New proof of progress, if any was still needed. Security has improved on the northern pipeline along with the success of the surge and the awakening in Anbar, to the point where an Iraqi oil official actually lowballed the amount they were exporting each day a few weeks ago when the pipeline reopened. He guessed 1.8 or 1.9 million barrels. Quoth the Beeb:
The IEA said Iraqi crude production is now running at 2.3 million barrels per day, compared with 1.9 million barrels at the start of this year.
It puts the rise down to the improving security situation in Iraq, especially in the north of the country…
In recent years this pipeline has been out of action for long periods due to sabotage attacks.
Since the summer there has been a marked downturn in all forms of violence in Iraq.
If the cold peace holds, the same oil official mentioned above expects a “sharp increase” in production up to three million bpd next year and, pie in the sky, as much as six million in six years. Where’s that coming from? Partly Kurdistan, which isn’t producing jack right now but hopes to be turning out one million bpd in five years if given the opportunity to exploit its oil fields.
It’d be nice to pretend this is a hedge against Iran’s oil weapon in the event of escalation, but let’s be honest: Given the size and strength of Iranian proxies in Iraq, those pipelines won’t last five minutes if Iran gives the word. In the short-term, though, it’s another hopeful sign for Bush to tout in the war-funding battle. Exit question: Do we trust the White House to be smart enough to mention this unprompted or are blogs going to have to nudge Dizzy Dana along?