By John Lee.
Surprising skeptics, the International Energy Agency has announced that Iraq's oil exports have hit 3.6 million bpd, a record 30 year high, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Previously exports were falling due to export bottlenecks, bad weather and extensive work on infrastructure, while some northern areas such as Kirkuk were adversely affected by insecurity.
More recently, efforts to clear Iran-Iraq war era shipwrecks from the Shatt al Arab waterway caused some disruption, but experts are divided as to whether the recent rise represents Iraq meeting their export target of 3.4 million bpd for the year or whether February's achievement is a blip.
Notably, challenges involving pumping and storage capacity at the Fao peninsula and ongoing infrastructure improvements represent near term challenges to Iraq's export target for the year.
If these challenges are surpassable, Iraq's oil exports can be expected to rise considerably.