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Iraqi crude exports fall in Nov but output largely steady: SOMO

Iraqi oil exports in November fell 80,000 b/d to 3.809 million b/d as a rise in flows from the Kurdistan region was offset by a fall in loadings from the Persian Gulf terminals due to rough weather, the country’s State Oil Marketing Organization said.

Despite a rise in exports, November crude oil production was only marginally down, averaging 4.455 million b/d compared with 4.46 million b/d the previous month, SOMO said in a document sent to S&P Global Platts.

The country’s oil ministry said last week that federal crude oil exports in November from Iraq’s southern Persian Gulf terminals and Ceyhan had fallen to a seven-month low of 3.3372 million b/d.

This latest data implies that exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which are moved via pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey, totaled 437,000 b/d in November compared with 420,000 b/d the previous month.

SOMO’s November figure puts total domestic consumption, for power generation and refining, at 646,000 b/d, compared with 571,000 b/d and 507,000 b/d in October and September respectively.

Federal Iraq saw its first exports from Ceyhan last month since this was suspended unilaterally by the semi-autonomous KRG in June 2017. The federal government and the KRG agreed to a tentative deal in mid-November under which the latter has given assurances that it will transfer all federal Iraqi crude to storage tanks operated by North Oil Company at Ceyhan for SOMO to sell.

Iraqi crude output dropped 50,000 b/d to 4.57 million b/d in November, the lowest since July, according to latest Platts OPEC Survey data, as bad weather affected loadings from the southern port of Basra.

The country continues to target a production capacity of 5 million b/d for next year, according to its oil minister.

“As a capacity we hope we can do it next year we have planned increase in capacity of 300,000 b/d [for next year],” Thamir Ghadhban told reporters ahead of last week’s OPEC meeting.

“Most of this will come from the fields in the south… the biggest gains will come from Rumaila, West Qurna 1, West Qurna 2, Zubair and Majnoon, so there will be gains from all of those major fields.”

On Friday, OPEC and its allies led by Russia agreed to cut 1.2 million b/d of production from January 2019 to shore up flagging oil prices and prevent a supply surplus building. OPEC would cut 800,000 b/d under the deal, or 2.5% of production for each member, with the 10 non-OPEC partners slashing 400,000 b/d, or 2%.

Ghadhban told reporters that Iraq had pledged to cut 140,000 b/d from its October output baseline.
Source: Platts

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