Iraqi Oil Exports Have 'Nosedived'

Iraq's oil exports are decreasing by nearly 100,000 barrels a day every month, said former Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahar al-Uloom.

Uloom said the drastic decline started last May and has slashed exports to 1.65 million barrels a day from about 2 million.

"Iraqi (oil) exports have nosedived 25 per cent since the beginning of 2008," Uloom said in an interview.

"This represents a big challenge to the government," he said.

He said he could not see how the government would be able to meet budgetary expenses for 2009.

"2009 budget has been based on the assumption of exporting two million barrels a day and an estimated price of not less than $80 for a barrel," he said.

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