Iran is expected to reach oil output of 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) "much earlier" than the planned target year of 2010, an Iranian official was quoted as saying.
Mohammad Javad Asemipour, production affairs head of the National Iranian Oil Company, said crude output would increase to 4.2 million bpd by the end of the Iranian year that runs to March 19, the Tehran Times said on Wednesday.
Output currently stands at 4.15 million bpd, he said.
"According to the fourth five-year development plan, the country needs to increase its crude oil output to 4.5 million bpd by 2010, but it seems we will achieve the goal much earlier," he was quoted as saying.
Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari (pictured above) said in November that Iran's oil production was 4.145 million bpd and its capacity 4.3 million bpd.
Analysts have said Iran's oil industry needs a big injection of foreign investment to boost output, but that Western firms in particular are wary of investing in Iran after the UN imposed sanctions on the country over its nuclear programme.
However, Iran's huge oil and gas reserves still make it a magnet for international energy firms.
On December 9, Iran said China's Sinopec would invest around $2 billion to develop the huge Yadavaran field. (Reuters)
Iran to hit oil output target early