Iraq’s oil ministry says it exported $11billion of oil in March, the highest level for half a century, as crude prices soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Iraq’s record shipment of crude caught the attention of several Iranian pundits who drew attention on social media to Baghdad’s success, while Iran is still hampered by United States sanctions.

The ministry said on Friday that the country exported "100,563,999 barrels for revenues of $11.07 billion, the highest revenue since 1972". This makes Iraq’s daily shipments three times more than Iran’s clandestine exports.

The record oil export makes the country the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia.

In February, oil revenues reached an eight-year high of $8.5 billion, with daily exports of 3.3 million barrels of oil as crude prices jumped over fears of a major supply shortfall after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

President Ebrahim Raisi and his oil minister claim that Iran has increased oil output and exports to pre-2018 levels when former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and began imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

However, various estimates of Iran’s shipments in recent months have ranged between 750,000 to one million barrels a day, suggesting that once the sanctions are lifted Iran may be able to double its output.

Oil Minister Javad Owji said on March 21, "We will never reveal the destinations, markets and methods of selling oil”. He had earlier said that Iran plans to increase its daily oil production to 5.7 million bpd without providing any timeframe.

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