BAGHDAD — Revenues from oil sales account for 95 percent of Iraq's income, Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Tuesday, underlining the war-battered nation's reliance on crude to rebuild its economy.
Shahristani said Iraq raised 171 billion dollars from sales between 2006-2009, which accounted for all but five percent of the government's income during those years.
"Oil accounted for 95 percent of government revenue," he told reporters in Baghdad, following estimates of about 85 percent.
Shahristani said 30 billion dollars was raised from oil in 2006, 40 billion dollars in 2007, 60 billion dollars in 2008, and 41 billion dollars in 2009.
The decline in revenues in 2009 was likely attributed to a fall in global crude prices in the second half of the year.
Iraq produces about 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, of which it exports 1.85 million, according to Shahristani.
Last year, Iraq held two auctions of its oil fields for development, the first time foreign energy firms have had the opportunity to plant a foot firmly in the country since its energy sector was nationalised in 1972.
Some 10 deals were agreed at the auctions, and one more signed since will, if fully realised, ramp up Iraq's oil output five-fold to 12 million bpd, putting it on a par with the world's top producer Saudi Arabia.
At 115 billion barrels, Iraq has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves, behind only Saudi Arabia and Iran.
However, there has been little exploration or development of fields in the past three decades because of wars and a UN embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990 following now executed dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
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