Iraqi Oil Exports Not Likely To Lower Gas Prices (220)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — American motorists are not likely to pay any less for gasoline because of Iraq’s resumption of oil exports, a University of Tennessee economist and oil industry specialist said Tuesday.

 The United Nations has given Iraq the green light — on a trial basis — to sell about 600,000 barrels of oil daily for six months to buy food and medicine for its people.

 “The world consumes 70 million barrels a day, so the amount Iraq can sell is just a drop in the bucket,” said Dr. Ziad Keilany of UT-Chattanooga and a former OPEC consultant. “It won’t have a very significant impact.”

 Keilany said the Iraqi exports at most might lower the price of gasoline at the pump in the United States a “few pennies here or there.”

 The exports are being allowed on a trial basis — a humanitarian gesture by the UN to enable Iraq to buy food and medicine for Iraqis who’ve suffered from international sanctions since the end of the Persian Gulf war.

 Iraq has not exported oil since it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Prior to that, it exported 3 million barrels a day.

 The United States said it will monitor the situation to make sure Iraqi president Saddam Hussein does not pocket any of the food, medicine or money from the exports for his own purposes.

 —

 Contact: Ziad Keilany (423-755-4116)