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Iraq’s oil production slouches by 200,000 b/d in October

30 Nov 2012
Iraq’s oil output fell sharply in October to 3.035 million b/d, a 200,000 b/d decline from the previous month output of 3.235 million b/d though oil exports rose slightly to 2.624 million b/d, a new post- 1990 record, oil ministry figures attained Wednesday by Platts showed. The fall in October output was due mainly to a sharp decline in output from southern oil fields that are under the jurisdiction of the state-owned Iraqi South Oil Company and take in the super major fields of Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair. The fields are being developed by associations led by BP, ExxonMobil and Eni, respectively. The three fields account for the volume of oil production from the south. The ministry did not give any reason for the fall in the production. The ministry figures did not give a breakdown for each field but illustrated that production from three fields fell by a increasing 224,000 b/d to 1.978 million b/d from 2.201 million b/d in September. Total outcome from southern oil fields, including the Meissan fields, which incorporate the Halfaya field, fell to 2.180 million b/d from 2.047 million b/d. The Halfaya field, which began producing in the middle of 2012, fell to 202.000 b/d in the month September. October production from northern fields, however, rose by 27,000 b/d to 855,000 b/d from 828,000 b/d in September. The figure comprises 568,000 b/d from the giant Kirkuk oil field and other fields handled by the North Oil Company, with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region contributing 146,000 b/d and the Midland Oil company, which manages the East Baghdad and Ahdab oil fields in central Iraq, making up the sum with 146,000 b/d. Although the production of Al-Ahdab, is counted as northern production, it is exported from the south. Iraqi natural exports in October registered hit their highest level since the August 1990 attack of Kuwait. Exports totaled 2.624 million b/d, a rise of 26,000 b/d over September exports of 2.598 million b/d. Southern exports in October totaled 2.172 million b/d, a 6,000 b/d fall from September exports of 2.178 million b/d. The fall was because of a rough weather in the Gulf affecting tanker loadings. Iraq was capable of exporting this volume from the south in spite of the fall in southern output by tapping into some 3 million b/d of crude oil in storage space, which had collected during a prolonged duration of bad weather in the month September. Oil exported from southern terminals in October comprised 25,000 b/d of fuel oil merged into the Basra crude export stream, in comparison with 54,000 b/d in September. Northern exports rose by 32,000 b/d in October to 452,000 b/d from 420,000 b/d in the previous month (September). Exports from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan accounted for 442,000 b/d of the total, with the left over 10,000 b/d shipped by tanker trucks to Jordan. Kirkuk crude from the north incorporated 78,000 b/d of fuel oil and natural gasoline formed blended with the export blend compared with 72,000 b/d in September. Northern output and exports have been increasing since the Kurdistan Regional Government resumed oil exports in early August as a goodwill gesture to Baghdad to try to settle a dispute over payment to foreign contractors. The KRG and the federal regime signed a contract September 13 whereby the KRG agreed to supply 140,000 b/d for export in the second half of September and 200,000 b/d in the rest of the months. In response, Baghdad has decided to release around $850 million in unsettled payments to the KRG. The first tranche of $540 million was made during the first half of October, with the second tranche expected to be paid in early of 2013. However, the KRG supplied only 146,000 b/d for export through the deferral pipeline system in October, slightly above the 113,000 b/d exported in September but still lower than the volume agreed with Baghdad. Iraqi deputy prime minister for energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, said in London earlier this month that there will be no second payment to Erbil because of the failure of the KRG to honor its commitments. Iraq, which relies almost exclusively on oil exports for its profits, earned a sum of $8.578 billion from oil sales in October, a rise of $207 million over September revenues of $8.371 billion from oil sales in October, an increase of $207 million over September profits of $8.371 billion, according to the State Oil Marketing Organization. The rise was unpaid because of the increase in export volumes in spite of a little fall in the composite average price of Iraqi natural oil to $105.5/barrel in October from $107.6/barrel in September. Internal sell rates to local refineries and power stations in October totaled 637,000 b/d, in comparison with 661,000 b/d in September and the 2011 average of 627,000 b/d. 56,000 b/d out of the total, was supplied to power stations and the rest to the refineries. Source: [Platts]
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