil’

Iraq President Jalal Talabani20 September 2013, News Wires – Iraq is aiming for nearly $360 billion in investment in new development projects as the Opec member nation hatches a plan to move its economy away from such a heavy dependence on oil revenues.

The major hydrocarbons producer is to focus on developing its industrial sector under a new plan running until 2017, Reuters reported.

The plan, to be implemented this year, will see five sectors in particular becoming the focus of new investment: building & services, agriculture, education, transport & communications and energy, the news wire reported.

“The government made a decision to focus on other sources in the country instead of oil, so the new plan will basically focus on industry instead of oil,” Reuters quoted Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, as saying.

Iraq envisages that approximately $357 billion in investment will be needed for development projects with 79% to come from the government and 21% from the private sector.

Oil revenues will, however, continue to be the breadwinner for Iraq, hitting around $662 billion in the over four-year plan period.

Production of oil is envisioned rising from 3.2 million barrels per day in 2012 to 9.5 million bpd in 2017, with crude exports climbing from 2.6 million bpd to 6 million bpd in 2017, assuming an average oil price of $85 per barrel over the five years, Reuters reported.

The country is also to raise wheat and barley production.

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