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Iraqi oil exports up but earning less

Iraqi oil exports increased last month to 1.76 million barrels per day as the price for oil continued to fall, according to data from the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

Oil exported from the southern terminals in the Persian Gulf shouldered the output boost, from 1.38 million bpd in October to 1.45 million bpd in November. Iraq's southern exports were 1.32 million bpd in September.

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Exports in the north, however, continue to falter, dropping to 310,000 bpd last month from the 319,000 in October and 320,000 in September.

The uptick in exports is needed more than ever. Iraq's oil fetched an average $43.54 per barrel in November -- a 26-percent drop since October and a long way from June's $122 per barrel price tag. Despite increasing output month-on-month, Iraqi oil sales were $2.29 billion in November and $3.11 billion in October.

Iraq's budget has received three revisions as record income this year turned to expected deficits next year. Nearly all of Iraq's income is from oil sales, forcing its budget onto the volatile track on which global oil prices are currently.

According to the State Department's Dec. 10 Iraq Weekly Status Report, the most recent report published, Iraq earned $60.6 billion in oil revenue so far this year.

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Ben Lando, UPI Energy Editor

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