Oil Exports from Iraq Tumbles Three Months in a Row

According to shipping data and an industry source, Iraq’s southern oil exports have fallen by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd), suggesting OPEC’s second largest producer is heading for a 3rd month of decreased shipments.

Shipping data tracked by Reuters and independent tracking by an industry source showed that compared to 3.43 million barrels per day in February, in the first twenty-one days of March, Southern Iraqi exports averaged about 3.36 million barrels per day.

Despite the fact that this year the prices of oil rose to $71 per barrel for the first time since 2014, the fall suggests that there is no sign of extra supplies reaching the market from Iraq, supported by an OPEC-led agreement to reduce production.

The country says it is committed to the OPEC deal. The source that tracks exports from Iraq said that they are seeing lower volumes.

A shipment agent said that shipments from the south have reduced as one of the single points of loadings that used to fill tankers was under maintenance for the much part of March because of a leak. Loadings have also dropped at the small port of Khor Al-Amaya.

The country had been increasing exports from its terminals on the south, which handle the majority of such trade, to offset a stop in shipments from its oilfields in northern Kirkuk since October after Iraqi forces took control of fields form Kurdish troops.

According to shipping data and the industry source, compared to an estimated 340,000 barrels per day in February, exports from the north have averaged 270,000 barrels per day so far in March. This is way below levels of over 500,000 barrels per day in some months of the previous year.

Oil officials from Iraq said that there are no plans to resume oil flow through the pipeline owned by the Kurdish, as no deals has yet been reached.

If Iraq goes ahead with a plan to export Kirkuk oil by truck to Iran, exports from the North could rise, but this has been tardy.

Down from 3.84 million barrels per day in December last year, 3.81 million barrels per day in January, and 3.77 million barrels per day in February, overall exports in March have averaged 3.63 million barrels per day based on loadings so far, according to Iraqi figures and loading data.

In an effort to get rid of a global crude glut and support prices, Russia and OPEC and other producers are cutting production by about 1.8 million barrels per day until the end of 2018.

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