Iraq will lose the capacity to export 1.7 million barrels of crude a day if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, the transit point for about two thirds of its production, an Oil Ministry spokesman said.
“Iraq will have to depend on the northern route from where it can export 450,000 barrels a day through Turkey’s port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean,” Asim Jihad said in a telephone interview in Baghdad. “Crude prices are estimated to rise significantly if Iran implements its threats to close Hormuz, and Iraq can compensate for some of its losses if its export route from the south is closed,” he said.
The Gulf state is pursuing plans to open new crude export routes via neighboring Syria, following threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to international sanctions on its energy industry, Thamir Ghadhban, the Iraqi prime minister’s top adviser, said Feb. 2.
Iraq has awarded 15 licenses for drilling rights to foreign companies since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Arab nation is the third-largest oil producer in OPEC, pumping 2.75 million barrels a day in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
-With assistance from Nayla Razzouk. Editors: Raj Rajendran, Rachel Graham.