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Iraq oil exports hit 59m barrels

BAGHDAD: Iraq boosted its crude oil exports by 3.3 million barrels last month over the previous month, bringing in nearly $15.5 billion, Oil Ministry figures showed yesterday.

The country's total crude oil exports stood at 59.4m barrels for last month and grossed $5.644bn, with an average price $95.02 for per barrel, the ministry said.

February's exports hit 56.1m barrels and yielded in $5.037bn. January's amounted to 59.6m and brought in $4.813bn.

There is still a wide difference in exports between the southern port of Basra and the northern city of Kirkuk, despite fighting in the south last month which included attacks on the southern export pipeline.

Ministry figures showed a total of 49.5m barrels were sent abroad through Basra while other 9.9m barrels were exported from the Kirkuk oil fields to Turkey's Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean Sea.

On Wednesday, the special US auditor for Iraq released new data on Iraq oil revenues which show that the government could reap as much as $70bn this year, thanks to the soaring oil prices in international markets.

The new information is likely to strengthen the hand of US lawmakers complaining that Iraqis are not footing enough of the bill for rebuilding their nation - particularly in light of rising oil production and world prices.

Iraq sits on the world's third-largest oil reserves, totaling more than 115bn barrels. But the industry is plagued by a lack of modern equipment and training after decades of UN sanctions, war and Saddam Hussein's ruinous rule.

The war-torn country is planning to increase its oil output to 3m barrels a day by the end of this year by employing foreign companies' expertise and is also targeting production of 4.5m barrels a day by end of 2013.



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