Much of the energy infrastructure the world will need in 2030 has yet to be built. This fact poses enormous responsibility and opportunity. How will the future of energy be shpated by the confluence of policy, market forces, technology, climate concerns, geopolitics – and the sheer scale of investment.
In late 2009, Iraq embarked on an ambitious plan to catapult the country into the ranks of the world’s very largest oil producers and exporters – Russia and Saudi Arabia – in less than a decade. Bagdad hopes to realize its plan with the help of international oil companies, who more than fourfold in less than a decade, from 2.5 million barrels per day (mbd) of existing capacity today to a target of about 12 mbd by 2017.
The fastest capacity buildup in recent decades was in Russia, where output rose by about 3.7 mbd in the ten years before 2008. Saudi Arabia took about 5 years to expand its capacity by a net 2 mbd over the past decade.
Iraq faces unique hurdles as it tries to implement its expansion plan. Security continues to be an issue, especially in areas that have been prone to violence in the recent past. The political situation is fragile, with an extremely delicate balance among competing interests that may be easily upset. Water, power, transport, and other resources are scarce, slowing projects and prompting jostling among companies as they try to secure what they need.