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The Associated Press October 4, 2010, 4:07AM ET

Iraq raises oil reserve estimate 24 pct

Iraq oil minister has raises the estimate of the country's proven oil reserves to 143.1 billion barrels, an increase of almost 25 percent.

The increase announced Monday by Hussain al-Shahristani means Iraq is now home to the world's second largest proven reserves of conventional crude oil. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia holds the top spot, with about 264.6 billion barrels of crude, according to the latest edition of the BP Statistical Energy Review.

For decades, Iraq's proven reserves of crude oil had stood at 115 billion barrels, with new assessments of its oil base not carried out because of sanctions, wars and the general neglect of the country's vital oil sector.

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