Iraq reviews Kirkuk oil exports with Turkey

21 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq is reviewing options with Turkey to get oil from a northern field to a port on the Mediterranean Sea.  Getting oil flowing again from the fields in Kirkuk in northern Iraq to a Turkish seaport is the first order of business, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said. Representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Energy met in Baghdad on Sunday with their Iraqi counterparts and members of the Iraqi state oil marketing company. According to the Iraqi ministry spokesman Assim Jihad, oil in Kirkuk was high on the agenda. “Restarting the Iraqi oil exportation from Kirkuk fields via Ceyhan port was the first issue [discussed,] ” a ministry statement read. Crude oil from northern Iraq flows primarily by truck and through a pipeline from territory controlled officially by the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to a Turkish seaport. A second pipeline […]

Iraq Is Giving OPEC a Headache

21 Nov 2017   Iraq, OPEC

Disruptions to Iraqi output and sales seen persisting to 2018 OPEC has to consider political risk pushing up prices: Yergin OPEC has an Iraq problem: the group’s second-biggest exporter is lurching between quota busting and production-crimping crisis, clouding the policy-making picture as ministers decide how long they need to extend output curbs. After consistently exceeding its output quota all year, Iraqi production plunged in October when clashes between the federal army and fighters from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region disrupted fields in the disputed Kirkuk province. While the conflict has calmed, exports from Iraq’s northern fields remained 40 percent lower in the first half of November than before the fighting, tanker tracking data show. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, due to meet next week in Vienna, is already grappling with volatile production in Nigeria and Libya, and Iraq adds another layer of unpredictability. For policy makers, the short-term disruption […]

Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors

21 Nov 2017   Iraq

Royal Dutch Shell is slated to exit the play in southern Iraq by June 2018, paving the way for other oil majors to take its place. American Chevron and French Total had both been eager to work on Majnoon as well, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi said last month. The field’s reserves are estimated at 38 billion barrels of crude oil. Reports emerged mid-September that Shell was looking to quit the field, but al-Luiebi claimed that negotiations between Baghdad and Shell over the field were ongoing and that it was not in talks with other companies. One oil official close to the matter, according to Reuters, said that BP and Eni had approached the oil ministry in October to express interest in developing Majnoon after Shell quits it. Neither European oil giant was available for immediate comment, though two other officials in Baghdad confirmed the companies’ interest. […]

South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop

21 Nov 2017   Iraq

Between November 1 and 20, Iraq’s crude oil exports from the south averaged 3.5 million bpd, up by 150,000 bpd from October and close to record highs, as Baghdad tries to offset the drop in exports from the northern route from Kirkuk to Ceyhan after Iraqi forces reclaimed control of Kirkuk oil fields from Kurdish forces in mid-October. According to shipping data tracked by Reuters and to an industry source tracking, the southern Iraqi exports so far this month have been just below the 3.51 million bpd record of December last year, when Iraq exported the highest volume out of the south before the OPEC production cuts kicked in from January this year. “It seems they managed to get there,” the industry source told Reuters, referring to Iraq’s ability to boost oil exports from the south to compensate for lost shipments in the north. Still, so far this month, […]

Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk

21 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq’s security forces have found mass graves inside oil wells in an area in northeastern Iraq close to the oil-rich Kirkuk, and they believe the bodies are of civilians executed by ISIS, a security source told local media on Monday. Iraq will now collect DNA samples to identify the victims, the security source told The Baghdad Post. This is not the first time a mass grave has been uncovered by Iraqi forces who have recaptured almost all of Iraq’s territory formerly held by ISIS militants. A week ago, Iraqi authorities said that mass graves full of bodies of civilians executed by Islamic State terrorists were found in the province of Kirkuk. In 2014, the oil-rich Kirkuk was overran by ISIS who drove Iraqi forces out of the city. But the Kurdish Peshmerga forces expelled ISIS out of Kirkuk and had held the city for more than two years before […]

Iraq Struggles To Keep Oil Exports Elevated

18 Nov 2017   Iraq

Since the Kurdish referendum in late September, when Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence from Iraq, there has been a drop in crude flows through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, as tension has ratcheted up in the region. After exports from Ceyhan averaged 540,000 bpd through the first nine months of the year, loadings of Kirkuk crude dropped to 430,000 bpd in October, and are lower once again in November, after Iraqi government forces reclaimed Kurdish oil fields last month. The Iraqi oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, announced last week a preliminary agreement to export oil from the Kirkuk oil fields to Iran . Until a pipeline is constructed to move the crude, the oil will be transported via tank trucks. The leading destinations for Kirkuk crude are Israel, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Spain, which account for eighty percent of flows (hark, below). (Click to enlarge) Jabar Al-Luaibi also announced last week […]

