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Iraq’s oil exports from its southern ports are heading for a new record this month if they continue the pace set so far in August, which would be the second consecutive month of setting records in southern oil exports, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing industry sources who have been tracking shipment data.
Between August 1 and 19, Iraq’s southern oil exports averaged 3.7 million bpd, an increase of 160,000 bpd from the previous record of 3.54 million bpd set in July, an industry source who has compiled ship-tracking data told Reuters.
According to a second source, the oil exports from Iraq’s south have been at least 3.6 million bpd on average so far in August.
In July, Iraq’s exports from the south averaged 3.543 million bpd, slightly up from the June exports of 3.521 million bpd.
If the pace of exports continues this month, Iraq will set a new record in its exports from the south in August—a sign that the OPEC’s second-largest producer is following through the cartel’s decision to ease compliance rates, or in other words, to boost oil supply and offset production losses.
Before OPEC’s decision in June to increase supply, Iraq had been ramping up exports from its southern ports to compensate for lost exports in the north. Around 300,000 bpd of crude oil previously pumped and exported in the Kirkuk province have been shut in since the Iraqi federal government moved in October to take control over the oil fields in Kirkuk from Kurdish forces.
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According to shipping data obtained by Reuters, exports from the north have averaged 350,000 bpd so far in August, up from 300,000 bpd in July, but still well below the 500,000 bpd in early 2017.
Iraq’s crude oil production rose to its highest level in 13 months in July—to 4.46 million bpd, Platts quoted the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) as saying earlier this month. That’s the same number that Iraq reported to OPEC for its July production, but according to OPEC’s secondary sources, Iraq’s production in July was 4.556 million bpd, up by 24,100 bpd from June.
Iraq is also seeking to attract more clients in Asia and it has reduced the official selling price (OSP) for its flagship Basrah Light grade for September loadings to less than the rival Saudi Arab Medium grade for the first time in five months, Platts reported earlier this month.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.