BASRA, Iraq, May 25 (UPI) -- The international community is committed to propping up the Iraqi oil sector for the benefit of its people, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq said in Basra.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill led a delegation of British, Dutch, Japanese and Italian diplomats on a tour of oil facilities in the oil-rich south of Iraq.
"The oil here belongs to the Iraqi people and the international community is doing its part to help ensure that every Iraqi citizen benefits from its vast potential," the ambassador said.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said the United States and its international partners in Iraq were looking to use the expertise of giants in the oil industry to generate growth in the Iraqi oil sector.
Iraq launched a series of international oil auctions meant to revitalize the national oil sector. Oil officials emerged from December oil auctions saying they could rival Saudi Arabia in terms of oil production.
Overall Iraqi crude exports in April were 1.7 million barrels per day, down from 1.84 million barrels per day in March. The decline was attributed to sabotage and inclement weather.
The South Oil Co., an Iraqi state-owned oil company, said it was moving to increase export capacity from Basra ports from 1.8 million barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day during the next four years.