August 20, 2012 / 2:45 PM / 7 years ago

Iraq's south oil exports head for record in August

* Southern exports rise to 2.25 mbpd so far in August

* New oil terminals, rising production boost shipments

* Low northern exports may limit overall gain

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Iraq’s oil exports from its southern ports have risen by 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) so far in August versus last month, according to shipping data tracked by Reuters, putting shipments on course to reach a post-war record.

Exports from Iraq’s south have averaged 2.25 million bpd in the first 20 days of August, the data shows. That is up from 2.22 million bpd in July - the highest since before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to the International Energy Agency.

Iraq exports most of its oil from the south, where the opening of new export outlets and investment by foreign companies are increasing shipments which had stagnated for years. A rise in Iraqi supplies this year helped to keep a lid on prices as Western sanctions targeted Iran’s exports.

More oil is coming from the oilfields of southern Iraq including Rumaila, led by BP ; West Qurna-1, run by Exxon Mobil ; and Zubair, where Eni is in charge.

In addition, an Iraqi official said in July the Halfaya field operated by China National Petroleum Corp. was pumping at least 80,000 bpd, helping to boost flows.

Including about 300,000 bpd of crude shipped from Iraq’s north, Iraq said its exports reached 2.52 million bpd in July. Low northern exports may limit the increase in overall Iraq supply in August.

Iraq was exporting about 400,000 bpd from the north earlier this year until the government of Iraq’s Kurdistan region said in April it was halting flows because firms operating there were not getting paid by the central government in Baghdad.

Crude produced in Kurdistan is fed into Iraq’s Kirkuk export stream. A Kirkuk loading programme scheduled just 197,000 bpd of shipments in August, although after it was issued the Kurdistan region restarted exports at 100,000 bpd in a bid to end the payment dispute.

According to one trader, oil shipments by pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey from northern Iraq have been below the level envisaged by the loading programme for at least part of the month.

“They have been pumping 150,000 bpd for many days in August,” the trader said. “They stopped for some other days.”

Flows were disrupted by an Aug. 6 sabotage attack, which damaged one of the pipelines from Kirkuk to Ceyhan. Turkish officials said a day later the flow was expected to resume soon on the unaffected line.

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