Iraqi Oil Exports to Rise to Highest in Over Two Decades

Iraq’s crude exports are set to rise to an average of 2.6 million barrels a day this month, the highest level in more than two decades, said Asim Jihad, a spokesman for the Oil Ministry.

The August tally includes some oil from the self-governing Kurdish region in the north of Iraq, he said. Shipments of one of Iraq’s export grades, Kirkuk, will increase in September from this month, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News today.

“This record figure will be unprecedented since the 1980s, and is due to the increase in production and export capacities, especially from the southern terminals,” Jihad said by phone from Baghdad. “The increase is also due to the limited quantities of crude oil that Kurdistan has pumped since the beginning of the month.”

Iraq’s Kurdish region said it resumed exports in early August to help end a suspension that’s been in place since April because of a payment dispute with the central government in Baghdad.

The country’s crude exports rose in July to an average of 2.52 million barrels a day, Falah al-Amri, the head of the State Oil Marketing Organization said Aug. 1. Iraq holds the world’s fifth-biggest crude reserves, based on BP Plc statistics that include Canadian oil sands. The government is seeking investment and expertise to boost oil output and sales after years of conflict and sanctions. Iraq is one of 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Pipeline Sabotage

Exports of Iraq’s Kirkuk crude grade at the Turkish port of Ceyhan will total 12 million barrels, or 400,333 barrels a day, next month, according to the loading program. That compares with 196,774 barrels a day planned for this month.

Shipments of Kirkuk oil use a pipeline through northern Iraq that is often the target of attacks by thieves or insurgents. Flows stopped yesterday because of sabotage near the city of Mosul, and have since resumed, North Oil Co., a state-run oil company, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Loading programs are monthly schedules of crude shipments compiled by field operators to allow buyers and sellers to plan their supply and trading activities.

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