Akkas secure, but dangers remain

17 Nov 2017   Iraq

Gas field facilities have been ravaged and booby-trapped by IS militants, and tensions are mounting between rival security forces.  Iraqi federal forces have secured the Akkas gas field and its surroundings from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group, but the damage is extensive and the area is likely to remain volatile. “Everything is booby-trapped, even the workers’ accommodations, the road, the entrances,” said an officer from the Iraqi Army’s 8th Division. He said that over 100 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been defused at Akkas so far. This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Falling Iraqi Oil Output Drags OPEC Production Down

16 Nov 2017   Iraq

All data is through October 2017 and is in thousand barrels per day. (Click to enlarge) I have now included Equatorial Guinea although I only have data from January 2015 from OPEC’s secondary sources. The January 2015 E. Guinea data was extended back to January 2005. I know this is inaccurate but production from E. Guinea is so small it will make little difference. (Click to enlarge) OPEC crude oil production dropped by 151,000 barrels per day in October. (Click to enlarge) Algeria took a hit in October, down 38,400 bpd. (Click to enlarge) Angola was up almost 70,000 bpd in October. (Click to enlarge) Not much is happening in Ecuador. They were up 7,100 bpd in October. (Click to enlarge) I do not have historical data for Equatorial Guinea. The OPEC MOMR gives average annual production data for 2015 and 2016 and quarterly data for the first two […]

Oil Seen As Real Prize of Iran’s Kurdish Adventure

15 Nov 2017   Iran, Iraq

After helping Iraq stifle a Kurdish push for independence, Iran is now positioning itself to take control of oil exports from the region’s giant Kirkuk field, with the first deliveries expected within days, officials and trading sources said. In the weeks since September’s failed Kurdish independence referendum, Iraq has agreed for the first time to divert crude from Kirkuk province, which it retook from the Kurds, to Iran, where it will supply a refinery in the city of Kermanshah. Iran is locked in a proxy war with its regional rival and U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. As well as Iraq, it has been extending its influence in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, raising increasing concerns in Washington and Riyadh. Under […]

Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development

15 Nov 2017   Iraq

Haider Al-Abadi . “Oil prices are not at the required level to be used for sustainable development,” state TV quoted al-Abadi as saying during a press conference. Iraq proclaimed itself victorious earlier this year after a three-year, hard-fought war against the terrorist Islamic State. The victory freed up some money—but not enough—for reconstructing the nation after almost 15 years after the demise of dictator Saddam Hussain and the fall of his regime. The oil price crash of 2014 has made it difficult for fossil-fuel dependent countries to provide key government services to its citizens, and Iraq was not immune. In Iraq, years of financial mismanagement and domestic conflict exacerbated existing civil governance issues. Just over a month has passed since the Kurdish referendum, which resulted in a near-unanimous vote for the Kurdistan Regional Government to secede from Iraq. Baghdad has not accepted the results of the vote, moving instead […]

Iraq aims to increase Kirkuk oilfield output to 1 million bpd: statement

13 Nov 2017   Iraq

Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said Iraq plans to increase production from oilfields in Kirkuk to one million barrels per day and has visited the Bai Hasan and Avana fields to order work be accelerated to restore operations soon, the ministry’s spokesman said on Monday. Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds last month. On October 17, Iraqi forces took control of the Bai Hasan and Avana oil fields northwest of Kirkuk, after Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pulled out from the region, security sources said. On Nov. 2, the oil ministry requested that the Kurdish authorities allow Baghdad to use their pipeline to export Kirkuk crude but received no response, Asim Jihad told Reuters.

Kurdish oil export payments in line with average

11 Nov 2017   Iraq

Companies working inside Kurdish territory in northern Iraq report oil export payments in line with historic norms. Photo courtesy of Genel Energy. Nov. 10 (UPI) — Energy companies working inside Kurdish territory in northern Iraq reported payments received by the government for exports that appeared within historic norms. Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which operates the Shaikan oil field in the Kurdish north, reported payments for crude oil exports for July at a gross $15 million. The sales total, of which $12 million is net to Gulf Keystone Petroleum, is consistent with the export payment received by the Kurdistan Regional Government in June. Separately, Norwegian oil and gas company DNO, which operates the Tawke license area in Kurdish territory, reported Friday it received $46.53 million for exports from August. DNO also received another $4.27 million from the KRG, which represents its 3 percent of the Tawke license revenues. DNO shares the […]

