Iraq’s April Crude Oil Exports Rose to Highest in Decades

Source: Bloomberg 5/1/2012, Location: Middle East

Iraq boosted crude oil exports in April to an average of 2.51 million barrels a day, the highest level “in decades,” the head of the State Oil Marketing Organization said. Crude exports rose 8.3 percent last month from 2.32 million barrels a day in March, Falah al-Amri said in a telephone interview in Baghdad. Oil sales in April generated $8.8 billion in revenue compared with $8.47 billion in the previous month, according to the SOMO website.

Iraq exported 2.12 million barrels a day by sea from the southern terminal of Basra and 387,000 million barrels a day from the northern oil hub of Kirkuk through a pipeline to Turkey, al-Amri said. It also sent 6,000 barrels a day by road into neighboring Jordan, he said.

The Middle Eastern nation holds the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, according to data from BP Plc that include Canadian oil sands. Iraq produced 2.89 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and expects to increase output to 3.4 million barrels a day by the end of the year.

The country depends on crude sales for money to rebuild the economy after decades of war and sanctions. It has awarded 15 energy-exploration licenses to foreign companies since the U.S.- led invasion of 2003 and plans to auction more drilling rights on May 30.

Al-Amri didn’t specify when Iraq last exported as much oil as it did last month other than to say it was “decades” ago. Asim Jihad, an Oil Ministry spokesman, said on April 1 that exports in March were at the highest since 1980, one year after former President Saddam Hussein came to power.

Exports gained in April even as the self-ruled Kurdish region of northern Iraq stopped pumping crude on April 1 through a pipeline controlled by the central government. The halt came amid a dispute over the sharing of revenue from oil pumped at Kurdish fields.


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