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Iraq raked in more than $115 billion in oil revenues last year, according to figures released by the country’s oil ministry this week.
That figure stems from crude oil exports of 1.209 billion barrels last year, or an average of 3.320 million barrels per day.
The figures were released a day after Iraq’s National Security Agency said that investigations into crude oil and oil products smuggling to the tune of roughly 470,000 barrels per month are ongoing, with 49 standing accused, including officers, associates, traders, and smugglers.
Iraq said last October that it had dismantled the largest oil smuggling network in Basra Governorate. At the time, Prime Minister Mohammed Shiyaa Al-Sudani vowed to “track down oil smuggling networks and implement arrest warrants against gangs that dared to steal the rights of Iraqis.”
The smugglers stole and smuggled the oil by making holes in crude oil export lines in the Zubair oilfield. Some of the accused are senior officers from the Energy Police Forces tasked with protecting the oil infrastructure.
But the smuggling didn’t stop Iraq’s oil revenues from reaching what was a four-year high after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices higher.
As OPEC’s second-largest crude oil producer, generating 4.5 million bpd in Q3, oil revenues account for nearly all of Baghdad’s income.
Iraq’s oil revenues fell in 2020 to just $42 billion, according to Al-Monitor, as Saudi Arabia and Russia’s oil price war collided with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, tanking crude oil prices. In 2021, Iraq’s oil revenues rebounded to $75.6 billion.
Iraq is home to the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves, holding 145 billion barrels, and is China’s third-largest source of crude oil, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.