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Iraq relying on oil wealth from Basra

Oil exports from southern port down from July.

By Daniel J. Graeber

BASRA, Iraq, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Iraq is relying on Basra, the economic capital, to put the country on the road to recovery on the back of oil wealth, the oil minister said.

Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi visited oil and natural gas installations in southern Iraq, saying there'd be a rise in production levels that would benefit the people of Iraq. Describing Basra as the economic capital of the country, the minister said oil, the ports and all parts of the energy sector would lift Iraq as a nation.

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"These are not just promises," he said during Sunday's visit. "Our aim is to build Iraq."

Iraq last week said southern oil exports were 73.6 million barrels for August, down more than 2 percent from the previous month.

Oil ministry spokesman Assim Jihad said oil from the southern port city of Basra was sent to nearly three dozen international companies.

Kuwait Energy and Dragon Oil, two companies holding assets in Basra, announced the production of 2,000 barrels of oil per day during testing, describing the discovery as the "first significant success" in their Iraqi portfolio.

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