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27 March 2001  

Oil-for-Food Background Information


Update for the period
17 - 23 March 2001

The volume of Iraqi oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme remained relatively firm for the second consecutive week since the start of the current phase IX on 6 December 2000. In the week ending on 23 March, 16 million barrels of oil were lifted through 12 loadings, at an average of 2.28 million barrels a day. Of the total loadings, eight were at Ceyhan and four at Mina al-Bakr terminals. The week’s oil exports raised an estimated €347 million (euros) in revenue at current prices. The average price of Iraqi crude oil during the week was approximately $19.46 or €21.71 (euros) per barrel.

In phase IX Iraq has exported 134.7 million barrels of oil, so far, earning an estimated €2.9 billion (euros) in revenue. Since the beginning of the oil-for-food programme on 10 December 1996, Iraqi oil exports have totaled 2,341 million barrels for an estimated revenue of some $38.6 billion and €2.9 billion (euros).

During the week, the United Nations oil overseers, on behalf of the Security Council’s 661 sanctions Committee, approved four more oil purchase contracts, for four million barrels of Kirkuk crude and five million barrels of Basrah Light. There are now 133 approved contracts for the lifting of over 377 million barrels of oil, 225 million barrels of which are for Basrah Light and 152 million for Kirkuk.

661 Committee-approved prices for the purchase of Iraqi oil during the month of April are now in place. Iraq sells two types of crude oil - Kirkuk and Basrah Light to three markets, the United States, Europe and the Far East.

The total value of contracts placed on hold by the 661 Committee continued to increase in real terms, although it remained relatively constant at 17 per cent of the value of all contracts circulated to the Committee. There were 1,676 contracts worth over $3.39 billion on hold. Of these, 1,124 contracts worth about $2.96 billion were for humanitarian supplies, while 552 contracts worth $435 million were for oil industry spare parts and equipment.

During the week, 33 contracts worth $71.3 million were released from hold by the Committee, while another 33 new contracts worth $112 million were put on hold by the Committee for various reasons.

In phases IV to IX, the Committee has now approved 5,468 contracts worth over $11.5 billion for humanitarian supplies and another 2,410 contracts worth more than $1.3 billion for the purchase of oil industry spare parts and equipment. The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) has notified the 661 Committee of 1,559 contracts worth over $3.7 billion for humanitarian supplies which have been processed under the “fast track” procedures based on pre-approved lists, while another 122 contracts worth about $80 million have also been “fast tracked” for oil industry spare parts and equipment.

As at 23 March 2001, over $2.86 billion and €1.9 billion (euros) in unencumbered funds were available in the United Nations escrow account for the issuance of additional letters of credit for the purchase of humanitarian supplies and oil spare parts and equipment by the Government of Iraq.

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Produced for media and public information – not an official United Nations Document
For further information please contact Hasmik Egian, OIP - NY, 1.212.963.4341