BEIRUT

Regional

Iraq oil exports rebound but sales hit by attacks

(FILES) - A file picture taken on May 18, 2009 shows a workerat a wheel-tap at the Tawke oil field that is linked with the Jihan Turkish pipeline in Zakho, 400km north of Baghdad. With a budget languishing in parliament, crucial reforms on the back burner and a hamstrung private sector, prospects for Iraq's economy after this week's election hinge heavily on the oil factor. Iraq has some of the world's largest deposits of oil and gas and aims to boost energy production dramatically, but a slow-

BAGHDAD: Iraq's oil exports rebounded last month, government figures released Sunday showed, despite militant attacks that forced the authorities to stop pumping crude through northern pipelines bound for Turkey.

The country exported more than 75 million barrels of oil in April, an average of over 2.5 million barrels per day, bringing in overall revenue of more than $7.5 billion, a statement issued by the Oil Ministry said.

All of those sales were made via export terminals in southern Iraq leading to the Gulf, the ministry said, because militant attacks forced the suspension of exports via northern pipelines to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Despite the northern unrest, however, average daily exports rebounded from March, when Iraq's exports averaged 2.4 million bpd.

Iraq is heavily dependent on oil sales, which account for more than 90 percent of government revenue and more than two-thirds of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Efforts to diversify the country's economy in recent years have stalled, and Baghdad has sought to dramatically ramp up oil exports in a bid to rebuild the country's infrastructure, which has been badly damaged by decades of conflict and sanctions.

Exports hit 2.8 million barrels per day in February, the highest figure in decades, with production above 3.5 million bpd.

Despite the steady expansion of oil exports, however, many Iraqis complain that much of the windfall is lost to state corruption and that the proceeds have not markedly improved daily life.

 

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