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IRAQ DATA: March oil exports drop 0.8% amid signs of tighter OPEC+ compliance

Iraq’s total crude exports in March, including flows from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, fell 0.8% month on month, data from the oil ministry and shipping reports showed, amid signs of tighter compliance with OPEC+ output cuts.

Source: S&P Global Platts, by Faleh- Al-Khayat

OPEC’s second largest producer exported 3.280 million b/d in March, down from 3.305 million b/d in February, according to published data from the oil ministry and shipping reports from Turkey’s Ceyhan export terminal seen by S&P Global Platts.

Federal exports in March declined 1.5% to 2.945 million b/d from February, according to oil ministry data published April 1. Kurdish exports in March dropped 3% to 335,000 b/d from February, according to data from Ceyhan shipping reports.

Iraq breached its OPEC+ quota in February, with production rising 1.6% month on month to 3.868 million b/d, above its 3.857 million b/d quota, State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO, data showed March 10.

Iraq’s quota through April is 3.857 million b/d, but will rise to 3.905 million b/d in May, according to the new OPEC+ agreement.

Iraq has struggled for most of 2020 to comply with its OPEC+ quota amid the low oil price environment, the pandemic and a financial crisis gripping the country. Iraq’s lax compliance, among the worst in OPEC+ in 2020, has complicated the coalition’s efforts to balance an oil market suffering from an anemic demand outlook.

Southern exports

Kurdish exports during the first quarter of 2021 averaged 350,000 b/d, a 15% decline from the fourth quarter 2020 average of 410,000 b/d, according to sources, due to diversion of some crude to the KAR refinery in Erbil to meet local demand. The federal oil ministry suspended supplying crude to the refinery in January.

March federal exports included 2.846 million b/d from the southern Gulf terminals, 0.7% lower from February, while Kirkuk exports from Ceyhan fell 26.5% to 99,088 b/d, ministry data showed.

Exports of the heavy Qayara oil from the southern port of Khor Al-Zubair and oil trucked to Jordan remained suspended in March.

Gulf terminal southern exports comprised 970,000 b/d of Basrah Light with average 31-33 API, compared with 1.013 million b/d in February, and 968,000 b/d of Basrah Medium with average 27-29 API, compared with 1 million b/d in February, according to data from SOMO seen by Platts.

Basrah Heavy exports in March from the southern Gulf terminals stood at 908,000 b/d with average 23-24 API, compared with 812,000 b/d in February, the data showed.

Basrah Medium was introduced in January after splitting the Basrah Light into two crudes to better represent their quality.

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