Iraqi oil exports surge under UN 'oil-for-food' programme

Iraqi oil exports surge under UN 'oil-for-food' programme

Iraqi oil exports surged last week under the United Nations oil-for-food programme, according to the Office running the effort, which allows Baghdad to use a portion of its petroleum revenue to purchase humanitarian relief.

The Office of the Iraq Programme today reported that Baghdad last week sold 18.6 million barrels - up from the previous week's total of 10.9 million. At an average price of approximately €17.70 (euros) or $15.65 per barrel, the week's exports raised an estimated €330 million or $290 million in revenue.

Since the programme's inception in December 1996, almost $16.2 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and $993 million worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment have been delivered to Iraq, according to the Office. Another $11.1 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and $1.6 billion worth of oil spare parts and equipment are in the production and delivery pipeline.

At the end of last week, the value of contracts placed on hold by the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions against Iraq stood at $4.2 billion. During the week, the committee released from hold seven contracts worth $1.7 million, while placing on hold 33 new contracts worth $71.3 million. Contracts are generally put on hold because they lack technical specifications or because the goods in question have the potential to be used for purposes other than those stated.