* May shipments at 2.6 mln bpd, flat vs April level
* Shell's Majnoon to resume operations at start of July
BAGHDAD May 26 Iraq oil exports averaged 2.6
million barrels per day (bpd) in May, affected by attacks on a
northern Kirkuk pipeline while production was 3.15 million bpd
for the month, the oil minister said on Sunday.
Iraq needs to boost exports to consolidate its position as
OPEC's second-largest producer, but infrastructure bottlenecks
and repeated attacks on its northern export line have so far
kept the country short of a 2013 target of 2.9 million bpd.
May exports are flat compared with the previous month's
shipments of 2.6 million (bpd), and total oil production of 3.1
"Unfortunately exports have been affected by terrorist acts
against Kirkuk export pipeline," Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem
Luaibi told reporters.
Crude oil flows from Iraq to Turkey on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan
pipeline were interrupted in May due to repeated attacks by
insurgent groups. The pipeline carries Iraq's medium sour Kirkuk
grade to Turkey's port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean.
The May attacks have forced Iraq to increase oil police
patrols along the export pipeline to Turkey in a bid to stop
militants from bombing it, another oil ministry official said.
"Recent attacks have caused real problems with oil exports
from Kirkuk. We decided to boost security forces along the
Luaibi also said output from the country's Majnoon oilfield,
operated by Royal Dutch Shell, would resume at the
start of July after maintenance, with initial production of
100,000 barrels per day (bpd).
"Majnoon's restart was exacted in early May, but we think
now more work is still needed to resume operations in the start
of July," Luaibi said.