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Iraq Increases December Oil Exports by 1.9% From Month Earlier

Iraq, the holder of the world’s fifth-largest crude deposits, boosted oil exports 1.9 percent this month to an average 2.175 million barrels a day, said the director of the State Oil Marketing Organization.

The country may export at an average 2.6 million barrels a day next year, Falah Al-Amri said in an interview yesterday. Iraq exported 2.135 million barrels a day in November.

The government is seeking foreign investment to raise production and exports to promote economic growth. It has granted 15 oil and gas licenses since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted former President Saddam Hussein.

The country produced an average of 2.705 million barrels a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Output will rise to 3.4 million barrels of oil a day in 2012 and will exceed 4 million barrels a day in 2014, Al-Amri said at a conference in Baghdad yesterday.

State-run North Oil Co. is due to raise the crude output from Kirkuk oil fields, the country’s oldest, to 1 million barrels a day in five years from a current level of between 600,000 barrels a day and 700,000 barrels a day, Thamir Ghadhban, chairman of the advisory commission to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told reporters yesterday.

“We have plans to raise the production capacity of oil fields belonging to the North Oil Co., mainly the Najma and Qaiyarah fields by Angola’s Sonangol SA,” Ghadhban said. “The two fields will increase capacity by 500,000 barrels a day."

Angola’s state oil producer Sonangol won contracts last year to develop the two fields as part of the second energy licensing round held. The government plans another oil and gas licensing round in March.

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