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Iraq: Maliki restores $5/bbl payment

Following considerable pressure from southern oil-producing states, the Iraqi cabinet has backtracked on a cut in the so-called petrodollar payment. On 28 January, the cabinet said the government would pay $5/bbl of oil, originally agreed in a mid-2013 law, rather than the $1/bbl stipulated in the draft 2014 budget. The move will cost the government more than $4bn, heaping further spending on a budget that has already ballooned since 2013. It is rare for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to reverse his course, although perhaps not surprising in an election year.

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