Iraqi crude output in January below Opec+ quota

  • Market: Crude oil
  • 02/06/23

Iraq's crude production fell by 100,000 b/d on the month in January, according to state-owned oil marketing firm Somo, leaving the country well short of its output quota for the month under the Opec+ production restraint deal.

Production was 4.331mn b/d in January, Somo said, down from 4.431mn b/d in December that was in line with its quota.

Iraq's January output is its lowest for any month since March 2022 and came as adverse weather affected export loadings for "five to six days" at the southern Basrah oil terminal, Somo said. On some of these days loading operations had to be stopped fully, and on others partially, Somo said, resulting in a near 80,000 b/d monthly fall in exports from the terminal to 3.176mn b/d.

This contributed to a fall in Iraq's overall exports to 3.624mn b/d in January, from 3.749mn b/d in December. The figures include the Kirkuk blend supplies sold by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which fell to 376,000 b/d from 417,000 b/d. Shipments to Jordan stayed constant at 10,000 b/d in January.

Iraq also saw a marked 60,000 b/d fall in crude supplied to refineries, to 584,000 b/d, because of partial outages at several plants in the country. Somo said it supplied around 35,000 b/d less to the "Kar refineries" in Iraqi Kurdistan, which comprise the 100,000 b/d Kalak and 60,000 b/d Nineveh plants, because of an outage that began on 17 January and is scheduled to continue until 20 February. Somo typically feeds the Kar complex with Kirkuk crude.

Somo also said it supplied around 15,000 b/d less to the Al Sumud refinery because of a separate outage, and around 10,000 b/d less to "other refineries."

This represents a third consecutive month in which Iraq has reduced refinery runs, and is largely in line with a plan, communicated to Argus in October, to deliver its share of the 2mn b/d Opec+ production cut by limiting refinery runs, rather than lowering exports.

Crude burn stood at around 15,000 b/d, Somo said, in line with December.

Iraq is likely to again fall short of its 4.431mn b/d Opec+ quota in February because of planned 10-day maintenance at the giant 400,000 b/d West Qurna 2 field. It is due to begin on 20 February and last through 2 March, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. The shutdown will result in an estimated 114,000 b/d fall in overall production on average for the month.


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