Iraq’s oil revenues rose more than $52bn in 2010, with exports averaging 1.90 million barrels a day (b/d).

According to data from the Oil Ministry, some 60.5 million barrels of oil were exported in December, up 5.6 per cent on November. Earnings from exports for the month rose 13 per cent on the back of higher oil prices.

Total exports for the year was 694.8 million barrels. Oil prices for the year were largely stable, ranging between lows of $71.10 a barrel in June, to $86.31 in December as crude prices rose. Iraq’s crude oil sales averaged $75 a barrel for the year.

The majority of Iraq’s crude oil is exported through terminals at Basra and Khor Alamya in the Gulf. The southern region shipped some 47.4 million barrels in December and a total of 541.8 million barrels in 2010.

Another 153 million barrels has been exported from the north of Iraq via the Kirkuk pipeline, which runs to the port of Ceyhan in neighbouring Turkey. In December, the region exported 13.1 million barrels, up 16 per cent on November exports. The pipeline has been the subject of a repeated insurgent attacks this year, which have resulted in several shutdowns (MEED 27:7:10).

According to Baghdad, daily production in Iraq has risen to 2.7 million b/d since international oil companies began work on the southern oil fields. The government hopes to increase exports to 3.1 million b/d by 2014.

Exports from Kirkuk are expected to increase in February following an agreement between the Oil Ministry and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the addition of at least 100,000 b/d from oil fields in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

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 KRG’s oil development contracts with international oil companies, which Baghdad had previously called illegal.