Iraq earns additional $169 million under UN 'oil-for-food' programme

Iraq earns additional $169 million under UN 'oil-for-food' programme

Baghdad has exported 6.9 million barrels of petroleum over the past week, ending a month-long, self-imposed suspension of its crude sales, according to the United Nations office overseeing the humanitarian oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

Earning an average of approximately €26.85 (euros) or $24.45 per barrel, the week's exports netted an estimated €185 million or $169 million in revenue under the oil-for-food scheme, which allows Baghdad to use a portion of its petroleum profits to purchase relief aid, the Office of the Iraq Programme reported today.

Despite the recent sales, the programme continues to face a funding shortfall, with 763 approved humanitarian supply contracts worth over $1.9 billion still awaiting funding, the Office said.

Meanwhile the value of contracts still pending approval - those on "hold" - now stands at $5.2 billion. Under a recently adopted Security Council resolution extending the oil-for-food programme, new procedures were put in place to simplify the delivery of humanitarian aid to Iraq which should clear the holds, the Office said.

Under the new system, applications would be divided into two categories, the first comprising contracts that contain "dual use" items - namely those that could have either civilian or military applications - as determined by UN experts. Those contracts will be returned to their sponsors for possible re-submission under the new procedures. The second category would include all other contracts currently on hold, which will be re-circulated by the Office under the new procedures. Once these steps have been taken, the Office predicts that "there will no longer be contracts on hold."