Iraq oil exports hit highest levels since 2003
Baghdad, March 1, 2011
Iraq exported an average of 2.202 million barrels per day in February, up from 2.16 million bpd in January, a senior oil official said on Tuesday, and the highest export levels since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Falah Alamri, head of the State Oil Marketing Organisation (Somo), said exports from the northern fields, which included crude from the country's Kurdish region, rose to 494,000 bpd. That figure also included 10,000 bpd taken through Jordan via trucks.
The bulk of Iraq's oil exports, averaging 1.708 million bpd, were shipped from the southern oil hub of Basra, Amri said. The average selling price was around $97 per barrel, he added.
Iraq's oil production was 2.7 million bpd in January, the first time it has reached that level in 20 years as investment increased and violence dropped. It sits on some of the world's largest crude reserves.
Iraqi Kurdistan resumed oil exports last month following a halt in 2009 due to a long-standing dispute with the central government in Baghdad over the legality of contracts it signed with foreign oil companies.
Exports from fields in the semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region reached 60,000-70,000 bpd last month.
Iraq has signed a series of deals with international oil companies in a bid to boost its production capacity to 12 million bpd in seven years, which could make it a close rival to global oil giant Saudi Arabia. However, most analysts say 6-7 million bpd is a more realistic target. – Reuters