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West Qurna 2 maintenance, Dhi Qar unrest shuts in 480,000 b/d of Iraqi oil production

Highlights

Giant West Qurna 2 oil field produces 400,000 b/d

Iraq's southern fields suffering from water problems

Dhi Qar's Nassiriya field closed for security concerns

  • Author
  • Herman Wang
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  • Jim Levesque
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Natural Gas Oil

Some 480,000 b/d of Iraqi crude production, roughly 11%, is offline, due to maintenance at the West Qurna 2 oil field and protests in Dhi Qar, exacerbating a tightening global market and rising prices already stoked by the escalating Ukraine crisis.

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The 400,000 b/d West Qurna 2 oil field will be shut through March 21 due to maintenance, an official from Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization told S&P Global Platts. The month-long maintenance began Feb. 21.

The giant field, located in southern Iraq, is operated by Lukoil, which has plans to expand production there to a peak of 800,000 b/d by 2027.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not give a reason for the maintenance.

A senior manager at state-owned Basra Oil Co. previously told Platts many of Iraq's southern fields, including West Qurna 2, were seeing high water cuts in their crudes and the company was undertaking a number of temporary measures to boost water injection volumes to support reservoir pressure.

Lukoil holds a 75% interest in West Qurna 2, with the rest held by state-owned North Oil Co.

Elsewhere, civil unrest has shut in 80,000 b/d of production from the Nassiriya oil field, state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Co. said Feb. 24.

The closure will also prevent associated gas from being fed to power plants in a region already suffering from electricity shortages.

"The management of the Dhi Qar Oil Company decided to stop work at the Nassiriya gas isolation station and to stop oil production operations there, after the employees and affiliates could not enter to carry out their duties," the company said in a statement.

Iraq Oil Report, citing security and industry officials, said an engineer from the Iraqi oil ministry was killed Feb. 19 while working on a pipeline that connects to the Nassiriya field, amid protests over economic development and land issues.

OPEC+ underproduction

Iraq as a whole pumped 4.26 million b/d of crude oil in January, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC+ output.

It, along with the rest of OPEC, Russia and several other allies, have been raising production targets by 400,000 b/d every month to keep pace with recovering oil demand, but several members have struggled to hit their quotas due to technical problems and a lack of investment.

Iraq's quota is 4.325 million b/d in February and 4.370 million b/d in March under the OPEC+ agreement.

The OPEC+ production shortfalls have contributed to rising oil prices and fears of a supply squeeze in the months ahead, even before Russia invaded Ukraine and incurred a raft of western sanctions that could begin to severely crimp Russian energy exports.