Northern Iraqi oil exports halted as production wanes

May 24, 2005 02:00 AM

A shortage of Kirkuk crude oil output has led to the suspension of Iraq's northern oil exports to the Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan in Turkey, an Iraqi oil official said. In the south, Iraq's oil output has fallen by nearly 190,000 bpd since on technical glitches, the official said.
"There has been no pumping from Kirkuk to Ceyhan since Saturday and the pipeline won't be pumping until probably Thursday," the official told, adding there isn't enough crude to pump. He said pumping has continued on and off and last time, the pipeline pumped a total of 200,000 barrels bringing stores of Kirkuk crude at Ceyhan export terminal to 2.2 mm barrel.

Iraqi officials say that Iraq's northern oil production has been averaging 500,000 bpd, of which about 380,000 bpd are being pumped to nearby refineries for domestic use. The remaining 120,000 bpd are kept in storage tanks at the pumping stations or at Beiji refinery.
Baghdad needs to fill its storage facilities in Ceyhan, whose capacity is estimatedat 7.6 mm barrel, before deciding how to sell the accumulated crude. Persistent sabotage of the pipeline network and facilities has kept Kirkuk exports shut in for most of this year barring a few days.

Meanwhile, production from the oil-rich south has fallen to 1.66 mm bpd from 1.85 mm bpd because of a failure of the gas separation stations at the southern oil fields, the official said. Oil exports from the south have been averaging 1.4 mm-1.5 mm bpd.
The technical problems aren't expected to impact exports immediately, because oil is held in storage near the offshore oil terminals. However, if the problems persist, exports will fall, the official said.

Source: Dow Jones
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