Iraq's oil production dropped 190,000 barrels to 2.81 million barrels per day (bpd) in September due to sales problems, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday.
Crude exports under the UN oil-for-food programme accounted for 2.21 million bpd while domestic consumption and cross border trade with Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Iran was estimated at 600,000 bpd, the specialist newsletter said.
The survey said the production fall was mainly due to problems with sales of Kirkuk oil because of market difficulties. UN officials have said there was no indication that Iraq had deliberately reduced the level of its exports in September.
Some Iraqi crude is very similar in quality to oil exported from the Caucasus, they said, and small differences in the price could lead purchasers to buy large volumes from one or other source.
Iraq, which is battling to boost production and maximise revenue for the sanctions-hit state, produced three million bpd in August.
The United States voiced fears during September as oil prices rocketed that President Saddam Hussein could cause short-term disruptions in international energy markets by halting oil production for a limited time.
Iraq exports crude under the UN oil-for-food programme set up in December 1996 to enable Baghdad to import essential supplies to ease the impact of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
With the second largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, Baghdad has set a production target of six million bpd, but that requires massive investment to renovate decaying infrastructure and cannot happen until sanctions are lifted.– (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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