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Iraq December Crude Exports, Revenue Rise to 4-Month High

Iraq, which is seeking to boost crude exports to rebuild its economy, said oil shipments climbed 3.7 percent in December to 66.5 million barrels, generating the highest revenue in four months, $7.06 billion.

Daily crude exports in December averaged 2.15 million barrels, Asim Jihad, a spokesman for the Oil Ministry in Baghdad, said today in an e-mailed statement. Iraq exported 64.1 million barrels of crude in November, yielding $6.83 billion, according to the State Oil Marketing Organization’s website.

Iraq, the third-largest producer among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, plans to boost output capacity this year to 3.4 million barrels a day and export capacity to 2.6 million barrels, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said on Jan. 18. Exports will benefit from four new offshore loading facilities in the Persian Gulf that will go into service by 2013. Each can handle 850,000 barrels a day, he said.

The first mooring unit will start pumping oil for tankers in the Persian Gulf on Jan. 27, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

Revenue in December from the southern oil center of Basra rose to $5.72 billion on 53.7 million barrels in exports, Jihad said. Sales from the northern hub of Kirkuk were $1.34 million on shipments of 12.8 million barrels, he said. The average price of oil was $106.18 a barrel in December, Jihad said.

Petronas, Japex

Iraq has granted 15 oil and gas licenses since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The Oil Ministry plans a new round of licenses for oil and natural-gas exploration on April 11-12.

The country holds the world’s fifth-largest crude deposits, according to BP Plc data. Production is rising after stagnating for years due to wars, economic sanctions and a lack of investment.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. will start producing crude from the Gharraf oil field in southern Iraq by September, said Sattar Mahdi, head of field development. Gharraf will initially produce about 35,000 barrels a day and will gradually increase capacity to 230,000 barrels a day by 2017, he said.

Nayla Razzouk in Dubai at

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