Iraq 'producing 3.125mn b/d, excluding KRG'
Vienna, 30 May (Argus) — Iraq's oil minister Abdul Karim Luaibi said today that the country is currently producing 3.125mn b/d, excluding volumes produced in the semi-autonomous northern region, and will increase production capacity by 400,000 b/d by the end of the year.
Argus estimates that Iraq's total production in April was 3.25mn b/d.
An ongoing payment dispute between the Kurdish Regional Government and Baghdad means the northern region is not producing crude for export through the Kirkuk to Ceyhan pipeline. Reduced production from the region is primarily going to local refineries with some volumes trucked to Turkey, against Baghdad's wishes.
Luaibi said 100,000 b/d would come on stream at the Majnoon field in Iraq “within days” and would rise to 175,000 b/d by the end of this year. Shell and partner Petronas of Malaysia re-iterated in March its pledge to boost capacity at Majnoon to 1.8mn b/d by 2017 and maintain that level for 10 years. But Iraq is negotiating a lower output level over a longer plateau period with Shell at Majnoon as it re-evaluates its overall production target in the light of Opec price-defence policies and infrastructural constraints.
The minister also said, today, that he expects first oil at the Malaysian Petronas-operated Gharraf field by the end of the year. Iraq has previously said that Petronas and Tokyo-listed upstream producer Japex are contracted to produce 230,000 b/d by 2017 from Gharraf and the field will produce 100,000 b/d by mid-2013.
First oil is expected at West Qurna 2 by the year's end, as well, he said, in line with Russian private-sector oil firm Lukoil's guidance in March. Lukoil said the field will produce around 120,000 b/d by the end of the year or early 2014.
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