Iraq’s crude oil exports rose to record highs in February, reaching a total of 78.4 million tonnes for the month, or approximately 2.8 million barrels a day (b/d). In 2013, Iraq’s exports averaged 2.39 million b/d.

Total exports rose by 13.5 per cent over shipments in January, as Iraq completed major expansion work at the Basra Oil Terminal in the Gulf.

A new central metering and manifold system has now been installed by Italy’s Saipem, allowing Iraq to load cargoes simultaneously from its two completed 900,000 b/d offshore single-point-moorings (SPMs). Previously, ships had to alternate on the SPMs.

This allowed more than 2.5 million b/d to be shipped from Iraq’s southern oil export terminals into the Gulf, earning $7.159bn, according to the latest statistics released by the Oil Ministry.

Another 293,000 b/d of crude passed through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean, up from only 190,000 b/d in January.

With oil prices averaging $102.054 a barrel for the month, the exports brought in just over $8bn in revenues. Iraq earned a total of $89.2bn from oil exports in 2013, and more than $94bn in 2012.

Crude oil producers’ group Opec estimates Iraq’s average oil production in February was 3.397 million b/d, the second highest among its 12 members, after Saudi Arabia with 9.6 million b/d.