Iraq's Southern Oil Exports Fall from Record in May

Source: Reuters 5/18/2012, Location: Middle East

Iraq's oil exports from its southern ports have slipped by 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) so far in May, according to shipping data tracked by Reuters, although Iraq remains hopeful of sustaining shipments at April's record rate.

Exports from the Basra oil terminal, Khor al-Amaya and two new Gulf outlets have averaged 1.94 million bpd in the first 18 days of May, the data showed. Iraq said its southern exports averaged 2.11 million bpd last month.

An Iraqi oil official said production had dropped because urgent maintenance had been necessary at one of the southern oilfields. With production now restored, shipments should rebound in the rest of the month.

"Hopefully, we will achieve exports of 2.1 million barrels a day in the south and an overall total of 2.5 million," the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

A sustained drop in shipments would dent hopes that a long-awaited increase in Iraq's export capacity in 2012 will ease a strain on world supplies. The country is the only source of substantial new supplies in the near future.

"There is only one country that can significantly increase output today, and that is Iraq," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told the 2012 Reuters Global Energy & Environment Summit this week.

"If there is no good news from Iraq, it's bad news for the global oil outlook.


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