By DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Iraq's crude oil exports increased 13% in July compared with June, the country's oil minister told state-run television late Sunday night.
Hussein al-Shahristani said Iraq exported 1.7 million barrels a day in July, an increase of 200,000 barrels a day over June.
The minister said the rate of Iraq's crude oil exports for the first six months of 2007 stood at 1.5 million barrels a day.
He said oil production from southern oil fields in July increased to more than 2 million barrels a day from less than 1.9 million barrels a day in the first six months of this year.
Al-Shahristani attributed the increase in crude oil output and exports to the repair and drilling of oil wells in the southern oil fields. Also, Iraq managed to sell in July some 3 million barrels of the northern Kirkuk crude oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean. Kirkuk's July sales were the first in five months.
Persistent acts of sabotage to pipelines and oil facilities in northern Iraq, has kept Kirkuk exports shut down for most of the time since the U.S.-led invasion. Before the U.S.-led war Iraq used to sell some 800,000 barrels a day from Kirkuk oil fields.
Northern oil fields currently produce only around 200,000 barrels a day, which are fed to a nearby refinery and power stations.
Iraq's July Oil Exports Up 13% At 1.7 Million B/D - Oil Min - Source
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