Iraq holds the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world
Iraq's crude exports in March reached 2.317 million barrels per day, their highest level in more than three decades and should continue to rise © Essam -al-Sudani - AFP/File
Iraq holds the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world
Last updated: April 1, 2012

Iraq March oil exports highest since 1980

Iraq's crude exports in March were the highest monthly figure in more than two decades and should continue to rise, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said on Sunday.

Iraqi oil exports in March reached a level not seen since 1989, Jihad said by telephone.

An oil ministry statement said that Iraq exported a total of 71.827 million barrels of oil last month, equating to an average daily rate of 2.317 million barrels per day and generating $8.475 billion in revenues.

Average oil prices for the month were $118 per barrel, the statement said.

The March figures were dramatically higher than those released for February, when bad weather and pipeline sabotage pushed exports and revenues to their lowest levels in at least a year.

Iraq has vast untapped crude reserves and depends on oil sales for the majority of government income.

The country currently produces upwards of three million bpd, and Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi has said it plans to increase output and exports this year to 3.4 million bpd and 2.6 million bpd respectively.

Officials in Baghdad have said the country could have the ability to produce up to 12 million bpd by 2017, though the IMF has said this target is too ambitious.

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