Iraq oil exports dip on weather, sabotage

Published June 23, 2013

| AFP

Iraq's oil exports fell in May as poor weather hits its southern ports and saboteurs blew up a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, the oil ministry said on Sunday.

Iraq exported 76.9 million barrels of oil, equivalent to an average rate of 2.48 million barrels per day (bpd), representing a five percent decline from daily export levels in April.

Average oil prices were $97.23 (74.10 euros) per barrel, meaning the country took in $7.477 billion from crude sales in May.

"There was a small reduction in exports during the month because of bad weather in the southern ports, and sabotage to the pipeline between Kirkuk and Ceyhan in Turkey," ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said in a statement.

Militants have repeatedly targeted the export pipeline which runs through northern Iraq, sometimes killing members of the oil police and the facilities protection service.

At least two attacks hit the pipeline in May.

Iraq is dependent on oil exports for the lion's share of its government income, and is seeking to dramatically ramp up its sales in the coming years to fund reconstruction of its battered infrastructure.

Officials are aiming to increase production capacity to nine million bpd by 2017. Oil output currently stands at 3.4 million bpd.

Earlier this month, Iraqi officials unveiled an ambitious energy strategy that aims to raise $6 trillion from oil and gas sales by 2030.

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