WRAPUP 1-Iraq expects highest monthly oil exports since '03
Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:54pm
* Finance minister wants supplementary $3 billion budget
* Mobile phone companies pay back $2 bln in license fees
* Minister says Kurds must pay oil companies themselves
By Waleed Ibrahim
BAGHDAD, July 14 (Reuters) - Iraq's oil exports have reached an average 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in July so far, the finance minister said on Tuesday, putting them on track for the biggest month since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Higher revenue from oil plus about $2 billion in fees from mobile phone companies will give the country a supplementary budget of up to $3 billion, Finance Minister Bayan Jabor told journalists in Baghdad.
"Now we are exporting 2.1 million bpd average and sometimes 2.15 million bpd," Jabor said. "This is delightful and encouraging."
Jabor said mobile phone companies had paid the Iraqi government $2 billion recently in punitive early license fees.
Iraq's three mobile networks -- Korek, Asiacell and Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (ZAIN.KW) (Zain) -- were fined $18.6 million for poor service in May.
Jabor said that earlier, the government had forced the companies to repay their licence fees of $1.25 billion each, originally set to be received in three installments. The bulk of that will be included in the supplementary budget.
"Therefore, the supplementary budget will be in the region of $2.8 billion up to $3 billion," Jabor said. "But I don't know what the cabinet will decide. It may increase it or reduce it."
War-ravaged Iraq had to chop its 2009 spending plans three times after global oil prices plunged from a peak last summer of more than $147 per barrel and the country's lacklustre production levels failed to improve.
The final $58.6 billion version, was dependent on average oil income of $50 per barrel and exports of 2 million bpd.
Almost all of Iraq's government revenue comes from oil.
Since the inasion, Iraq's export rate had only broken above the 2 million bpd mark last May, when it hit 2.01 million bpd. Since then, lower global demand and technical problems at the country's southern oil fields in Basra have kept crude exports fluctuating between 1.7 million bpd and 1.925 million bpd, which they reached last month.
PRESSURE TO BOOST OIL Continued...http://www.reuters.com/article/economicNews/idUSLE14294020090714