Iraq oil income falls to lowest level on weather, sabotage
BAGHDAD - Iraq's oil exports and revenues from crude sales in February both fell to their lowest level in at least a year as a result of bad weather and sabotage of pipelines, officials said on Thursday.
Iraq exported 58.4 million barrels of crude in February, down from 65.3 million barrels a month earlier and the lowest such figure since November 2010, figures published by the oil ministry show.
The country raised $6.595 billion in oil sales last month, down from $7.123 billion in January. The monthly revenue was the lowest since February 2011.
Average oil prices were up in February to $112.928, against $109.081 the previous month.
"Bad weather in the south and sabotage against the oil pipeline between Kirkuk and Ceyhan are the reasons for the decrease in exports in February," oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.
Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi added that exports were set to increase in March, but "will still be lower than our ambitions, again because of the weather."
He pointed specifically to strong winds affecting the country's southern oil export platforms, through which most of its crude flows.
Oil sales account for the vast majority of the Iraqi government's income and around two-thirds of gross domestic product.
Iraq currently produces around three million barrels per day, and Luaybi has said the country plans on increasing production and exports this year to 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) and 2.6 million bpd respectively.