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oil_400BAGHDAD: Iraq's oil exports dropped slightly in January but its income from oil sales was up due to higher prices per barrel, oil ministry figures published on Monday showed.

Iraq exported 65.3 million barrels of crude in January, down from 66.5 million barrels the month before, according to the figures.

But Iraq's income from oil sales was $7.123 billion last month, up from $7.061 billion in December.

Average prices per barrel were up in January, at $109.081, versus an average of $106.18 in December.

Oil sales account for the vast majority of the Iraqi government's income and around two-thirds of gross domestic product.

Iraq currently produces about 2.9 million barrels per day, and exported an around 2.1 million bpd in 2011.

Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi has said Iraq plans on increasing production and exports this year to 3.4 million bpd and 2.6 million bpd, respectively.

Iraq last week began pumping oil to the first of five floating terminals in the Gulf in a move that will increase its export capacity by 850,000 bpd.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

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