Iraq’s oil sector got off to a strong start in 2017, earning slightly more than $5bn in January. This was the second consecutive month in which it earned more than $5bn, something it has not achieved since June 2015. 2017 has also seen exploration and development grow outside of Iraq’s core producing areas.

Total crude exports fell 6mn barrels to 103mn barrels (3.3mn b/d) in January, the lowest volume since September. But the price of Iraqi oil exports averaged $48.61/B, the...