Iraq's July oil exports highest since 2003

BAGHDAD, Aug 23, 2009 (AFP) - Iraqi oil exports in July reached their highest level since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said on Sunday.

Exports rose to 63.1 million barrels last month from 57.7 million in June, he told AFP.

Revenues from oil in July reached 4.66 billion dollars at an average price of 64.42 dollars a barrel, Jihad said. The Iraqi government's 2009 budget is based on a projected oil price of 50 dollars a barrel.

At the time of the invasion, Iraq's oil exports were running at two million barrels a day, or around 60 million to 62 million barrels a month. Afterwards they slumped as low as 1.3 to 1.4 million barrels a day as the country was torn by deadly unrest.

The lion's share of last month's exports, around 46 million barrels, was shipped from Basra port, earning 2.99 billion dollars. Around 16.9 million barrels, worth 1.67 billion dollars, flowed through the pipeline linking the disputed northern city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean, the spokesman said.

The government aims to double oil exports in the next five years.

Oil represents 87 percent of state revenues.

Source: AFP

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