Iran to facilitate Kirkuk exports

11 Nov 2017   Iran, Iraq

By trucking crude to Iran, the Oil Ministry would reduce dependence on the KRG-controlled export system and open a new outlet for Kirkuk oil that is currently stranded. Deputy Oil Minister Karim Hattab (left), acting Kirkuk Gov. Rakan al-Jabouri (center) and North Oil Company Director General Farid al-Jadir (right) lead a meeting with senior provincial oil, security and administrative officials on Nov. 7. Among the topics: speeding up oil field and pipelines development. (Source: Kirkuk governor’s office) Iraq has announced a preliminary deal to export as much as 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Kirkuk oil by truck to Iran, potentially leading to the construction of a long-discussed oil pipeline. If implemented, the agreement would provide Iraq’s federal government with a new alternative for monetizing oil produced in Kirkuk – reducing Baghdad’s dependence on the northern export system to Turkey’s Ceyhan port that is currently controlled by the Kurdistan […]

DNO says Kurdish oil operations continuing without interruption

10 Nov 2017   Iraq

Norwegian oil and gas company DNO said it’s operations in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq were proceeding as normal. Photo courtesy of DNO. Nov. 9 (UPI) — Norwegian oil and gas company DNO said Thursday it was moving full speed ahead in the Kurdish north of Iraq, with operations proceeding without interruption. The company said its operating profit soared in the third quarter and revenues improved year-on-year. Third quarter revenue of $73 million was down 11 percent from the previous term, but 48 percent higher than the same period last year. DNO said third quarter production averaged 115,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Kurdish assets represented the clear majority of the company’s portfolio, with output at 110,500 barrels per day during the quarter. The company in September assumed the role of operator after acquiring 50 percent of Exxon Mobil’s stake in the Baeshiqa reserve area, but conceded […]

Kurdish government postpones London oil and gas show

9 Nov 2017   Iraq

An oil and gas conference meant to showcase opportunities in the Kurdish north of Iraq is cancelled because of regional circumstances, the government said. The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said that “due to the current logistical and other circumstances” in the region, it could no longer support the CWC Kurdistan-Iraq Oil and Gas conference in December in London. “The ministry has suggested that CWC postpone the conference to the first quarter of 2018, and we hope to see the conference participants at a rescheduled date,” the government stated. Fighting escalated in October between Iraqi and Kurdish military forces, weeks after a controversial Kurdish referendum for independence. The Kurdish referendum coincided more or less with the liberation of parts […]

The Kurdish Oil Gamble Has Backfired

9 Nov 2017   Iraq

Since September’s independence referendum and October’s dramatic Kirkuk re-capture by Iraqi troops, the drama over Kurdish oil continues, with new developments occurring early this week. On Sunday, the government of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq indicated it was prepared to hand over oil facilities, airports, border points and state revenue to Baghdad, provided the central Iraqi government agreed to hand over the Kurdish share of the national budget. The long-running dispute over the country’s oil revenues is at the center of tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region. Since 2014, Iraq hasn’t shared of its oil revenues with Kurdistan, and the autonomous region signed its own oil deals and funded itself independently. For a time, the Kurds were able to entice major oil companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total SA with lucrative offers, persuading them to ignore the threats of legal action from the […]

Shell To Hand Over Majnoon Stake To Iraq’s Basra Oil By 2018

9 Nov 2017   Iraq

After months of negotiations, Shell has agreed to hand over its stake in Iraq’s large Majnoon oil field to state-held Basra Oil Company by the end of the first half next year, two officials close to the talks told Reuters on Wednesday. At the Majnoon oilfield near Basra in southern Iraq, Shell is currently the operator and holder of a 45 percent stake, with Malaysia’s Petronas owning 30 percent, and Iraq’s Missan Oil Company holding the remaining 25 percent. The oilfield started production in 2014 and now produces an average of 210,000 bpd, according to Shell’s website. Reports emerged in September that Shell had decided to sell its interest in the Majnoon field after the oil major and Iraq failed to agree on future production plans and investments budgets. “We respect your desire and decision to seek an acceptable end of Shell Iraq Petroleum Development SIPD’s interest in Majnoon,” […]

Can Iraq Dethrone Saudi Arabia In This Crucial Oil Market?

