Iraq achieved a new high in its oil exports in December 2017. This was more remarkable because those sales all came from the south. Kirkuk’s fields have been off line since October when the federal government took over the province from the Kurds. At the same time, prices have been slowly climbing upwards making the last month of 2017 the highest monthly revenue since 2014.
In December, Iraq exported an average of 3.535 million barrels a day. That was up from November’s 3.502 million barrels, and the highest mark ever for the country. The previous record was 3.51 million barrels set in December 2016. All this petroleum came from the southern fields, which have seen a steady increase in production over the last few years. The amount could have been even higher if Kirkuk had been included. Unfortunately, its fields have been off line since October 2017 when Baghdad asserted its authority over the governorate from the Kurds. Until that dispute is revolved its oil will not be exported in any significant amounts. Iraq is also supposed to be part of an OPEC production limit, but Baghdad has not been following its quota, and is one of the worst violators within the organization.
Iraq has benefited from a steady increase in international oil prices towards the end of the year. In December, Iraqi crude sold for an average of $59.28 per barrel, earning it $6.496 billion. For a number of reasons from the OPEC decision, to the Kirkuk crisis to others oil prices climbed in 2017. In March for instance, Iraqi oil was going for $47.18 per barrel, and then by November passed the $50 mark at $52.60. All together that meant Iraq earned the most money in December since August 2014 when it made $7.172 billion.
In total, Iraq’s 2017 revenue was $59.505 billion. Oil makes up roughly 90% of the country’s budget. That was a huge plus for Baghdad, which has been running a large deficit after oil prices collapsed in 2014 along with having the extra cost of fighting the Islamic State.
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