* Southern exports average 2.52 mln bpd so far in July
* Lack of Kirkuk northern exports limits supply overall
By Alex Lawler
LONDON, July 23 Iraq's oil exports from its
southern terminals in July rose to a near-record rate, according
to loading data and industry sources, remaining unaffected by
fighting in other parts of the country.
An advance by Sunni militants who seized swathes of northern
Iraq last month raised concern Iraqi exports could slow down and
briefly boosted global oil prices to a nine-month high
above $115 a barrel.
Exports from Iraq's southern terminals have averaged 2.52
million barrels per day (bpd), according to shipping data for
the first 23 days of July tracked by Reuters. Two industry
sources who also monitor the exports had similar estimates.
"There's no impact," a trader with a company that buys Iraqi
crude said, referring to whether the unrest had affected
southern exports. "I don't think it will reach that area."
The export rate so far in July is up from 2.43 million bpd
in June, when maintenance and expansion at the Basra oil
terminal slowed shipments, and is close to May's average of 2.58
million bpd - the highest since 2003.
However, exports are not as high as the 2.60 million bpd
Iraqi officials have said is planned for July.
The trader said bad weather had slightly delayed some cargoes
Iraq's oil supplies were held back by decades of wars and
sanctions. It has been expanding oil production in the south
since Western companies signed a series of service contracts
with Baghdad in 2010.
Total exports from Iraq's northern and southern ports hit a
record 2.8 million bpd in February. But northern exports of
Kirkuk crude have been shut since March 2 due to attacks on a
pipeline to Turkey, keeping total exports below their potential.
Kurdish forces took control of facilities at Kirkuk and
another northern field on July 11, and the Kurdish region has
since begun pumping oil into the pipeline system that runs in
its own territory.
(Editing by William Hardy)