Iraq earned a total of $7.12bn in January from crude oil exports, up 2 per cent on oil receipts at the end of 2011, boosted by rising crude prices, despite a dip in export figures.

The country’s January oil exports dropped by almost 3 per cent in the first month of the year, averaging 2.11 million barrels a day (b/d) in January, compared to the 2.17 million b/d in 2011, according to the latest figures released by the Oil Ministry.

Crude oil exports from the south of Iraq to the Gulf totalled 53.1 million barrels, at 1.71 million b/d. This is marginally down by 1.1 per cent on the 1.73 million b/d exported in December. However, revenues from southern exports to the Gulf increased to $5.81bn, up 1.6 per cent.

Exports through the northern oil export pipeline declined by 2.2 per cent to 12.2 million barrels from 12.8 million barrels in December.

With exports volumes only dipping marginally, both figures have been buoyed by the increased in global crude prices, which averaged $109.1 a barrel in January, compared to $106.8 a barrel in December.

Iraq opened the first single-point mooring station (SPM) at the Basra Oil Terminal 12 February, meaning export figures for February could see a significant increase. The new floating terminal has a capacity of 850,000 b/d and will ease the bottleneck for exports. It is the first of a three-phase expansion plan, which will eventually increase export capacity into the Gulf to 4.5 million b/d.