Monday, June 21, 2010

Iraq Crude Exports Rise in May, First Time in Three Months, Official Says

Iraq, holder of the world’s third- largest oil reserves, exported 9.7 percent more crude in May than in April, the first increase in three months, an oil ministry official said.

Daily shipments rose to about 1.89 million barrels a day, or 58.7 million barrels in total, Asim Jihad, a spokesman for the oil ministry, said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with April shipments of 1.77 million barrels a day, or 53 million for the month, according to the ministry’s Web site.

Dependent on oil for most government revenue, Iraq is seeking foreign investors to boost output after seven years of conflict and prior sanctions destroyed its infrastructure. The nation awarded 10 contracts to international companies in two oil licensing rounds last year, and announced a third bidding this year.

Revenue from oil exports in May rose to $4.34 billion as Iraq sold crude at an average price of $73.85 a barrel, Jihad said. April income stood at $4.2 billion at an average $79.66 a barrel, he said last month.

Most of the exports were through the southern port of Basrah, totaling about 45.1 million barrels, bringing in $3.35 billion, Jihad said. About 13.6 million barrels were exported from Kirkuk in the north, providing $988 million, he said.

The decline in crude exports in the three previous months was mainly due to bad weather and attacks on infrastructure by insurgents, Oil Minister Hussain Al-Shahristani said May 17.

Total Iraqi production is about 2.4 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude oil export revenue accounted for 86 percent of government revenue in 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nayla Razzouk in Amman

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