Iraq’s southern oil exports fall by 140,000 bpd so far in August

Exports from Iraq’s southern terminals have averaged 2.3 million barrels per day during the first 26 days of August

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Iraq's oil exports from its southern terminals so far in August have fallen by about 140,000 barrels per day, according to loading data and industry sources, dropping further from a record high reached in May.

Exports from Iraq's southern terminals have averaged 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd), according to shipping data for the first 26 days of August tracked by Reuters. Two industry sources who also monitor the exports had similar estimates.

An advance by Sunni militants who seized swathes of northern Iraq in June has raised concern Iraqi exports could slow down and briefly boosted global oil prices to a nine-month high above $115 a barrel.

But Iraqi oil officials say the southern fields have not been affected by fighting in other parts of the country, and oil industry sources said bad weather had delayed some shipments in August, rather than output disruptions.

"I don't think there is a production issue," said a trader with a company that buys Iraqi crude. "But bad weather does not help."

Exports so far in August are down from July's 2.44 million bpd, but still higher than the 2.22 million bpd scheduled in a preliminary August loading program. May's average of 2.58 million bpd was the highest since 2003.

Iraq's oil supplies were held back by decades of wars and sanctions. It has been expanding oil production in the south since Western companies signed a series of service contracts with Baghdad in 2010.

Total exports from Iraq's northern and southern ports hit a record 2.8 million bpd in February. But northern exports of Kirkuk crude have been shut since March 2 due to attacks on a pipeline to Turkey, keeping total exports below their potential.

While Kirkuk exports remain off the market, Iraq's Kurdistan region is exporting smaller quantities of oil independently of Baghdad via Turkey's Ceyhan port. Some shipments have been held up under diplomatic and legal pressure from Baghdad.

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