"Iraq is on course to overtake Iran as the holder of the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves, solidifying its position as the energy industry’s new frontier in the scramble to secure fresh resources.
Baghdad agreed on Friday to deals with Royal Dutch Shell and China’s CNPC for two large oilfields, following on from similar accords with ExxonMobil, Eni and BP .
Consultants who have analysed the agreements struck by Baghdad said the contracts underlined the companies’ confidence that they would be able to use modern seismic and drilling technology to get far more oil out of the fields than had previously been thought possible.
Iraq’s proven reserves now stand at 115bn barrels, below Iran’s 137bn and Saudi Arabia’s record 264bn. But Iraq’s reserves data dates from the 1970s, before the improvements in technology that transformed the industry."