Iraq oil exports stable in February

24 March 2011

Higher oil prices boost earnings during shorter month

Iraq earned more than $6bn from oil sales in February as oil prices surged to more than $100 a barrel for the month.

According to data from the Oil Ministry, a total of about 61.6 million barrels of oil were exported in February, down 8 per cent from the 67 million barrels exported in January. However, average daily exports were stable at 2.2 million barrels a day (b/d).

Oil prices averaged $98.44 a barrel. Iraq’s parliament approved a budget of $82.6bn on 20 February, based on crude exports of 2.2 million b/d and average oil prices at $76.50 a barrel.

Most of Iraq’s crude oil is exported through terminals at Basra and Khor Alamya in the Gulf. The southern region shipped 54 million barrels in January, an increase of almost 14 per cent since the end of 2010.

Gulf exports totalled 47.8 million barrels, averaging 1.68 million b/d. This is down 13 per cent from the 1.93 million b/d exported in January.

Exports to the north, however, increased to 13.8 million barrels, from 13 million barrels, despite the shorter month, with the addition of crude from the Kurdish region. At a daily average of almost 500,000 b/d in February, this up 6.5 per cent on the previous month.

Northern exports numbers are expected to see a significant dip in March following a bomb attack in the northern province of Nineveh on 8 March. The attack caused an explosion at the 1.6 million b/d pipeline, which runs from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, forcing it to stop pumping for several days (MEED 10:3:11).

Iraq’s oil and gas infrastructure has faced numerous attacks since the US-led invasion in 2003. The latest incident follows an attack on 26 February on the 310,000 b/d Baiji refinery, 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, which resulted in four deaths and the closure of one of its 150,000 b/d units. The refinery has since been reopened.

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