Last updated: 2 June, 2012

Iraq’s oil income drops on lower prices

Iraq’s revenues from oil sales fell in May compared to the previous month as a result of declining global crude prices and increased domestic demand, the oil ministry said on Saturday.

Overall Iraqi oil exports averaged 2.45 million barrels per day (bpd), equating to 75.95 million barrels over the course of May, ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.

While the total figure for May was higher than the previous month, the daily average declined from April’s exports of 2.508 million bpd.

“Because of increased domestic requirements, the ministry of oil decided to send more oil to local refineries,” Jihad said.

Declining world oil prices also meant income from crude sales fell to around $8 billion for May, according to Jihad, compared to $8.8 billion in revenues in April, which was the highest such figure since 1989.

Iraq depends on oil sales for the vast majority of government income.

The latest figures come after Iraq on May 30-31 held its fourth energy auction since mid-2009, this time for acreage earmarked for oil and gas exploration, but the sale ended with disappointing results, as just three of 12 contracts on offer were awarded and eight received no bids whatsoever.

The country currently produces upwards of three million bpd, and Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi has said it plans to increase output and exports this year to 3.4 million bpd and 2.6 million bpd respectively.