8 Nov 2017   Iraq, Saudi Arabia

We’ve been harping on in recent weeks about how Saudi has been slashing crude flows to North America, but as we can see in our ClipperData below, it has been cutting flows to other key markets too. The chart below highlights the hangover from Saudi Arabia’s late 2016 export ramp-up, which translated into a big year-on-year increase in January deliveries of 730,000 bpd into Saudi’s top five suppliers. South Korea was the biggest beneficiary, accounting for nearly a half of this increase. But as we have moved through 2017, the year-on-year increases have turned into deficits – with the drop in flows to the U.S. particularly pronounced. Japan has seen deliveries hold up best, receiving more crude on a year-over-year basis for the past four consecutive months. China has received less crude on a relative basis in four of the last five months, while South Korea has seen a […]

Weak U.S. demand for Basra crude wipes out premium for Iraq’s oil

4 Nov 2017   Iraq

 Iraqi Basra crude oil in November has sold at the widest discounts to official prices in more than a year, with cargoes that backed up after hurricanes hit the U.S. Gulf Coast facing competition from Mexican crude, trade sources said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: A worker walks at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra, Iraq December 21, 2015. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani/File Photo The drop in U.S. demand for Iraqi oil may impede the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer’s effort to increase exports from the southern port of Basra to make up for a shortfall from the north. Basra crude shipments have been backed up after four hurricanes disrupted arrivals in the U.S. Gulf between August and October. More than 22 million barrels of Basra crude were due to land in the United States in each of October and November, trade flow data […]

Smuggling busts implicate Basra crime rings

4 Nov 2017   Iraq

Oil smugglers in southern Iraq are continuing to steal crude and other oil products from southern pipelines, despite a ramp-up in security measures and calls from local leaders to curb the crime. The latest smuggling operation to be uncovered, in late October, targeted an oil pipeline from the Rumaila oil field.

Iraq defends oil sector transparency

3 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq said it was in a unique position as an oil producer in the region with its steadfast commitment to supporting transparency in the industry. Iraqi Oil Ministry officials said Thursday the government was committed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Overall, the Iraqi oil minister said its release of information “always” included export data and its contribution to transparency was unparalleled in the region. The EITI said last week that Iraq had made encouraging steps toward transparency in its oil exports, but was short of what’s needed to demonstrate adequate progress. “Iraq will have 18 months to carry out corrective actions and will be temporarily suspended in the meantime,” the EITI board said in a statement . Oil accounts for […]

Kurdistan Accuses Iraq Of Dishonesty After Kirkuk Attack

3 Nov 2017   Iraq

al-Masdar news . The Iraqi military’s attacks on Kurdish targets show “ongoing military aggression and unconstitutional demands”, the Peshmarga says. The Kurdish military says it has been put in the defensive position since Baghdad decided to wage a war against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to recapture parts of Kirkuk’s oilfields. Crude oil from northern Iraq, including from the Kurdistan region, stopped flowing from the oil pipeline between Kirkuk and the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan early on Monday local time, Bloomberg reports, citing a port agent. Following the Kurdistan region’s referendum which Iraq did not recognize, Iraq’s government forces completed in mid-October an operation to seize control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in the oil-rich Kirkuk region from Kurdish forces. A day later, disruptions in oil flows started, with reports that the flow of crude oil from Kirkuk to Ceyhan had plummeted […]

Iraq seeks to reshape northern oil sector

3 Nov 2017   Iraq

 Iraq is in the process of adjusting to a paradigm shift in its northern oil sector, after the federal government took control of Kirkuk following an Oct. 16 military operation. While Iraq currently has no efficient export route for Kirkuk oil other than Kurdistan’s export pipeline, Baghdad is trying to increase its leverage over the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) while also seeking alternative outlets for northern oil production.

Iraq wants control of Kurdish region’s oil exports: state firm

3 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq wants the Kurdistan region to stop independent crude exports and to hand over sales operations to the Iraqi state-oil marketer SOMO, the company’s director said on Thursday. Iraq is talking to Turkey to allow SOMO to sell the Kurdish crude that arrives by pipeline in Ceyhan, the Turkish terminal on the Mediterranean, acting SOMO director general Alaa al-Yasiri told reporters in Baghdad. Sponsored About 530,000 barrels per day (bpd) used to arrive in Ceyhan via the pipeline until mid-October, of which about half came from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s oilfields and the rest from Kirkuk, a disputed province claimed by both the Kurdish region and Iraqi authorities in Baghdad. Output from Kirkuk fell in mid-October, when Iraqi forces took back control of the northern region’s oilfields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014. Kurdish Peshmerga forces deployed in Kirkuk in 2014, when the […]

Tensions Rise As Iraq Halts Kirkuk Oil Exports

2 Nov 2017   Iraq

Since the Iraqi army took control of the fields in the oil-rich Kirkuk area in mid-October, reports of disruptions in oil flows have been a daily occurrence, but now, according to an official at the Kirkuk provincial council, Iraq’s oil ministry has ordered a stop to all oil exports from Kirkuk’s oil fields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.  “The halt is not a technical issue,” Ahmed Askari, head of the oil and gas committee at the Kirkuk Provincial Council, told Kurdish news outlet Rudaw.“Because we have asked and it turned out there was no issue,” he added.The reason for the decision is not clear yet, Askari told Rudaw.

