Iraq’s southern oil exports drop so far in Feb. on bad weather
Exports from Iraq’s southern terminals have averaged below 1.50 million barrels per day
Iraq’s southern oil exports have dropped sharply so far in February as poor weather delays shipments, according to loading data and industry sources, putting a brake on the expansion of supplies from OPEC’s second-largest producer.
Exports from Iraq’s southern terminals have averaged below 1.50 million barrels per day (bpd), according to shipping data for the first 10 days of February tracked by Reuters and an industry source. Exports in all of January were 2.39 million bpd and in December 2.76 million bpd - a record high.
Iraq had scheduled a record volume of southern exports in February of 3.3 million bpd. But an industry source said that looked unlikely to be reached even if shipments recovered during the rest of the month.
“Exports are very low,” said the industry source who tracks Iraq’s shipments. “Nothing has left for the last two to three days.”
The southern oilfields 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.
“Dreadful weather,” said a trader waiting to load a tanker, asked about the reason for delays.
Iraq also exports smaller amounts of Kirkuk crude from the Turkish port of Ceyhan. These were offline for most of 2014 and resumed in December following a deal between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Total Iraqi exports hit a record in December and the government aims to push them higher in 2015. Smooth progress is not certain. Iraq has missed targets in the past and bad weather, technical problems and unrest can disrupt supplies.