Iraqi oil exports surge to 23-week high
Iraq's oil exports surged to 2.29 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week ending April 6, their highest level since late October, the office of the UN oil-for-food program said Wednesday, April 11.
"The sale of 16 million barrels of oil generated an estimated €356 million ($320 million) in revenue," the UN office said. "The average price of Iraqi crude during the week was approximately $19.89 or €22.24 a barrel."
It said there were five loadings at Iraq's Gulf port of Mina Al-Bakr and four at Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the two outlets authorized under United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq in August 1990.
Iraq, whose average output in 1999 and 2000 was around 2.5 million bpd, saw exports slump from early December because of a dispute with the Security Council's sanctions committee over pricing.
The Middle East Economic Survey, MEES , reported Monday that Iraq had found more than 100 companies — many virtually unknown to the oil industry — which were prepared to do deals openly but without any evidence they were paying the 25-30 cent surcharge outside UN accounts.
Iraq has made continuous changes to price formulae to take into account the surcharge and premiums to middlemen while keeping prices competitive with other crudes, MEES said.
Last week's sales brought the total volume exported in the current 180-day phase of the oil-for-food program to 163.4 million barrels for revenue estimated at €3.5 billion. The phase, the ninth since the program was set up in December 1996, runs until June 3.
Seven new oil purchase contracts for a total of seven million barrels were approved last week by the UN oil overseers and the sanctions committee, the office said.
A total of 72 percent of Iraq's oil revenues is available for imports of food, medicine and other necessities under the program, set up to alleviate the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people.
The value of contracts placed on hold by the sanctions committee dipped to $3.43 billion, the office said. Of the total now blocked, 1,127 contracts worth $2.99 billion were for humanitarian supplies and 549 contracts worth $438 million were for oil industry spare parts and equipment. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)