Maliki oil adviser sees Iraq output tripling

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STANFORD, Calif., Nov 10 (Reuters) Iraqi oil production should nearly triple in the next few years as it explores more areas and attracts investment, the former Iraqi oil minister said.

Thamir Ghadhban, who held the post from June 2004 to May 2005 and now advises Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on oil and energy issues, said Iraq's government planned to increase production to 6 million barrels per day by 2015.

''Iraq is one of the least-explored countries among the major oil producers,'' Ghadhban told an audience at Stanford University in California on Friday.

Iraqi oil production is currently 2.25 million barrels per day, slightly less than production during Saddam Hussein's rule. Exports are 1.7 million barrels per day.

Immediate objectives for increasing production included exploring the Kurdistan Federal Region, the western deserts and the Mesopotamian sedimentary basin, Ghadhban said.

Iraq also needed to develop single-buoy moorings in the Gulf and invite foreign investment, he added.

Iraq, a founding member of OPEC, has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves at 112 billion barrels, with another 214 billion barrels of probable reserves.

Reuters SBA VP0745

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