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BAGHDAD, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Iraq's crude production has reached 2.95 million barrels per day and is expected to hit 3 million by the end of the year, Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi said on Sunday.
Exports have averaged 2.185 million bpd so far in November, said Falah Alamri, head of Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation.
"Iraq oil production now is 2.95 mln barrels per day despite the lower levels of exports from the northern Kurdish region (and is) expected to reach 3 million before the end of the year," Luaibi told reporters at a signing ceremony for a $17 billion gas deal with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi .
Kurdish exports faltered in late September after reaching 160,000 bpd in August. Kurdish officials blamed technical problems on the Kirkuk pipeline that carries crude produced in Iraq's northern fields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
Iraq's exports averaged 2.088 million bpd in October versus 2.101 million in September.
OPEC producer Iraq's official goal is to ramp up production capacity to 12 million bpd by 2017 as it rebuilds after years of war and economic sanctions. But most analysts see output capacity of 8 million bpd as a more realistic target for Iraq.