Iraq's oil output slumps by 200,000 b/d in October
Baghdad (Platts)--28Nov2012/624 am EST/1124 GMT
Iraq's oil production fell sharply in October to 3.035 million b/d, a
200,000 b/d decline from September output of 3.235 million b/d although oil
exports rose slightly to 2.624 million b/d, a new post-1990 record, oil
ministry figures obtained Wednesday by Platts showed.
The fall in October production was due mainly to a steep decline in
output from southern oil fields that are under the jurisdiction of the
state-owned Iraqi South Oil Company and include the super major fields of
Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair. The fields are being developed by
consortiums led by BP, ExxonMobil and Eni, respectively.
The three fields account for the bulk of oil produced from the south.
The ministry gave no reason for the fall in output.
The ministry figures did not give a breakdown for each field but showed
that output from these three fields fell by a cumulative 224,000 b/d to 1.978
million b/d from 2.201 million b/d in September.
Total output from southern oil fields, including the Meissan fields,
which incorporate the Halfaya field, fell to 2.180 million b/d from 2.407
million b/d. The Halfaya field, which began producing in the middle of this
year, fell to 202,000 b/d from 206,000 b/d in 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 includes 568,000 b/d from the giant Kirkuk oil field and
other fields managed 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
total with 146,000 b/d.
Although Al-Ahdab production is counted as northern production, it is
exported from the south.
Iraqi crude oil exports in October registered hit their highest level
since the August 1990 invasion 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 drop was due to a period of
rough weather in the Gulf affecting tanker loadings.
Iraq was able to export this volume from the south despite the fall in
southern production by tapping into some 3 million b/d of crude oil in
storage, which had accumulated during a prolonged period of bad weather in
Oil exported from southern terminals in October included 25,000 b/d of
fuel oil blended into the Basra crude export stream, compared with 54,000 b/d
Northern exports rose by 32,000 b/d in October to 452,000 b/d from
420,000 b/d in September. Exports from the Turkish Mediterranean port of
Ceyhan accounted for 442,000 b/d of the total, with the remaining 10,000 b/d
shipped by tanker trucks to Jordan.
Kirkuk crude from the north included 78,000 b/d of fuel oil and natural
gasoline produced blended with the export blend compared with 72,000 b/d in
Northern production and exports have been rising since the Kurdistan
Regional Government resumed oil exports in early August as a goodwill gesture
to Baghdad to try to resolve a dispute over payment to foreign contractors.
The KRG and the federal government signed an agreement 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 remaining months.
In response, Baghdad agreed to release around $850 million in overdue
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
However, the KRG supplied only 146,000 b/d for export through the
federal pipeline system in October, slightly above the 113,000 b/d exported
in September but still below the volumes agreed with Baghdad.
Iraqi deputy prime minister for energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, said in
London earlier this month that there would be no second payment to Erbil
because the KRG had failed to honor its commitments.
Iraq, which relies almost exclusively on oil exports for its revenues,
earned a total $8.578 billion from oil sales in October, a rise of $207
million over September revenues of $8.371 billion, according to the State Oil
This rise was due to the increase in export volumes despite a slight
fall in the composite average price of Iraqi crude oil to $105.5/barrel in
October from $107.6/b in September.
Internal supply rates to local refineries and power stations in October
totaled 637,000 b/d, compared with 661,000 b/d in September and the 2011
average of 627,000 b/d. Out of the total, 56,000 b/d was supplied to power
stations and the rest to refineries.
--Faleh al-Khayat, email@example.com
--Edited by Kate Dourian, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jonathan Fox,
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