Iraq earned $2 bn annually from illegal oil sales

21 May 2003
The government of President Saddam Hussein earned $1,000 million annually from oil sales to Syria and $2,000 million a year in total for sales of oil outside the oil-for-food programme, Reuters quoted an unidentified oil industry executive in Baghdad as saying on 20 May. 'Some of the money went to the presidential account to build palaces and buy luxury cars for Saddam's cronies,' he said. 'But the remainder was used for medicine, spare parts and equipment.'

Iraq supplied 280,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil to Syria and Turkey until the start of hostilities in March. Reuters reported the official as saying 70 per cent of the payments were in cash, realising about $600 million, and the rest in goods. Syria received 180,000 b/d via a pipeline in a deal with Iraq agreed in 2001. The oil was sold at a discount of $7 a barrel on the declared price at the Ceyhan export terminal.

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