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Iraq oil exports slightly down in August

BAGHDAD, Sept 23 – Iraq\’s oil exports dipped slightly in August, but still topped 55 million barrels and brought in nearly four billion dollars in revenues, the oil ministry said on Thursday.

Crude exports, which account for the vast majority of Iraq\’s income, totalled 55.4 million barrels of oil last month, or 1.79 million barrels per day (bpd), and brought in 3.96 billion dollars, the ministry said.

The average oil price for the month was 71.43 dollars per barrel.

Around 44.9 million barrels were exported via the main southern port city of Basra, while the remaining 10.5 million barrels left via a pipeline connecting Iraq with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

August\’s export figures were slightly below those of July, when 56.3 million barrels were exported, bringing in 4.01 billion dollars.

But they represent a sharper decline since August last year, when Iraq shipped 62.3 million barrels of crude and earned 4.24 billion dollars in revenues, according to the Baghdad-based State Oil Marketing Organisation.

Iraq is seeking to build up its energy export infrastructure as it targets a five-fold rise in oil production in the coming years, along with a dramatic increase in gas extraction, following two oilfield auctions last year and an upcoming gas field bid round next month.

Last year\’s auctions resulted in 10 new contracts being signed with foreign energy firms to extract Iraq\’s oil, which it hopes will increase its daily production from 2.4 million bpd to upwards of 10 million bpd.

Earlier this month, it signed a deal with Turkey to extend its use of the Ceyhan pipeline for a further 15 years, and also reached an agreement with Syria to build two pipelines connecting Iraq to Mediterranean sea ports.

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Iraq\’s proven oil reserves are the fourth highest in the world, behind Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran.

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