Since Iraq’s government forces completed in mid-October an operation to seize control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in the oil-rich Kirkuk region from Kurdish forces, oil exports to Ceyhan from Kirkuk fields have reduced to 70,000 bpd, but now even that amount has been halted, according to Askari.  Oil production in the Kirkuk area continues at the Baba Gurgur, Khabbaz, and Jambour oil fields, but only insofar as to meet demand from local refineries, according to the official.The North Oil Company (NOC) has stopped feeding crude oil into the export pipeline.

Baghdad halts Kirkuk oil exports to Turkey

2 Nov 2017   Iraq

Days after the federal North Oil Company restarted exports through the KRG-controlled pipeline, the Oil Ministry ordered a stop. The Jabal Bor production and gas oil separation stations of Kirkuk’s Baba Dome on March 10, 2016. Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC) has stopped pumping crude into the export pipeline controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). “The stoppage was upon the order of the Oil Ministry and we don’t know the reason,” a senior NOC official said. The export flows were halted on Sunday.

Iraq takes Akkas gas field from Islamic State control

2 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraqi security forces are gaining control of the Akkas gas field, as they prosecute the final phase of an offensive to dislodge the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group from the deserts of western Anbar province. “Engineering teams from the [Iraqi Army’s] 7th Division are working on defusing improvised explosive devices, so security forces can advance and retake the whole field,” said Abu Mahath al-Jughaifi, one of the leaders of a tribal paramilitary operating under the government’s al-Hashid al-Shabi (Popular Mobilization) program, in a Tuesday interview. This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Baghdad halts Kirkuk oil exports to Turkey

1 Nov 2017   Iraq

Days after the federal North Oil Company restarted exports through the KRG-controlled pipeline, the Oil Ministry ordered a stop.  Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC) has stopped pumping crude into the export pipeline controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). “The stoppage was upon the order of the Oil Ministry and we don’t know the reason,” a senior NOC official said. The export flows were halted on Sunday.

Iraq’s Kurds Resume Pumping Oil by Pipeline to Turkish Port

31 Oct 2017   Iraq, Turkey

Kurd region exported 264,000 barrels a day before brief halt Latest stoppage came after Iraq retook Kirkuk area from Kurds Oil exports resumed from Iraq’s Kurdish region after halting earlier Monday, a port agent said, highlighting uncertainty about pipeline shipments from OPEC’s second-biggest producer. Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurds began pumping oil again to Ceyhan, Turkey, at about 1:25 p.m. local time after Kurdish crude stopped arriving at the Mediterranean port at 4 a.m. the port agent said by email. The amount of oil flowing wasn’t immediately available, the agent said. The halt came days after Iraqi troops captured oil fields from Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq’s disputed Kirkuk province. Shipments by pipeline averaged 264,000 barrels a day before the stoppage, less than half their normal daily level of 600,000 barrels. Exports from Kirkuk, which had been flowing through the same pipeline network to Ceyhan, remained halted as of Monday, the […]

Iraqi Pipeline Disruption Takes 250,000 Bpd Off The Market

31 Oct 2017   Iraq

Crude oil from northern Iraq, including from the Kurdistan region, stopped flowing from the oil pipeline between Kirkuk and the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan early on Monday local time, Bloomberg reports, citing a port agent. According to a Kurdish shipping source who spoke to Reuters , the flows resumed on Monday after a technical stoppage for several hours that had completely halted the flow of crude. The flow was still reduced to 200,000-220,000 bpd, according to the source. The typical flow of the pipeline is some 600,000 bpd , and it has been used by both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central Iraqi government and its North Oil Company (NOC) for exports of crude oil from the fields in northern Iraq. However, following the Kurdistan region’s referendum which Iraq did not recognize, Iraq’s government forces completed in mid-October an operation to seize control of all oil […]

Violence Ensues Following Kurdistan President Resignation

31 Oct 2017   Iraq

Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani announced his resignation three days before the end of his term in office, with violence erupting against the autonomous region’s parliament, according to tweets from Erbil. A number of protesters stormed the parliament in Erbil while the legislators voted for distributing the presidential powers of Barzani among several agencies. Barzani said he remained committed to the Kurdish independence cause, adding he was confident that the nation will one day attain independence. The news comes after an Iraqi army offensive in the region that led to the takeover of Kirkuk, the center of northern Iraq’s oil industry and a city that the Kurds had control over outside the borders of the autonomous region. The Iraqi troops also took control of surrounding oil fields. The now former President noted in his speech that the Iraqi offensive would have happened even without the referendum. “Even if the referendum […]

