Iraq, Kuwait Oil Exports Disrupted by Rough Weather

Source: Reuters 6/4/2012, Location: Middle East

Bad weather has disrupted oil exports from Iraq's southern offshore terminal and forced neighbouring Kuwait to halt all of its oil exports, a shipping source and government official said. Oil exports from Iraq's southern Basra terminals dropped to 1.65 million barrels per day (bpd) due to dust storms and high winds, the shipping source said.

Kuwait's oil exports have been completely halted due to a severe sand storm, a spokesman for state-run Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) said.

The Gulf state produced around 2.77 million barrels per day (bpd) in May, slightly up from 2.75-mln bpd in April, according to a recent Reuters survey.

Kuwait has three refineries - Shuaiba, Mina Abdullah and Mina al-Ahmadi - with a total refining capacity of around 930,000 bpd.

Iraq had been pumping around 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) from all its outlets in the Gulf, including about 600,000 barrels per day from a new single-point mooring offshore export terminal, the shipper said.

"Dusty weather and high winds halted loading operations at the floating terminal and stopped ships berthing at Basra ports," the shipper said, asking that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Iraq exports the bulk of its crude from southern ports at the Gulf. Shipments of crude from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq usually average between 350,000-400,000 bpd and are expected to remain stable around that level.

Iraq exported an average 2.452 million bpd in May, including 2.086 million from Basra and 366,000 from northern fields.

Iraq's oil production has been held back for decades by infrastructure crippled by years of sanctions and war, including a lack of export capacity on its small strip of the Gulf coast. Production from Iraq's southern oilfields is expected to hit around 2.75 million bpd by the end of this year and the OPEC producer is expected to be the world's biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years.


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