Iraq exported 3.453 million barrels per day (mb/d) of crude oil from its southern ports in March, a slight increase from the numbers for February, which marked the third month in a downward trend, Reuters reported.

Exports from the southern Basra terminal averaged 3.426 mb/d in February, 3.49 mb/d in January, and 3.53 mb/d in December, based on figures from Iraq’s SOMO Oil Marketing Company.

Exports from the northern terminal of Kirkuk, in the territory of the Kurdish Regional Government but under the control of Baghdad, stopped in October 2017 when Iraqi government troops forced Kurdish fighters out of the region.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region currently exports about 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude from northern Iraq through a pipeline across Turkey.

A senior Iraqi energy official has said that oil could be sent from Kirkuk, in the north of Iraq, to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery in the coming weeks.

“The swap deal was agreed at the end of 2017, under which Iraq is about to truck 60,000 b/d of crude oil to Iran,” SOMO head Alaa Al-Yasiri stated. Iran will export the crude on behalf of Iraq through its Kharq terminal on the Persian Gulf, he added.

Iran and Iraq also plan to build a pipeline to carry oil from Kirkuk to Iranian refineries in Kermanshah, Tabriz, Tehran and Arak, circumventing the existing export route from Kirkuk via Turkey and the Mediterranean.