Friday, January 22, 2010

Iraq’s Oil Output Down In 2009 Compared To 2008

In 2009 Iraq finished with averages of 2.02 million barrels a day in production, and 1.59 million barrels a day in exports. For December it produced 2.40 million barrels a day, while exporting 1.91 million barrels a day. Overall, both production and exports averages for 2009 were down from the previous year when Iraq pumped 2.41 million barrels a day and exported 1.84 million barrels. In fact, 2009 broke a four-year trend of yearly increases in production and exports that began in 2005.

This was a disappointing finish for a number of reasons. First, the Oil Ministry set a goal of 2.50 million barrels a day in production, which was only achieved in September and October 2009. Second, the Iraqi budget called for 2.00 million barrels a day in exports, which only happened one month, July. This is especially important because the government relies upon petroleum for almost all of its revenue, and is currently running a $16 billion deficit. Third, one of the major reasons for the inconsistent oil exports were three attacks upon the northern pipeline that goes to Turkey. The line was damaged in September, October, and December, each time leading to it being shut down for a number of weeks. This happened despite greatly enhanced security measures that have led to a dramatic reduction in the number of incidents involving the country’s oil industry. Even with the overall decline in attacks however, the oil industry has not significantly improved its production. Finally it shows the continued problems Iraq faces with poor infrastructure, lack of capacity amongst its bureaucracy, and corruption that has plagued the country for years. Iraq is hoping that the new round of oil deals it signed in 2009 will finally bring in the foreign investment and know how it needs to alleviate these issues, but there are still big questions about whether this is achievable. Until then Iraq’s economy will rely almost completely upon oil, while suffering inconsistent production and exports.

Iraq Yearly Oil Production/Export Averages (Millions of Barrels Per Day)
2003 1.44 mbd/0.795 mbd
2004 2.25 mbd/1.47 mbd
2005 2.07 mbd/1.36 mbd
2006 2.11 mbd/1.50 mbd
2007 2.11 mbd/1.66 mbd
2008 2.41 mbd/1.84 mbd
2009 2.02 mbd/1.59 mbd


Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, “Iraq Status Report,” U.S. Department of State, 1/13/10

Hafidh, Hassan, “Iraq Dec Oil Exports Up 4% On Month At 1.977 Million B/D,” Dow Jones, 1/4/10

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/09

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