Southern crude export rose in March in Iraq
22 Mar 2015
Iraq’s southern oil export rose in the month of March, as delayed cargos of February got cleared.
According to the shipping data, Exports from Iraq's southern terminals have averaged 2.66 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first 18 days of March. Exports in all of February were 2.29 million bpd.
The increase, if sustained, puts Iraq back within sight of its record southern export rate of 2.76 million bpd reached in December. This level is close to the current limit of the export infrastructure, say industry sources.
The southern oilfields, being developed with the help of foreign oil companies, produce the bulk of Iraq's oil and the terminals are its main outlet to world markets. Located far from the parts of the country controlled by Islamic State, they have kept pumping despite the unrest.
A small amount of oil that comes from Kirkuk is also exported by Iraq. Flow from northern Iraq was stopped in 2014, but resumed in December 2014 following a deal between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The return of Kirkuk allowed Iraq to boost exports to 2.94 million bpd in December, a record high. Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi said on March 11 exports could rise even more to 3 million bpd this month without "surprises."
Turkish official sources said that pumping along the pipeline carrying Kirkuk and Kurdish crude to Ceyhan was halted on March 9 for repairs. On the other hand industry sources said that northern exports averaged 290,000 bpd in the first 10 days of March.
The northern pumping rate had been restored to 400,000 bpd by Monday, but the interruption has made it harder for total exports in March to reach 3 million bpd.
Even higher oil export has been planned by Iraq in 2015, though some problems, like bad weather, regional unrest, technical problems, etc. can harm this ambiguous export plan of Iraq
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