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Iraq has adjusted its crude oil production capacity target and is now aiming to achieve 6.5 million b/d by 2022, oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Monday.

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Iraq's Cabinet on Sunday approved a five-year plan calling for the country to boost its nationwide oil production capacity to 6.5 million b/d by 2022, up from 5 million b/d currently.

Iraq is technically supposed to restrict actual production to 4.35 million b/d, under OPEC's output restraint deal agreed in late-2016, which runs through 2018.

Between state-run oil companies and international oil companies with signed technical service contracts, Baghdad itself is expected to reach the new target before 2022.

Iraq produced 4.43 million b/d in February, according to the latest S&P Global Platts survey, and has at least 280,000 b/d shut-in at Kirkuk fields due to lack of an export route.

Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region has also signed production sharing contracts with major international oil companies and is expected to double its current 350,000 b/d production over the coming 12 months.

According to the Sunday announcement by the Council of Ministers, the five-year plan has three key economic pillars: increasing the role of agriculture and industry in the currently oil-dominated economy "to reach a target economic growth rate of 7%"; the boost in oil production capacity to 6.5 million b/d; and reducing poverty while increasing "sustainable employment opportunities."

Iraq last week said it would put 11 oil fields and blocks up for auction in a rushed bidding round that is supposed to take place on April 15 and is intended to increase production from discovered but dormant or underdeveloped fields.

-- Staff,

-- Edited by Irene Tang,