Iraqi Kurds’ Independence Dreams Dashed as President Steps Down

30 Oct 2017   Iraq

Masoud Barzani, pictured voting in September’s Kurdistan independence referendum, will continue to play a role in politics without holding any formal position. The resignation is the latest fallout from the Sept. 25 referendum, which raised fears of a civil war between Kurds and Iraqis. Mr. Barzani insisted on holding the ballot despite objections from Baghdad, regional powers, the U.S. and even some of his own associates, who warned against alienating the Kurds’ allies and further antagonizing their enemies. The region voted last month for Kurdistan to secede but Iraq’s central government said the referendum was illegal. In response to the vote, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi mobilized troops to retake a vast swath of territory the Kurds had effectively annexed to their region in the north of the country. That changed the balance of power between Baghdad and the Kurds, also shaking up politics within the region, where Mr. […]

Turns Out, the US Does Have That Iraqi Oil

30 Oct 2017   Iraq

Before America’s Twitter-loving president made it to the Oval Office, a recurring theme was that the U.S. should have gotten hold of Iraq’s oil after toppling Saddam Hussein. There’s this: We should have gotten more of the oil in Syria, and we should have gotten more of the oil in Iraq. Dumb leaders. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2012 And this: I still canât believe we left Iraq without the oil. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2013 And don’t forget this: We should have taken the oil in Iraq, and now our mortal enemies have got it, and with no opposition. Really dumb U.S. pols! I’m so angry! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2014 Well here’s the thing. America has Iraqi oil. And the loser in all this turns out to be Donald Trump’s favorite Mideast nation. OK, U.S. refiners are buying the […]

Despite hostilities, northern exports flow

28 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC) has resumed pumping into regional refineries, the export pipeline controlled by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and into storage at the port of Ceyhan that has thus far remained under KRG administration. While the status quo may be untenable for long, the renewed flows signal that, despite political conflicts that recently exploded into open warfare, leaders in the federal government and KRG are at least willing to cooperate when it comes to oil.

Iraq Takes Saudi’s Spot As #2 Oil Exporter To U.S.

28 Oct 2017   Iraq, Saudi Arabia

Iraq last month become the second-largest crude oil exporter to the United States, overtaking its southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia, and is on track to repeat this performance this month as well, customs data compiled by Bloomberg and figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggest. Iraq, Bloomberg’s data showed, shipped 18.8 million barrels to the U.S. in September, while Saudi exports to this destination came in 2.9 million bpd lower. Since the start of October, Saudi oil exports to the U.S. have been 3.2 million barrels below shipments from Iraq. Last week, the EIA said, Iraqi exports came in at 1.072 million barrels per day, versus 569,900 barrels per day from Saudi Arabia. The week before, Iraq exported just 423,000 bpd to the U.S. Saudi Arabia has been the second-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States for more than two decades, with Canada holding the top spot. […]

Iraq Begins Pumping Kirkuk Oil From KRG Pipeline

27 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraq will begin pumping oil from Kirkuk once again , just a week after clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces forced production in certain parts of the No.2 OPEC producer to shutter. Baghdad began pumping crude from the Avana field in Kirkuk through a pipeline controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which voted to gain independence from Iraq a month ago. The flow rate reached 90,000 barrels per day on Wednesday, sources told Bloomberg. This crude will be sold through SOMO, the Iraqi government’s main oil marketing company. Baghdad had been on track to continue its production recovery before the independence referendum last month, but since the clashes, exports from northern Iraq have fallen by more than half from 600,000 barrels per day. Reports from earlier today say the Iraqi government’s North Oil Co. and Kurdish Kar Group had been cooperating on pumping the oil from two fields […]

Federal forces launch offensive for Feyshkabour

27 Oct 2017   Iraq

 Federal Iraqi troops attempted to gain control over a strategically important piece of territory at the intersection of the Iraqi, Syrian, and Turkish borders on Thursday, sparking a fight with Kurdish Peshmerga forces. If the operation succeeds, Baghdad would gain the power to sever the oil pipeline link between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey, which would further undermine the KRG’s prospects for economic independence and oil sector autonomy.

