Iraq’s exports last month rose to their highest since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion after shipments from the northern Kurdish region resumed, said Falah al-Amri, head of the country’s State Oil Marketing Organization.
Exports climbed 2 percent to 2.2 million barrels a day from 2.16 million barrels in January, al-Amri said in a telephone interview from Baghdad.
Daily shipments in February were 1.708 million barrels from the southern oil hub of Basra, 484,000 million from Kirkuk in the north and 10,000 barrels by tanker trucks to neighboring Jordan, he said.
Iraq, home to the world’s fifth-biggest crude reserves, needs foreign investment and expertise to help ramp up energy exports and pay to rebuild an economy and infrastructure stunted by years of conflict, economic sanctions and sabotage.
In January, Iraq’s revenue rose the most since 2003 to $6.08 billion, SOMO said last week. The country resumed exports of crude from its Kurdish region Feb. 3 after ending a dispute that had halted the shipments for more than a year.
Kurdish authorities angered officials in the central government by signing their own production agreements with foreign energy companies such as DNO International ASA (DNO) of Norway and Turkey’s Genel Enerji AS. The Oil Ministry refused to recognize the agreements, and exports of Kurdish oil that had begun in June 2009 ended a few months later amid a dispute over payments.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry expects output to rise to more than 3 million barrels a day by the end of this year, compared with 2.4 million barrels a day in December, and it is counting on exports from Kurdish fields to contribute to the increase.
The government has awarded 15 development contracts to international energy companies since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
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