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Iraq data: January production largely stable at 4.36 million b/d

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Iraq data: January production largely stable at 4.36 million b/d

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Iraq's oil ministry said the country produced an average total of 4.36 million b/d of crude oil in January, down just 2,000 b/d from December, and putting it just above its OPEC cut obligations, the latest data from the oil ministry showed last week.

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Federally owned oil companies produced a total of 4.224 million b/d, with North Oil Co. contributing 169,000 b/d, another 207,000 b/d from Midland Oil Co., 460,000 b/d from Missan Oil Co. and 181,000 b/d from Dhi-Qar Oil Co. The largest contribution came from Basra Oil Co. at 3.207 million b/d, the data showed.

The new data also includes production from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, which the oil ministry estimated at just 136,000 b/d.

The country total of 4.360 million b/d is just 0.23% above Iraq's OPEC allocation of 4.350 million b/d. OPEC's secondary source estimates, which include S&P Global Platts, put January production at 4.435 million b/d, some 75,000 b/d above the oil ministry's figure. Platts itself estimated January output at 4.410 million b/d.

Its estimates for the KRG have fallen each month since July, when the oil ministry said KRG output was 605,000 b/d, down to 136,000 b/d in January.

The latest number is more than 200,000 b/d below most estimates of KRG output at 340,000 b/d, a level the region has held steady since October.

The KRG itself has not published any figures for its production and exports since November 2016. However, the estimate of KRG production at 340,000 b/d is supported by the KRG's export rate of around 280,000 b/d in January, calculated from data obtained from shipping agents at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan and monitoring tanker movements.

Along with the lack of data on internal supply figures for the month, and underestimated KRG output, this has left Iraq-watchers to guess what the country's true production rate is.

The addition of 340,000 b/d from the Kurdistan Region to the federal output of 4.224 million b/d, gives a country total of around 4.564 million b/d, some 214,000 b/d above Iraq's allocation.

--Faleh Al-Khayat, newsdesk@spglobal.com
--Edited by Maurice Geller, maurice.geller@spglobal.com