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Iraq And Kurdistan To Collaborate On Oil Production

26 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi government-owned North Oil Co. and Kurdish Kar Group are cooperating on pumping the oil from two fields that halted operations following the government military action to take it over from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Kurdistan forces had been there since 2014 when they ousted Islamic State militants. The Bai Hassan and Avana oil fields near Kirkuk have been shut since October 19 th , keeping at least 275,000 bpd offline. The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, operated by KAR Group, saw flows fall to 196,000 barrels a day last Thursday—down from 225,000 barrels per day the day before. Normal, non-wartime scenarios peg flow at 600,000 barrels per day. Civilian workers at both fields were reportedly sent home following a build-up of Iraqi military forces around the sites. Oil Ministry engineers worked to replace computers and other critical equipment missing from oil fields. Over the weekend, Iraqi authorities said they increased oil […]

Iraq Conflict Won’t Trigger Oil Rally

26 Oct 2017   Iraq

The standoff between the Iraqi government and Kurdistan over the past month helped push up oil prices, due to the idling of a sizable portion of the country’s crude oil exports. But Iraq probably won’t be the spark that starts a new bull run for crude oil. The seizure of the Kirkuk oil fields a few weeks ago, coming on the heels of the Kurdish referendum for independence, led to a temporary sidelining of some 400,000 bpd . The oil fields near Kirkuk—the Bai Hassan and Avana fields—are still reportedly not exporting crude, but that could soon change. In a humiliating climbdown, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has proposed a ceasefire with Baghdad, offering to freeze the results of the independence referendum. It’s largely an admission of defeat for the semi-autonomous region in Iraq—a recognition that the drive for independence has backfired. Kurdistan has become internationally isolated and has […]

Fear of Iranian general left Iraqi Kurdish oil fields deserted

26 Oct 2017   Iran, Iraq

When the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shi‘ite militia entered a key oil processing facility in Iraq’s north to retake it from Kurdish Peshmerga forces last week, the installation was deserted and its alarm bells ringing. FILE PHOTO: An Iraqi flag is seen on a military vehicle at an oil field in Dibis area on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani/File Photo Engineers and workers on the facility, which processes oil from two major fields in the Kirkuk area of predominantly Sunni Kurdistan, had fled, fearing the military advance. “No one wanted to risk their life and decided to evacuate as stories about the Shi‘ite militia and Qassem Soleimani were spreading fast,” said a senior Kurdish oil industry source, referring to the head of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. The source declined to be identified. Iraqi engineers arrived to the sound […]

With more oil assets threatened, KRG proposes truce

26 Oct 2017   Iraq

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has offered to “freeze the results” of its Sept. 25 independence referendum – the first formal proposal since the federal government 10 days ago reclaimed authority over Kirkuk province and other disputed territories . With one federal paramilitary commander threatening to retake Feyshkabour – where the Iraqi, Turkish and Kurdistan export pipelines meet – it’s unclear just how far Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is planning to push back the KRG’s line of control, and what the Kurdish response will be.

Kurdistan Proposes Immediate Ceasefire With Iraq

26 Oct 2017   Iraq

The Kurdistan Regional Government has proposed to Baghdad an immediate ceasefire after more than a week of fighting following a decision by Baghdad to retake control of disputed Kirkuk and the oil fields around it. The decision was triggered by Kurdistan’s insistence to implement the results of an independence referendum that took place at the end of September. In the course of the clashes these last few days, Iraqi forces along with Iran-backed militias retook both Kirkuk and a number of oil fields around the city. Exports of crude from Kurdistan fell by more than half, to 200,000-250,000 bpd from 600,000 bpd. What’s more, Baghdad built a new crude oil loading point on its southern coast to offset the loss of exports via the Kurdistan-Ceyhan pipeline, which probably contributed to Erbil’s decision to propose a ceasefire. Additionally, there has been talk between Iraq and Turkey about restarting a decades-old […]

Kurdish government proposes end to independence push

26 Oct 2017   Iraq

With oil the source of regional disputes, the semiautonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq said it was backing off its ambitions for independence. The Kurdistan Regional Government said in statements published Wednesday that greater Iraq and the self-governed Kurdish provinces were faced with “grave and dangerous” circumstances that followed a contentious referendum for Kurdish independence. The referendum coincided more or less with the liberation of Mosul and other key areas of northern Iraq from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State , known variably as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. Liberation prompted a reconstruction effort by the Iraqi government. After tensions escalated in the wake of the referendum, Iraqi forces in early October wrestled control over oil fields in the disputed […]

Iraq expands southern export capacity

25 Oct 2017   Iraq

Basra Gulf terminals increase loading capabilities ahead of plans to boost exports. Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Karim Hattab inspects the Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal on June 11, 2017. (Source: Iraq Oil Ministry press office) BASRA – Iraq has started operating a fourth single point mooring (SPM) buoy and brought back the Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) after 10 months offline, adding more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of potential export capacity, though onshore bottlenecks mean that only a fraction of that will be immediately available. The additional SPM alone may help increase southern Iraq exports by 200,000 bpd, which Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi ordered according to an Oil Ministry statement over the weekend.

