Iraq’s crude oil exports rebounded to an average of 2.381 million barrels a day (b/d) in November, up from 2.25 million b/d in October, as the country recovers from a month long maintenance period at its southern oil export terminals.

Iraq oil exports

Approximately 2.072 million b/d were exported from the south of Iraq, along with 309,000 b/d through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, according to the latest data released by the Oil Ministry.

With crude oil prices averaging $103 a barrel, the sales brought in revenues of $7.328bn, taking Iraq’s total income for the year up to $81.8bn for the year, meaning it is likely to fall just short of the record $94bn earned in 2012.

Exports have ramped up following the commissioning of eight new tanks and booster pumps at the onshore Al-Fao storage terminal in early November. Loading capacity had been constrained previously by the limited storage available at the terminal, which was destroyed during the Iran-Iraq war.

Exports in September were also held back by maintenance work at the new single-point mooring stations (SPMs).

Contractors working for state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) completed the installation of an offshore central metering and manifold platform in the Gulf, which connects with five new SPMs. The installation was completed by Italy’s Saipem on 29 November, and will enable Iraq to accurately monitor the quantities loaded on to tankers at the floating terminals.

Saipem was awarded the $500m contract in October 2011 as part of the second phase of the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion (ICOEE) project. Each of the new SPMs will add 900,000 b/d when they are all finally commissioned by the end of 2013.

Iraq plans to lift its total exports by around 1 million b/d to reach 3.4 million b/d in 2014. This will include 3 million b/d from the south through the completion of the ICOEE project as well as another 400,000 b/d from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), according to Oil Minister Abdulkarim al-Luaibi.

The addition of oil exports from the Kurdish region remains a contentious issue, with no agreement between the KRG and the Oil Ministry on a payment mechanism for contractors or a revenue sharing deal. The KRG itself is pursuing its own pipeline export plans with the Turkish government.

Speaking at a conference in Erbil on 2 December, Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, said the KRG has already completed one oil pipeline, which is ready to carry more than 300,000 b/d. The pipeline connects with the existing Iraq-Turkey oil export pipeline. The pipeline will carry crude from the Taq Taq field to the Turkish port of Mersin is now complete and commissioning is due “within weeks”.