GAO: Iraq has third highest oil reserves

Aug. 5, 2008 at 2:22 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A U.S. government report finds Iraq has the third largest oil reserve in the world and generated $96 billion in oil revenue from 2005-07.

The Government Accountability Office said Iraq has an estimated 115 billion barrels in crude oil reserves and exports account for 90 percent of the government's revenues, totaling $90.2 billion. Projected revenues for 2008 could double that, the GAO said..

From 2005-07, Baghdad spent an estimated $67 billion on operating and investment activities, with only 1 percent of the total going to maintain Iraq-U.S.-funded investments.

"As of December 31, 2007, the Iraqi government had accumulated financial deposits of $29.4 billion, held in the Development Fund for Iraq and central government deposits at the Central Bank of Iraq and Iraq's commercial banks," the GAO reported. "This balance is the result, in part, of an estimated cumulative budget surplus of about $29 billion from 2005 to 2007. For 2008, GAO estimates a budget surplus of between $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion."

The report said since 2003, the United States has put up about $48 billion for stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, obligating about $42 billion of that amount by last June.

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