Iraq eclipses 2010 oil income in eight months of 2011

AFP, Thursday 22 Sep 2011

Oil sales have brought in $55.7 billion in the year to date compared to $52.2 billion for the whole of 2010, data from the ministry reveals

Higher oil prices and rising exports in the first eight months of the year have meant Iraq has already eclipsed the total amount it earned from crude exports in 2010, figures published on Thursday showed.

The country, which depends almost entirely on oil sales for government income, generated US$55.733 billion (41.493 billion euros) in the first eight months of 2011, compared to $52.202 billion all of last year, according to an AFP tally of figures released by the oil ministry.

Exports and prices have both been higher in 2011 than last year, resulting in the marked rise in revenues.

Crude exports in 2011 averaged 2.19 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of August, compared to 2010 figures of 1.89 million bpd.

Average prices, meanwhile, have risen from around $90 per barrel in January to between $104 and $114 per barrel from March to August. By comparison, oil prices ranged from $71 per barrel to $86 per barrel in 2010.

Data published by the ministry on its website on Thursday showed Iraq exported 67.9 million barrels of oil in August, earning revenues of $7.124 billion. Oil prices averaged $104.92 for the month.

That compares to overall exports of 55.4 million barrels during the same month a year ago, earning income of $3.957 billion.

Iraq exported 67.2 million barrels in July this year, but average oil prices of $108.8 per barrel meant income was higher, at $7.311 billion.

The August export figure equated to average daily exports of 2.19 million barrels per day (bpd).

In February, Iraq approved a national budget that was based on oil prices of $76.50 per barrel and average exports of 2.2 million bpd. Partly as a result of higher oil prices, Iraq's cabinet has targeted a 36 per cent boost to public spending, in a budget proposal outlined this month.

Oil sales account for around 90 per cent of Iraq's government income.

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