Iraqi oil output and exports increased in 2011

Iraq_oilIraq's crude oil production rose to an average 2.65mn bpd in 2011, an increase of 12 per cent over 2010, while exports shot up by 14 per cent to 2.165mn bpd, according to Platts.

Exports up by 273,000 bpd

Based on calculations of monthly oil ministry data, Platts revealed that crude oil production in 2011 was 289,000 bpd higher than the 2010 average of 2.36mn bpd while exports were up by 273,000 bpd over the previous year's average of 1.89mn bpd.

Output from southern fields rose to an average 1.92mn bpd, 211,000 bpd higher than the 2010 average of 1.71mn bpd. Northern output rise to 728,000 bpd, up by 78,000 bpd over the previous year, thanks to the addition of oil produced in semi-autonomous Kurdistan and exported through the federal pipeline system.

The Kurdish province

The Kurdish province exported 94,000 bpd in 2011, slightly below the federal budget commitment of 100,000 bpd, compared with no exports in 2010 when a dispute between Baghdad and Erbil over payment to foreign oil companies led to the suspension of exports.

The southern fields

In the south, the output increases came mainly from the fields of Rumaila, being developed by a consortium led by BP, West Qurna 1, being developed by a joint venture headed by ExxonMobil, and Zubair, being developed by Eni and its joint venture partners.

But according to Platts the production figures, particularly for the southern fields, make for disappointing reading for the Iraqi government since southern output fell below the January 2011 level, when it breached 2mn bpd for the first and only time last year.

Rather than steadily rising as planned, production rates from the southern fields never recovered to that level again during the year, partly because of export infrastructure bottlenecks that have forced the companies to hold back at least 100,000 bpd of production.

BP in Rumaila registered the highest production rate for the year last January when output hit 1.21mn bpd. But for the following eleven months the average rate was around 1.08mn bpd.

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