WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Iraq earned half as much money from oil sales through the first four months of 2008 than all of 2007, according to data from the U.S. State Department.
Through April 27, Iraq's increasing oil exports raised $20.9 billion, according to the State Department's latest Iraq Weekly Status Report. Iraq oil sales totaled $41 billion in 2007 and $31.3 billion in 2006.
This is due to both an increase in exports from the southern oil terminals and the northern oil pipeline, and an increase in the global price of oil, which is more than $111 per barrel; however, Iraqi exports fetch less than that market price.
It comes amid a bipartisan, bicameral call from the U.S. Congress to reduce American investment in Iraq infrastructure projects and criticism of Iraq's spending on capital projects. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction's new report says Iraq's government needs to improve its institutional capacity to allocate, plan and spend its capital budget, which the Bush administration said is the focus of much of this year's aid to Iraq.
The SIGIR report also notes that more Iraqi funds have been spent on reconstruction than U.S. funds. And where Iraq's capacity roadblock means more funds are kept in the bank, billions of dollars of Iraqi and U.S. funds spent by the United States in Iraq have been misspent or gone missing.
Increased investment in the southern infrastructure, where most of Iraq's oil production and exports come from, and a new security regime on the northern pipeline -- a frequent target of insurgents and smugglers -- have allowed Iraq to ramp up production beyond the fewer than 2 million barrels per day it averaged since 2003.
Production was at or near 2.4 million bpd average since January, keeping exports at more than 1.9 million bpd. The State Department has production decreasing to about 2.22 million bpd in April.
Ben Lando, UPI Energy Editor