Iraq’s Oil Ministry released preliminary numbers on its exports for August 2010 and they showed another decline. In August, the country exported an average of 1.788 million barrels of crude a day. That compared to 1.820 barrels in July. The cause for the drop was three disruptions in the northern pipeline. On August 20 the line ruptured in Ninewa along a section that had been bombed in the past. The repairs took nine days. On August 11 Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) blew up the line in Turkey. Earlier in the month there was another technical problem as well.
Overall, output for foreign markets has been going down since the beginning of the year. In February 2010 Iraq hit a yearly high of 2.068 million barrels a day in exports. That then went down to an average of 1.840 million barrels in March, 1.767 million in April, before recovering a little to 1.890 million in May, and then dropping again for the next three months to 1.823 million barrels in June, 1.820 million barrels in July, and finally 1.788 million in August.
This has followed the trend in Iraq’s oil industry since the 2003 invasion with exports continually going up and down. At the beginning of 2009 for example, output climbed from an average of 1.77 million barrels a day in February to 2.04 million barrels a day in July before dipping for the next six month until it reached the 2 million mark again in February 2010. Technical problems, attacks, and bottlenecks have traditionally been the reasons for the ebb and flow in production.
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- “Iraq’s Oil Exports Inch Up in May by About 7.4 Pct,” 6/22/10
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- “Iraq Status Report,” U.S. Department of State, 1/13/10
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Hafidh, Hassan, “Iraq August Oil Exports -1.7% On Month At 1.788 Million B/D Official,” Dow Jones, 9/14/10
- “Iraq Dec Oil Exports Up 4% On Month At 1.977 Million B/D,” Dow Jones, 1/4/10
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- “Iraq Oil Flow To Turkey On Hold Since Sunday – Shipper,” Dow Jones, 8/30/10
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- “Iraq oil exports surge to 1.9mbpd,” 6/1/10