Iraq Kurdistan Crude Output about 80,000 bpd

Source: Reuters 2/18/2011, Location: Middle East

Crude production from oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan has reached about 80,000 barrels per day but only about 50,000 bpd are being exported, sources at Iraq's North Oil Company said.

The semi-autonomous northern region restarted production this month following a long hiatus in a dispute with Iraq's central government over oil contracts it signed with foreign oil companies. The region's two producing fields, Tawke and Taq Taq, both were put back into production.

"We have between 45,000 and 50,000 barrels per day being pumped from the Tawke oilfield to the export pipeline, while crude from Taq Taq is transported by tankers to Kirkuk and used for domestic needs only," a senior NOC official told Reuters.

Norwegian oil company DNO said it had boosted exports from Tawke to a test level of 50,000 bpd.

An NOC engineer confirmed the production figures, saying crude from Tawke was being pumped to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline at an average of 50,000 bpd, while around 30,000 to 33,000 bpd from Taq Taq was being used for domestic refinery needs.

Exports from Iraqi Kurdistan were halted in October 2009. The central government says production-sharing agreements the Kurdistan Regional Government signed with foreign companies are illegal.

The two governments agreed to restart production and exports but have yet to agree on the production-sharing contracts. Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq's former oil minister and now deputy prime minister for energy, has said they should be amended to service contracts.

Kurdish production is expected quickly to ramp up to 100,000 bpd. Kurdish Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami has said it could hit 250,000 bpd by the end of the year. The central government signed a series of contracts with global majors that it hopes will boost Iraq's production capacity to between 8 million and 12 million bpd in the next few years.


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