Iraq Crude Oil Output Rises to Highest Level Since 2003 War

Iraq’s oil production rose to 2.81 million barrels a day, the highest level since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003, the Oil Ministry said today.

Output at fields in the oil hub of Basra in the south reached 2.113 million barrels a day, while daily production in the northern region of Kirkuk stood at 697,000 barrels, the ministry said in a statement. Production has increased due to the licensing of oilfields since 2003, it said.

Iraq was producing 2.75 million barrels a day of crude in July for the first time since 2003 and exporting 2.2 million barrels a day, Thamir Ghadhban, chairman of the advisory commission to the country’s prime minister, said July 13. Crude output will rise to 3.3 million barrels a day and exports to 7 million barrels next year, Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said July 14.

Iraq, home to the world’s fifth-biggest oil reserves, is trying to boost energy exports, the main source of revenue to help rebuild an economy shattered by years of conflict, economic sanctions and sabotage. The country has signed 15 gas and oil licenses since the 2003 invasion of Iraq that ousted the regime of President Saddam Hussein.

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