Iraq’s Oil Ministry has released its latest oil production and export numbers for October 2010. As has been the pattern since 2003, output continues to fluctuate up and down. Last month Iraq exported an average of 1.89 million barrels a day, and produced 2.35 million barrels. The country produced the same amount of oil in September, but exported an average of 2.00 million barrels that month.
As usual, the majority of Iraq’s foreign sales flow through the southern pipeline that ends at the port of Basra. It accounted for 1.492 million barrels a day in October, 78% of the total. The northern Kirkuk-Turkey line carried an average of 408,000 barrels, 21%. Another 10,000 barrels was trucked to Jordan each day, which amounted to around 1% of exports.
Prices for Iraqi crude have stabilized. After reaching a low of $36 per barrel in January 2009 due to the world recession, it climbed back up to $79.66 in April 2010. Since then prices dropped, but they have now leveled off to around $71 per barrel. In October Iraqi oil sold for $72.
Overall, October’s numbers were in-line with the last twelve months’ averages. Since November 2009 Iraq has averaged 2.36 million barrels a day in production, 100,000 more than October’s output, and 1.89 million barrels in exports, the exact same amount as last month.
Iraq’s Avg. Yearly Oil Production/Exports 2008-2010
2008: 2.41 mil/bar/day production, 1.84 mil/bar/day exports
2009: 2.40 mil/bar/day production, 1.90 mil/bar/day exports
2010: 2.36 mil/bar/day production, 1.88 mil/bar/day exports
At the current pace, 2010 will be around the same output as the previous two years. In 2008 Iraq averaged 2.41 million barrels a day in production, and 1.84 million barrels in exports. That dropped slightly to 2.40 million in production, while exports increased to 1.90 million barrels in the next year. So far, 2010 is averaging 2.36 million barrels a day in output, and 1.88 million barrels a day in exports. That represents the fact that Iraq’s oil industry is at capacity. The country’s aging infrastructure cannot handle any more petroleum, and weather, bottlenecks, attacks upon pipelines account for the monthly changes. Until projects to rehabilitate and expand Iraq’s pipelines, storage facilities, etc. are completed, there will be no real improvement in output.
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, “Iraq Status Report,” U.S. Department of State, 11/3/10
Reuters, “Iraq’s Oil Exports Decline in October,” Iraq Business News, 11/2/10