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Within Iraq’s reconstituted oil ministry, the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has inked several deals with foreign refiners and marketers to supply an average of 725,000 to 750,000 bopd through the balance of 2003. While this amount is far short of the 2-million-bopd exported before last spring’s war, it does represent progress. Until recently, Iraq had sold only two cargoes of oil, and those liftings had been produced before the war and held in storage tanks. According to former Shell Oil Chairman Philip J. Carroll, who is the senior American advisor to the ministry, SOMO expected to sign additional term or spot market sales soon. Furthermore, Carroll predicted that export levels would reach 1.2 million to 1.3 million bopd by the end of the year. What he did not mention is that this level will have to be attained in spite of repeated looting and sabotage of production facilities and pipelines.
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