Iraq earns $60 billion from 2008 crude exports

LONDON Mon Jan 5, 2009 4:17pm GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Iraq earned about $60 billion from average crude oil sales of 1.85 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008, a top Iraqi oil official said on Monday.

Shipments rose by about 200,000 bpd on the previous year and revenues were up about $20 billion, according to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The revenue increase was helped by a surge in oil prices and an anticipated rise in exports at the start of this year should help offset the crash in the market from a record high above $147 hit in July.

"Our target is 2 million (bpd) in January. If the weather is good and the tankers arrive on time, then we will reach two million bpd," Falah Alamri, head of Iraq's State Oil Market Orgnanisation, told Reuters.

Baghdad last managed to hit 2 million bpd in May, but has struggled to sustain that rate.

Iraq relies on oil exports for about 95 percent of its revenue and officials are worried that a $100 collapse in oil prices from a summer peak could slow the country's recovery.

The government has already cut its 2009 budget to $67 billion from a previous projection of $80 billion.

Iraq holds the world's third-largest oil reserves and needs billions of dollars of investment to overhaul infrastructure and boost oil and gas output after years of sanctions and war.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny)

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