Steady recovery in Iraqi oil production - PIW

After weeks of setback, Iraq now appears to be increasing oil production and exports at a steady rate. Oil production capacity is back up to 2 mbd while exports, all of which at the moment are out of Mina al-Bakr, are climbing towards 1 mbd, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly of 15 September 2003,

There are differing estimates from different sources and observers. IEA estimates that Iraqi oil production averaged 1.05 mbd in August 2003 of which 0.4 mbd went to local use. IEA further reports that 0.8 to 0.9 mbd are targeted in exports from Mina al-Bakr in September and that Iraq’s maximum sustainable oil production capacity, which can be reached within 30 days and held for 90 days, is 2.8 mbd.

According to PIW, the Chief Executive of the Iraqi Oil Ministry has informed that Iraq’s maximum sustainable production capacity is on course to return to the pre-war level of 3 mbd by end March 2004, and provided that outside funds are available output could rise to 3.5 to 4 mbd by 2005.

Export capacity at Mina al-Bakr is 1.4 mbd and in the near future exports could also start at the Khor al-Amaya terminal. Two berths at this terminal can handle up to 0.4 mbd of exports and further renovation may increase capacity to 0.7 mbd. However until the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline is back in operation, Iraq will be relying solely on shipments out of the Gulf. There seems to be no end to the attacks on this 1.2 mbd export pipeline to Ceyhan in the Mediterranean. This restricts Iraq’s actual export capacity.