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Rockets Fired Near Iraq’s Southern Oil District

Several rockets were fired and landed on Monday near a residential district in southern Iraq, where many foreign oil firms have their headquarters and where oil workers live, without causing damage or injuring people, sources with the police and oil firms told Reuters.

The oil district near Iraq’s major city of Basra was largely empty because many foreign oil companies had evacuated their personnel due to the coronavirus pandemic. An employee at Halliburton in the area told Reuters that the rockets landed far from the site.

Rocket fire is not uncommon in Iraq, where the U.S. embassy in Baghdad has been targeted a few times this year, by what the U.S. attributed to Iran-backed paramilitary factions.

The rocket fire of three Katyusha rockets on Monday did not disrupt oil production or exports from Basra, Iraq’s key outlet of oil in the south, officials with Iraqi state firm Basra Oil Co told Reuters.

The rockets may not affect Iraq’s oil exports, but the crash in oil prices has significantly cut Iraq’s main government revenue source—oil income.

Iraq saw its oil revenues cut nearly in half in March when oil prices collapsed, even though OPEC’s second-largest producer exported more barrels of crude last month than it did in February.

According to data from Iraq’s oil ministry, cited by AFP - Agence France Presse, Iraq’s crude oil sales amounted to 105 million barrels in March. For these barrels, Iraq earned a revenue of US$2.99 billion. To compare, Iraq’s February sales of 98.3 million barrels of crude oil earned OPEC’s producer almost twice that, at US$5.5 billion.

Last month, Iraq, one of the oil producers worst hit by the oil price crash, was said to be proposing that all foreign oil firms operating in the country cut their budgets by 30 percent on the condition that crude production levels do not suffer.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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