Amman — OPEC's second-largest producer, Iraq, boosted its southern crude oil exports to a new record high of 3.583 million b/d in August, according to the latest oil ministry data.
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This is up 40,000 b/d from July, the data showed Saturday, as the producer group follows through on its agreement to release more barrels into the market.
Iraqi exports have been rising since OPEC and key non-OPEC allies agreed in June to abandon their production quotas, averaging 3.549 million b/d over the last three months. This is up 109,000 b/d from the first five months of 2018, the data showed.
The rise in exports from Iraq's southern terminals came despite the ongoing continuing suspension of loadings from the Khor al-Amaya terminal since the beginning of the year. The terminal was closed due to leaks at its pipelines and ongoing maintenance. However, shipments were helped by mostly prevailing clear weather in the northern Persian Gulf.
Some 2.727 million b/d of Basrah Light were shipped from the terminals, along with 856,000 b/d of Basrah Heavy crude, according to sources close to State Oil Marketing Organization.
Seven tankers were berthed and another four were awaiting their turn, terminal status reports showed. These will load approximately 7 million barrels -- 1 million barrels of Basrah Light, and 6 million barrels of Basrah Heavy -- which will be added to the September loading program.
SURGING OIL EXPORTS FROM CEYHAN
Southern exports, controlled by the federal oil ministry, combined with exports from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to give a total of approximately 4.028 million b/d for Iraq.
The KRG does not provide monthly export data, but sources in the region said the KRG loaded 445,000 b/d from Ceyhan. This is a sharp jump of 40% from around 320,000 b/d shipped in July.
From the August shipments, some 370,000 b/d was pumped via the KRG's independent pipeline through Turkey, and the rest drawn from storage at Ceyhan. The exports were also boosted by higher output at the key Taq Taq and smaller Atrush fields.
All of the federal exports were from Iraq's southern Persian Gulf oil terminals, with no shipments from Ceyhan due to a political dispute with the semi-autonomous KRG.
The federal government in Baghdad is unable to export its crude from the north of the country due to a dispute with the KRG. A political deal between the two rival governments to allow federal exports through the KRG pipeline to Ceyhan could unlock nearly 200,000 b/d of additional output.
--Faleh al-Khayat, email@example.com
--Edited by Jonathan Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org