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300,000 Bpd Offline As Kurdistan Conflict Continues

24 Oct 2017   Iraq

Crude oil flows from Kurdistan to Turkey’s port city of Ceyhan continued at rates of between 200,000 and 250,000 bpd over the weekend, versus a normal flow of between 550,000 and 600,000 bpd, sources from the shipping industry told Reuters. Last week, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi ordered state-held oil and pipeline companies to begin restoring oil flows from Kirkuk to Ceyhan via a pipeline that bypasses Kurdistan, increasing pressure on the breakaway region, but this has apparently not happened yet. Exports of Kurdish crude began declining last week, after the Iraqi army took over the city of Kirkuk, the oil center of northern Iraq, and surrounding fields. Following the takeover, Kurdistan’s oil minister made a special plea to international oil companies to not quit Kurdish oil, which is essential for the security of the autonomous region. “I plead with you not to forget Kurdistan . The fight [against […]

Iraq asks BP to boost oil production from Kirkuk: spokesman

24 Oct 2017   Iraq, United Kingdom

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi met a senior BP executive on Monday to discuss developing and boosting production from Kirkuk oilfield, a ministry spokesman said.  Luaibi, who met BP’s president for the Middle East region Michael Townshend, has asked the British oil major to help increase output from Kirkuk oilfield to more than 700,000 barrels per day, the spokesman said.  “The minister is very keen to rehabilitate the Kirkuk oilfield and raise production from there as soon as possible,” spokesman Asim Jihad told Reuters.  The oil minister discussed reactivating a deal signed in 2013 with BP to revive Iraq’s northern Kirkuk oilfield and help Baghdad arrest a huge decline in output from Kirkuk and increase production to higher levels, said Jihad.

Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, still estimated to contain around 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to BP. BP has provided technical assistance in the past to the Iraqi state-owned North Oil Company to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field. “BP and the oil ministry will form a joint team to visit Kirkuk oilfield and study the situation on the ground to survey the oilfield,” said the spokesman without giving a timing for when the visit could happen. Kirkuk has become the key area of tensions between Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities since Iraqi Kurdistan held an independence referendum in September, triggering an angry response from Baghdad and neighboring Turkey and Iran.  Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces pulled out from Kirkuk oilfields last week as Iraqi military advanced on the area that is responsible for a half of Kurdistan’s oil production, or around 300,000 barrels per day.

Kremlin confirms respect for Iraq, after veiled warning on oil

24 Oct 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin respects Iraq’s sovereignty. Bilateral talks Monday came after Baghdad issued veiled warnings over oil contracts. After Iraq issued veiled warnings about oil work in the Kurdish north of Iraq, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday the Kremlin respects Iraq’s sovereignty. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari spoke Monday as his country copes with an uptick in violence in the northern provinces. Iraqi military forces pushed their Kurdish counterparts back into territory controlled by the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government following a contentious referendum for independence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin didn’t want to see Iraq create new fault lines in the weeks that followed the liberation of parts of northern Iraq from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State , known also as Daesh. “I want to confirm once again our […]

Iraq’s Kurdistan oil exports edge higher: shipping source

23 Oct 2017   Iraq

 Oil exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan via the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan have risen slightly to around 255,000 barrels per day (bpd), a shipping source told Reuters on Monday. Flows were fluctuating between 200,000 and 250,000 bpd the previous day, compared with normal flows of around 600,000 bpd.

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Iraqi Kurdish pipeline amid crisis

21 Oct 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft ( ROSN.MM ), has agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline, boosting its investment in the autonomous region to $3.5 billion despite Baghdad’s military action sparked by a Kurdish vote for independence.  The move appears to be part of a strategy by President Vladimir Putin to boost Moscow’s Middle Eastern political and economic influence, which was weakened by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rosneft’s investment comes amid a crisis in Kurdistan’s relations with the central government in Baghdad since the region held an independence referendum last month, which angered neighbors Iran and Turkey. The United States called the referendum a provocation but Moscow has effectively supported the vote, saying it understood Kurdish aspirations for […]

Kurds Protesting in Iraq Turn Their Anger Against U.S.

21 Oct 2017   Iraq, USA

Security forces standing guard as Iraqi Kurds take part in a demonstration outside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, on Friday. Many have questioned why U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t intervene to defend them against Iraqi forces, which include Shiite paramilitary groups—some of them backed by Iran. As the U.S. has sought to remain neutral in the latest conflict between the Kurds and Baghdad, Iraqi forces pushed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters out of much of the territory outside the official boundary of the Kurds’ semiautonomous region, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. In the eyes of many Kurds, Washington and Tehran were now on the same side against them. “America is allied with its own enemy,” said 24-year-old Dilshad Shahab, referring to Iran. “This is a duplicitous American policy we cannot get our heads around. We want clarification: are you a friend, or an […]