Iraq may raise its proven oil reserves by 21 per cent after adding those from the semi- autonomous Kurdish region, Hussain Al Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy affairs, said yesterday. Iraq's oil reserves may increase to 173 billion barrels by adding 30 billion barrels of Kurdish oil, Al Shahristani said in a speech to ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. The country's crude production capacity will rise to 12 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2017, he said. Iraq, home to the world's fifth-biggest oil reserves, is struggling to boost energy exports, the main source of revenue, to help rebuild an economy shattered by years of conflict, economic sanctions and sabotage. The country has signed 15 gas and oil licences since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq that ousted the regime of President Saddam Hussain. Iraq will sign contracts before the end of the year to add 7,500 megawatts of electricity production cap-acity, he said.