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Iraq exported more than 1 billion barrels of oil in 2015

[BAGHDAD] Iraq said it exported 1.097 billion barrels of oil in 2015, generating US$49.079 billion from sales, according to the oil ministry.

It sold 99.7 million barrels of oil in December, generating US$2.973 billion, after selling a record 100.9 million barrels in November, said oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad. The country sold at an average price of US$44.74 a barrel in 2015, Jihad said.

Iraq, with the world's fifth-biggest oil reserves, needs to keep increasing crude output because lower oil prices have curbed government revenue. Oil prices have slumped in the past year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries defended market share against production in the U.S.

Opec's second-largest crude producer is facing a slowdown in investment due to lower oil prices while fighting a costly war on Islamist militants who seized a swath of the country's northwest. The nation's output will start to decline in 2018, Morgan Stanley said in a Sept. 2 report, reversing its forecast for higher production every year to 2020.