Despite Higher Prices, Iraq's Oil Output Still Lags

Pokémon Gold and SilverPlatform: Game BoyReleased: 1999Units Sold: Approx. 23 million Wii Fit (w/ Balance Board)Platform: WiiReleased: May 2008Units sold: 2,434,000
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Pokémon Gold and SilverPlatform: Game BoyReleased: 1999Units Sold: Approx. 23 million Wii Fit (w/ Balance Board)Platform: WiiReleased: May 2008Units sold: 2,434,000

Compare current crude prices with where they were four years ago, when the Iraq war began, and you will see that worldwide oil prices have skyrocketed, CNBC's Sharon Epperson reported on "Morning Call."

NYMEX crude is up 110% since the beginning of the war, Epperson said.

Iraq has been unable to reach its crude production targets since the start of the war. This is due to damaged reservoirs, insufficient investment strategies, sabotage and corruption.

“It’s been a big disappointment certainly four years out," said FIMAT analyst John Kilduff. "We were expecting Iraq’s oil to be double if not triple what it represented back in 2003."

Oil analysts had expected production to increase because Iraq would have access to Western oil-service technology. According to Kilduff, Saddam Hussein was holding Iraq's oil infrastructure together "with hairpins and bubblegum."

Iraq is home to the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, lagging behind only Saudi Arabia and Canada, making Iraqi oil important to global supply.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only about 10% of Iraq has been explored. Before the war, the country was producing 2.58 million barrels each day. But since then, production has plummeted, down 450,000 barrels to 2.13 million a day.

Iraq’s national hydrocarbon law will be crucial in determining the future of the country and in the security of global oil markets. The final draft is waiting to be approved by the Iraqi Parliament and if approved, the law would open Iraq’s oil reserves to outsiders for the first time since 1975, when the country first nationalized its oil industry.

This means that Iraq could begin inviting foreign oil companies to invest in their oil sector. Experts say Iraq’s oil production numbers could reach 2.6 million barrels a day once all pipelines are functioning and tankers are loading normally.