Iraq oil export plunges in Dec
Baghdad, December 21, 2013
Iraq's oil exports have fallen so far in December, capping what has been a disappointing year and highlighting challenges it faces in 2014 in achieving significant production growth.
The drop in exports this month shows Iraq has yet to overcome infrastructure constraints and security issues that slowed output growth in 2013, supporting global prices, and threaten to dampen plans for a sizeable expansion next year.
Exports from Iraq's southern terminals have averaged 2.01 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in December, down slightly from November's average of 2.07 million bpd.
Iraq exports most of its oil from the south, where work to expand port capacity has, temporarily, curbed shipments. In addition, bad weather in December has disrupted southern loadings, say shipping sources.
Shipments of Kirkuk crude from northern Iraq remain below their potential, constrained by bomb attacks on the pipeline to Turkey and a dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government over oil and land rights.
So far in December, Kirkuk shipments have averaged about 270,000 bpd, industry sources said, about 30,000 bpd less than in November. This would bring total exports to 2.28 million bpd, down from November's 2.38 million bpd.
Iraq's oil revival slowed in 2013. Output has struggled to exceed 3m bpd on a sustained basis, compared with its end-2013 target of 3.5 million bpd.-Reuters