Iraq Resumes Oil Exports to Ceyhan Port

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 10/11/2006, Location: Middle East

Iraq Tuesday resumed crude oil deliveries from its Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan after a five-week suspension, an Iraqi oil official said. "The North Oil Co. managed to resume pumping crude oil from northern oil fields to the Turkish port Tuesday at 1700 local time," the official told Dow Jones Newswires.

The official said that around 440,000 barrels of oil had been pumped through the pipeline to Ceyhan.

A shipping agent in Ceyhan confirmed the resumption of Iraqi crude deliveries to the port. He said pumping resumed at a rate of 18,000 barrels an hour. "The flow is still continuing," he said.

The official said around 300,000 barrels were at storage in Ceyhan before deliveries resumed Tuesday. He said deliveries resumed after repairs were carried out to part of the northern export pipeline that was sabotaged Sept. 3.

He said there was enough crude for export as the 140,000 b/d Beiji refinery has been closed over the last few days because of a power problem.

An Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman said Iraq's crude oil production from northern oil fields has doubled since Tuesday. He said output reached more than 500,000 barrels Tuesday. He expected a similar rate Wednesday. Northern output before Tuesday's export resumption was around 250,000 b/d.

Iraq pumps oil from northern fields to the Beiji refinery and the extra crude is usually pumped to Ceyhan for exports to Europe. The pipeline was sabotaged Sept. 3 after it pumped around 2 million barrels to the storage facilities in the Turkish port.

Sabotage to the pipeline had forced Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization to cut sales of Kirkuk crude to 1.65 million barrels instead of the tendered amount of 6 million barrels.

Iraq resumed exports of Kirkuk crude through its northern oil pipeline to Ceyhan in June for the first time since August 2005. Since the June restart, Baghdad has sold 10.25 million barrels of crude in its first four tenders this year.

Before the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq exported around 800,000 b/d from its northern oil fields.

Persistent acts of sabotage against Iraq's northern oil export pipelines and installations have kept exports from the north of the country shut for most of this year and last.

The bulk of Iraqi crude oil exports are from southern oil terminals on the Persian Gulf, exporting around 1.5 million b/d.


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