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Billions in oil missing in Iraq, US study finds
Published: Friday May 11, 2007
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"Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report," the New York Times is set to report on Saturday's front page, according to a copy of the story advanced to RAW STORY. Excerpts follow.


Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.

The report does not give a final conclusion on what happened to the missing fraction of the roughly 2 million barrels pumped by Iraq each day, but the findings are sure to reinforce long-standing suspicions that smugglers, insurgents and corrupt officials control significant parts of the country's oil industry.

The report also covered alternative explanations for the billions of dollars worth of discrepancies, including the possibility that Iraq has been consistently overstating its oil production.

Iraq and the State Department, which reports the numbers, have been under relentless pressure to show tangible progress in Iraq by raising production levels, which have languished well below the U.S. goal of 3 million barrels a day. Virtually the entire economy of Iraq is dependent on oil revenues.