Soaring output from the southern Basra region and sustained production in the Kurdish Kirkuk region boosted Iraq’s oil exports by 27% m/m to 92.4mn barrels in March, ending two straight months of contraction, SOMO official data showed.
Renewed oil output and exports is good news for the central government which is in dire need to generate much needed oil income to finance its surging budget spending.
Exports from the southern Basra region jumped 31% m/m to 84.1mn barrels in March while those from Kirkuk edged down to 8.3mn from 8.5mn in February. A mild recovery of oil prices on the international markets and higher output also lifted Iraq’s value-added oil proceeds by 32% m/m to $4.477bn in March. The average oil price per barrel grew to $48.5 a barrel in March from $46 a barrel a month earlier.
Growth in Iraq is projected to be 1.3% in 2015, reversing a 2.4% contraction in 2014, according to the IMF latest forecasts. Growth will be supported by increased oil production, but non-oil activity is likely to flatten amid difficult security conditions and fiscal spending cuts in response to lower oil prices.
Oil exports are projected to grow from 2.5mn bpd in 2014 to 3.1mn bpd this year, benefiting from the oil sharing agreement between the central government and the Kurdish autonomy in the north.
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