Saturday, December 15, 2007

Good News from Iraq

As the BBC reports:
Iraqi oil production is above the levels seen before the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA said Iraqi crude production is now running at 2.3 million barrels per day, compared with 1.9 million barrels at the start of this year.

It puts the rise down to the improving security situation in Iraq, especially in the north of the country. . .

In its latest monthly Oil Market Report, the IEA puts the Iraqi increase in production down to improved security on the main oil pipeline from Iraq's northern oilfields to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey.

In recent years this pipeline has been out of action for long periods due to sabotage attacks.

Since the summer there has been a marked downturn in all forms of violence in Iraq.

Analysts point to a number of reasons for this, ranging from the big increase or "surge" in American troop numbers in Baghdad, to Sunni militant groups turning against former al-Qaeda allies.

British forces are due to hand control of security in Basra province to Iraqi forces on Sunday.

The security improvements in Iraq are leading to all sorts of dividends in the country, some of which could be enormously lucrative, said BBC correspondent Crispin Thorold in Baghdad. . .

Iraq has the third-largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Iran, but exports plummeted in the face of the insurgency that flared up following the US-led invasion.
Just in time, says the Wall Street Journal:
Amid today's tight crude markets, hundreds of thousands of extra barrels of oil have helped ease the strain. They are coming from a surprising source: Iraq.

In recent months, Iraqi oil output has climbed slowly back to levels seen before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, thanks in large part to increased production from the north.
(via Instapundit, Jules Crittenden)

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