By Hassan Hafidh
Published March 01, 2011
| Dow Jones Newswires
AMMAN -(Dow Jones)- Iraq’s oil exports rose to 2.202 million barrels a day in February, the highest rate reached since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the head of the state oil marketing company SOMO said Tuesday, and the country’s top oil officials said output should hit 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year.
Falah Alamri also said Iraq sold its crude oil at an average $97-$98 a barrel in February, compared with an average $90.78 a barrel in the previous month. That means Iraq would earn some $6 billion-$6.042 billion, he said. In January Iraq earned some $6.082 billion, the highest in a year.
Alamri said there was an increase in February’s oil movements from fields in northern Iraq due to the resumption of exports from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Some 494,000 barrels a day were exported from Kirkuk and Kurdish oil fields in February, compared with 419,000 barrels a day in January.
The Kurdistan region resumed oil exports in February after a one-and-a-half year suspension at just shy of 10,000 barrels a day and the flow is now between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels a day, Iraqi oil officials said. Kurdish officials had said they could lift output from their fields to up to 200,000 barrels a day by the end of this year.
Alamri said some 1.708 million barrels a day were exported in February from southern terminals in the Basra ports, compared with 1.742 million barrels a day in the previous month, with the slight fall attributed to a shorter month.
The total export increase has come in-line with swift work at the southern Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna Phase 1 fields, where some 300,000 barrels a day have been already been added. A further 200,000 barrels a day from southern oil fields are expected by the end of this year to bring Iraq’s total output to 3 million barrels a day, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaiby and Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani.
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