Iraq’s oil exports slip in December, 2014 target looks tough

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, Reuters reported.
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, according to shipping data tracked by Reuters, down slightly from November’s average of 2.07 million bpd.
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 (KRG) over oil and land rights.
So far in December, Kirkuk shipments have averaged about 270,000 bpd, industry sourcessaid, 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.
In 2014, Iraq is aiming to lift exports to 3.4 million bpd including 400,000 bpd from the KRG, implying production of 4 million bpd including oil used domestically. Traders and analysts say that looks optimistic.

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