Iraq earned more than $7.17bn from crude oil exports in March, with oil prices rising to an average of $107 a barrel on the back of ongoing unrest in the Middle East.

According to data released by the Oil Ministry, approximately 67 million barrels of oil were exported in March, up 8.6 per cent from the 61.6 million barrels exported in February. Iraq’s oil sales averaged $107.13 a barrel.

However, average daily exports dipped slightly to 2.16 million barrels a day (b/d) from 2.20 million b/d in February.

The majority of Iraq’s crude was shipped through terminals at Basra and Khor Alamya in the Gulf. Exports from the southern region amounted to 52.3 million barrels in March, with the daily average stable at 1.69 million b/d from February.

Exports from the north of the country through the pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan totalled 14.6 million barrels or approximately 470,000 b/d. This represents a 6 per cent dip on February exports, which averaged close to 500,000 b/d. 

The shortfall has largely been attributed to a bomb attack in the northern province of Nineveh on 8 March, forcing the 800,000 b/d pipeline to stop pumping for several days.

As part of its wider plans to boost export capacity, the Oil Ministry plans to rehabilitate the northern pipeline, raising capacity by 200,000 b/d to 1 million b/d by the end of the year (MEED 4:3:11).