Iraq’s crude oil exports from its southern ports on the Gulf fell to 3.426mn bpd in February, the oil ministry said last week, down from 3.49mn bpd in January. Opec’s second-largest producer’s exports generated $5.7bn at a price of $60.137 per barrel, oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said in a statement. He attributed the drop in exports to February having three fewer days than January.No sales were made from the Kirkuk oilfields in the north, he said.
Kirkuk crude sales have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the oilfields from the Kurds in October in response to Kurdish independence referendum. Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk in 2014, when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of the Islamic State. The Kurdish move prevented the militants from seizing the region’s oilfields. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said last Tuesday his government had agreed with Kurdish regional authorities to resume Kirkuk oil exports through Turkey’s Ceyhan port soon but gave no precise timeline for restarting the flow.
A spokesman for Abadi told Reuters on Wednesday the agreement was “preliminary” but that the federal oil ministry and its regional counterpart still had to work out the technical details. There has been no official Kurdish comment on the agreement. Separately, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari said in Moscow on Wednesday Baghdad is open to doing business with any company interested in supporting the country, answering a question about the activities of Russia’s Rosneft in the region. “We are not closing doors for any company, which wants to help us,” he told a news conference, responding to a question about a report in Russian media that Igor Sechin, the head of oil giant Rosneft, may visit Iraq.
Sources and Photo-credits: Gulf Times