South oil exports fall from a record level in January
Crude oil exports from southern Iraq fell by 100,000 barrels per day this month from a record high as bad weather has affected shipping traffic from OPEC's second largest producer, according to data from the oil sector.
According to Reuters data, and independent monitoring of a source in the sector, exports of southern Iraq averaged 3.44 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first 21 days of January.
The decline is signaled by the continued absence of indicators of additional supplies reaching the market from Iraq, despite the rise in oil prices to $ 70 a barrel for the first time since 2014, supported by an agreement led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production.
Iraq says it is committed to the WTO agreement. "We are showing a slight decline," said the source, who is following Iraq's exports. "I am confident that it will rise again soon."
The loading of some tankers was postponed during the month because of the intensity of the wind, shipping sources said. Such delays often occur at this time of year.
Iraq is increasing its exports from southern ports, where most of the exports come from, to offset shipments from Kirkuk's northern fields in mid-October after Iraqi forces took control of Kurdish fields.
According to shipping data and the source of the sector, the average exports of the North 320 thousand barrels per day since the beginning of January to date compared to an estimated 310 thousand barrels per day in December. That is well below the levels of more than 500,000 bpd in some months of 2017.
The total volume of Iraq's exports in January was 3.76 million barrels per day, a decrease of 90 thousand barrels per day compared to December.
Northern exports could slightly increase if Iraq moves ahead with a plan to export Kirkuk oil to Iran before the end of January. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said about 30,000 bpd would be initially transported by truck to a refinery in Iran.
OPEC, Russia and other producers cut supplies by about 1.8 million barrels a day by the end of 2018 in an effort to get rid of a glut in global supply of crude and support prices.
Iraq has shown a lower level of commitment to a supply-reduction agreement than its OPEC counterparts for the majority of 2017. But the fall in Kirkuk's output has boosted compliance with Iraq and overall participants.