Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Iraq’s Oil Revenues Hit 13-Month High In February 2021


Iraq boosted its oil exports in February 2021 to coincide with a 14-month high in petroleum prices. That resulted in high revenues for the government which is desperate for cash after suffering through the latest collapse in the energy market. While this is short term good news, long term it means the country’s elite will ignore the urgent need for economic reforms once more.

 

In February 2021 Iraq exported an average of 2.96 million barrels a day of oil. That was up from 2.868 million barrels in January and the highest amount since May’s 3.212 million. That points to Baghdad once again flouting its OPEC+ production quota. Iraq continuously says it will follow the organization’s deal to help raise oil prices and promises to make deeper cuts in its output to make up for past lapses but never has.

 

The rise came at an opportune for the country. A barrel of Iraqi crude sold for $60.33, the highest amount since December 2019 when its oil went for $63.05. That earned the nation $5.26 billion up from $4.739 billion in January, and the most since $6.163 billion in January 2020. Iraq needs $5 billion dollars a month just to cover its public salaries and pensions. Iraq has been unable to do this for over a year now.

 

The increase in oil revenues will mean Iraq’s ruling class will be able to avoid carrying out much needed changes to the economy. The country has a bloated state due to the political parties constantly adding public jobs as part of their patronage networks to stay in power. This has grown to an unsustainable level. When the oil market collapses like what happened in early 2020 Iraq starts talking about reform. Then when prices go back up the elite expand the workforce once more. This is what’s going to happen again with oil prices hitting $60 per barrel once more.

 

Federal Oil Exports, Prices, Revenues 2019-2020

Month

Avg Export (Mil)

Avg Price

Earnings (Bil)

Jan 2019

3.649

$56.15

$6.367

Feb

3.621

$60.83

$6.179

Mar

3.377

$63.80

$6.709

Apr

3.466

$67.41

$7.021

May

3.572

$66.68

$7.329

Jun

3.52

$60.58

$6.372

Jul

3.566

$61.15

$6.692

Aug

3.603

$57.41

$6.413

Sep

3.576

$59.14

$6.321

Oct

3.447

$57.15

$6.121

Nov

3.5

$59.82

$6.305

Dec

3.428

$63.05

$6.698

2019 Avgs

3.527

$61.09

$6.543

Jan 2020

3.306

$60.14

$6.163

Feb

3.391

$51.37

$5.053

Mar

3.391

$32.73

$2.962

Apr

3.438

$13.80

$1.51

May

3.212

$21.00

$2.136

Jun

2.816

$33.86

$2.871

Jul

2.763

$40.70

$3.492

Aug

2.597

$43.69

$3.492

Sep

2.613

$40.40

$3.173

Oct

2.876

$38.48

$3.457

Nov

2.709

$41.77

$3.404

Dec

2.846

$47.76

$4.235

2020 Avgs

2.996

$38.80

$3.493

Jan 2021

2.868

$53.29

$4.739

Feb

2.96

$60.33

$5.26

 

SOURCES

 

Al Mirbad, “More than $5 billion, Iraq’s oil revenues for February,” 3/1/21

 

Santo, Daniel, “Iraq’s Economy Nears Collapse,” Watch Jerusalem, 1/16/21

 

Xinhua, “Iraq’s crude oil exports exceed 82 mln barrls in February,” 3/1/21

 

No comments:

Security In Iraq Apr 1-7, 2021

The first week of April was a first. That was because there were more attacks by pro-Iran groups in Iraq than by the Islamic State. There we...