Middle East / Africa

Iraq flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Iraq

Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Climate: mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding
Terrain: mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Size: 437072 sq. km total (Land area: 432162 sq. km  Water area: 4910 sq.km)
Population: 28,221,181 (July 2008 est.)
Languages: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic), Armenian
Government: parliamentary democracy
Capital city: Baghdad
Legal system: based on European civil and Islamic law under the framework outlined in the Iraqi Constitution; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: New Iraqi dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004

Country profile

Iraq has the world’s third largest proven petroleum reserves and some of the lowest extraction costs, although just a fraction of its known fields are in development. According to the March 2007, review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2006, crude oil export revenues represented around 60 percent of GDP and 89 percent of government revenues.

In 2006, the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Iraq was the world’s 15th biggest oil producer and Iraq meets approximately 94% of its energy needs with petroleum. Iraq’s use of abundant natural gas resources and hydropower is limited. According to the findings of the December 2006, Iraq Study Group (ISG), led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker and former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, the stabilization of Iraq is highly correlated with Iraq’s economic success or failure, which in the medium-term is highly dependent on its hydrocarbons industry.

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts. US-Iranian relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981.

During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US and UN economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and conventional weapons proliferation. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president in 1997 and similarly a reformer Majles (parliament) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated.

The movement floundered as conservative politicians, through the control of unelected institutions, prevented reform measures from being enacted and increased repressive measures. Starting with nationwide municipal elections in 2003 and continuing through Majles elections in 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated with the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD as president.

In December 2006 and March 2007, the international community passed resolutions 1737 and 1747 respectively after Iran failed to comply with UN demands to halt the enrichment of uranium or to agree to full IAEA oversight of its nuclear program. In October 2007, Iranian entities were also subject to US sanctions under EO 13382 designations for proliferation activities and EO 13224 designations for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.


Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 2 million bbl/day (2007 est.) 3 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Consumption: 295,000 bbl/day (2007 est.) 980 million cu m
Exports: 1 million bbl/day (2007 est.)  
Imports:  N/A  
Reserves: 115 billion bbl/day (2007 est.) 3 trillion cu m (1 January 2007 est.)
Major fields:

Iraq - recent news

12 Jun 24
Iraq: Wood to deliver 3-year engineering contract with TotalEnergies in Iraq
Wood, a global leader in consulting and engineering, has been awarded a new $46 million, three-year contract by TotalEnergies in Iraq.Wood will provide front-end engineering design (FEED), detailed design, procurement support, and construction and commissioning assistance for the first phase of the Associated Gas Upstream Project, part of the Gas Growth Integrated Project (GGIP) in Southern Iraq.
13 May 24
Iraq: Chinese companies win bids to explore Iraq oil and gas fields
Chinese companies won bids to explore five Iraqi oil and gas fields on Saturday in a licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration that was primarily aimed at ramping up gas production for domestic use.
13 May 24
Gulf Keystone Petroleum announces operational update and launch of up to $10 million share buyback programme
Gulf Keystone, a leading independent operator and producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has provided an operational update and has announced the launch of a share buyback programme of the Company's Common Shares for up to a maximum aggregate consideration of $10 million.
09 May 24
Iraq: Genel Energy announces trading and operations update
Genel Energy has issued a trading and operations update relating to Q1 2024. The Company reports gross production of 76,310 bopd in Q1 2024 (65,770 bopd in Q4 2023), all from the Tawke licence, where local sales demand remains robust, with net production of 19,080 bopd in Q1 2024 (16,440 bopd in Q4 2023).
04 Apr 24
Iraq: DNO Kurdistan operations recover rapidly from torrential flooding
DNO, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has announced that production and field operations at its operated Tawke license (DNO 75 percent) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq have recovered from torrential flooding that also washed away large sections of the banks of the Khabur River, damaging roads and interfering with loading of tanker trucks for deliveries to buyers.

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