A new report says the Iraqi Government could earn an extra $19.2 billion of revenue this year as a result of higher crude oil prices and the revival of the country’s own oil industry.

The prediction is suggested by figures set out in the latest quarterly report from Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction who is accountable to Congress in Washington.

His report says Iraqi Government budget plans are being drawn up on the assumption of an average international crude price of $64 in 2008. Yet according to the United States energy department the actual figure is likely to be $96 a barrel.

The report highlights the need for effective measures to counter corruption, which has hampered past efforts to rebuild Iraq.

It also hinges on the passing of an oil law, for which US companies are apparently bribing Iraqi officials.