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Iraq to Cut September Basrah Light Crude Exports to 20-Month Low

Iraq will reduce daily exports of Basrah Light crude from the Persian Gulf in September to the lowest in at least 20 months, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Middle Eastern producer, the largest in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, will ship about 52.86 million barrels, or 1.76 million barrels a day, from the Basrah Oil Terminal, according to the plan. This is the lowest since at least February 2012 when Bloomberg started tracking the data and compares with 2.09 million a day this month.

Basrah Light shipments were forecast to drop by about 500,000 barrels a day in September because of planned infrastructure work at the terminals by State Oil Marketing Organization, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Aug. 9. Iraq will boost exports next month, an Oil Ministry official said Aug. 16. Brent crude jumped 7.3 percent to about $115.50 a barrel today on supply cuts in Iraq and Libya, and speculation that fighting in Syria may escalate.

“Volumes will be curtailed only in September but the fear is the shut-in could drag on for months given the scope of the work as well as the country’s poor record of delivering projects on time,” the IEA said. “The plans call for one of the two floating Single Point Moorings to be shut for between 30 and 45 days so that work can proceed on connecting a newly installed metering and manifold platform.”

The maintenance works are routine and won’t affect export levels, said Asim Jihad, an Iraq oil ministry spokesman.

The shipping schedule comprises 20 cargoes of 2 million barrels each, 10 consignments of 1 million barrels and four of 715,000 barrels.

Iraqi exports of Kirkuk blend via the Turkish port of Ceyhan will drop to the lowest in two years, according to a separate loading schedule.

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

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