Iraq exported an average of 2.1 million barrels a day (b/d) in January, earning the country more than $6bn in revenues as oil prices surged over $90 a barrel for the month.

According to data from the Oil Ministry, about 67 million barrels of oil were exported in January, up 10.7 per cent on December. At $6.1bn, earnings from exports for the month rose 16.5 per cent on the back of higher oil prices.

The country’s parliament approved a budget of $82.6bn on 20 February, based on crude exports of 2.2 million b/d and average oil prices at $76.50 a barrel. Iraq earned more than $52bn in 2010 with crude oil exports averaging 1.90 million b/d and average oil prices of $75 a barrel.

Most of Iraq’s crude oil is exported through terminals at Basra and Khor Alamya in the Gulf. The southern region shipped 54 million barrels in January, an increase of almost 14 per cent since the end of 2010.

Exports from the north via the Kirkuk pipeline to Turkey, meanwhile, amounted to 13 million barrels, down 0.8 per cent on December. February figures for the pipeline should show an increase with the addition of as much as 50,000 b/d of oil from the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, following the resumption of production from the Tawke oil field by Norway’s DNO (MEED 3:2:11).

Exports from the region were halted in October 2009. Assem Jihad, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry told journalists on 22 January, that an agreement had been reached on a payment mechanism for oil exports from the region, which would pave the way for exports from February.

The move has been seen as tacit recognition of the Kurdistan regional government’s oil development contracts with international oil companies, which Baghdad had previously called illegal.