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Iraqi Mar crude output falls 45,000 b/d to 4.5 million b/d: SOMO

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Iraqi Mar crude output falls 45,000 b/d to 4.5 million b/d: SOMO

London — Iraqi crude oil production fell 45,000 b/d to 4.50 million b/d in March, 12,000 b/d below its OPEC output quota, the country's State Oil Marketing Organization said Tuesday.

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Iraq pledged to cut 140,000 b/d from its October output baseline to 4.512 million b/d, under the OPEC-led producer deal to cut 1.2 million b/d of production from January to June 2019 in a bid to support oil prices.

This is the first time Iraq has shown more than 100% compliance since OPEC and non-OPEC producers started production cuts in 2017, according to official Iraqi data.

The production figure is much lower than S&P Global Platts estimate of 4.57 million b/d in March in its latest OPEC production survey. Both data sets include production from Kurdistan.

Previously, Iraq had consistently lagged in compliance with its committed cap, both under the current deal and under the previous accord, which ran from 2017 to 2018.

DIP IN EXPORTS Iraqi oil exports fell sharply to 3.84 million b/d in March compared with 4.01 million b/d in February, SOMO said.

March output fell as the OPEC member cut production at some of its southern fields, sharply reducing exports from Persian Gulf terminals. Bad weather also hampered loadings, with Basra terminals closing for three days in late March.

The oil ministry said last week that federal crude oil exports in March from Iraq's southern Persian Gulf terminals and Ceyhan had fallen to 3.377 million b/d from 3.621 million b/d in February.

This latest data implies that exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which are moved via pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey, totaled 463,000 b/d in March compared with 390,000 b/d in February. The Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline was closed for maintenance from February 13-21 and normal flows resumed in March.

SOMO's March figure puts total domestic consumption for power generation and refining at 660,000 b/d compared with 535,000 b/d in February.

-- Eklavya Gupte, eklavya.gupte@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Burgess, newsdesk@spglobal.com