What Natural Resources Are Present in Iraq?

natural-resources-present-iraq Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Iraq’s primary natural resource is petroleum, but the country also has an abundance of natural gas, phosphates and sulfur. As of 2014, Iraqi officials report that the country’s petroleum reserves represent 115 billion barrels, but some analysts suspect that an additional 200 billion barrels of oil await discovery. Iraq has the second most abundant petroleum reserves in the world, trailing only Saudi Arabia.

A small number of oil fields are located in central and eastern Iraq, but the majority of the country’s reserves are in the northern and southern ends of the nation. The northern oil-rich region is called Kirkuk, while the southern oil fields make up the region known as Rumaylah. As of 2014, the total value of Iraq’s petroleum exports is approximately 89.4 billion dollars.

Aside from petroleum, most of Iraq’s economy is based around agriculture. Nevertheless, only about 12 percent of Iraq’s land area is used for farming, as of 2014. Farmers use irrigation systems to keep their crops watered in the dry desert-like climate of the country. Some areas, especially those between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, have richer soils and are very important agricultural regions. Iraq’s primary agricultural products are wheat, rice and barley. Additionally, Iraq produces a significant portion of the world’s dates.