Thursday, January 8, 2015

Iraq’s Oil Exports See Dramatic Increase In Dec 2014, But Falling Revenues


Iraq witnessed the highest level oil exports in December 2014 in decades. At the same time, its increased oil production is only adding to the glut on the international market, which has seen a dramatic drop in prices. The result is that the country can expect lower revenues into the near future.

December was a landmark date for Iraq’s post-2003 oil industry. The country exported an average of 2.94 million barrels a day, up from 2.51 the previous month. That was the most seen since 1980 according to an Oil Ministry spokesman. The cause of the increase was the implementation of the deal between Baghdad and Irbil, under which the latter would send 250,000 barrels a day in oil to the state run oil company from fields in Kurdistan, and another 300,000 barrels a day from the Kirkuk fields, which it now occupies. In return, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was assured it would get 17% of the national budget, and the peshmerga would be funded by Baghdad.

For the year Iraq saw an average of 2.51 million barrels a day in exports. That was more than 2013’s 2.386, but only 100,000 barrels more than 2012’s 2.41 million barrels. 2013 was a difficult year for Iraq’s oil industry. There were major leaks and attacks on the northern Kirkuk pipeline. More importantly, at the end of 2012 the KRG stopped cooperating with the central government due to arguments with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The premier objected to the Kurds’ independent oil strategy, which included signing contracts with foreign companies and building its own pipeline to Turkey. Maliki retaliated by stopping payments to Kurdistan and blacklisting energy corporations that operated there.

Iraq Oil Exports And Profits 2011-2014
Month
Avg.
Exports
(Mil/
Bar/
Day)
Avg. Price Per Barrel
Revenue (Bill)
Jan. 11
2.16
$90.78
$6.082
Feb.
2.20
$98.44
$6.064
Mar.
2.15
$107.13
$7.167
Apr.
2.14
$114.26
$7.342
May
2.22
$108
$7.47
Jun.
2.27
$105.17
$7.173
Jul.
2.16
$108.79
$7.311
Aug.
2.18
$104.91
$7.124
Sep.
2.10
$104.89
$6.619
Oct.
2.08
$104.04
$6.742
Nov.
2.13
$106.59
$6.833
Dec.
2.14
$106.18
$7.061
2011 Avg.
2.16
$105.00
$6.913
Jan. 12
2.10
$109.08
$7.123
Feb.
2.01
$112.92
$6.595
Mar.
2.31
$117.99
$8.472
Apr.
2.50
$116.79
$8.795
May
2.45
$103.03
$8
Jun.
2.40
$90.09
$6.453
Jul.
2.51
$97.14
$7.577
Aug.
2.56
$106.22
$8.445
Sep.
2.59
$107.59
$8.371
Oct.
2.62
$105.51
$8.578
Nov.
2.62
$104.32
$8.200
Dec.
2.34
$103.72
$7.551
2012
Avg.
2.41
$106.20
$7.846
Jan. 13
2.35
$104.92
$7.672
Feb.
2.53
$107.66
$7.644
Mar.
2.41
$103.76
$7.772
Apr.
2.62
$98.70
$7.764
May
2.48
$97.23
$7.477
Jun.
2.32
$97.40
$6.799
Jul.
2.32
$101.00
$7.272
Aug.
2.57
$104.45
$8.356
Sep.
2.07
$104.87
$6.511
Oct.
2.25
$102.57
$7.160
Nov.
2.381
$102.57
$7.324
Dec.
2.341
$102.89
$7.470
2013 Avg.
2.386
$102.33
$7.435
Jan. 14
2.228
$102.37
$7.074
Feb
2.799
$102.05
$8.001
Mar
2.396
$101.03
$7.507
Apr
2.509
$100.69
$7.582
May
2.582
$100.69
$8.077
Jun
2.423
$102.96
$7.470
Jul
2.442
$102.27
$7.742
Aug
2.375
$97.44
$7.172
Sep
2.542
$90.76
$6.916
Oct
2.432
$81.12
$6.120
Nov
2.51
$70.40
$5.25
Dec
2.94
$57
$5.247
2014 Avg.
2.51
$92.39
$7.013


The glut in world oil markets caused a drastic decline in prices for Iraq’s petroleum. A barrel of Iraqi crude sold for $57 in December and $70.40 in November. Since 2011 the country had seen over $100 a barrel nearly every month. In 2011, prices averaged $105.00 per barrel, $106.20 in 2012, and $102.33 in 2013. In 2014 the price went down to $92.39. The result of that change was that Iraq earned $5.247 billion in December compared to the yearly average of $7.013 billion.
 
Iraq is in a precarious situation. Oil accounts for more than 90% of the country’s revenue. This year’s draft budget calls for 3.3 million barrels a day in exports at $60 per barrel. Prices have already dropped below that level. The result is that the country might face decreased earnings for the foreseeable future until energy markets turn around, and there’s no timeline for when that will happen.

SOURCES

Agence Frane Presse, “Iraq oil exports soar but low prices hit revenue,” 1/3/15

Al-Najar, Kamaran, Lando, Ben, “November exports rise ahead of expected surge,” Iraq Oil Report, 12/10/14

Osgood, Patrick, Van Heuvelen, Ben, “Analysis: 5 key takeaways from Iraq’s 2015 draft budget,” Iraq Oil report, 1/1/15

Rudaw, “Erbil, Baghdad confirm agreement on oil and budget dispute,” 12/2/14

Van Heuvelen, Ben and Lando, Ben, “Analysis: Iraq’s oil disputes remain unresolved,” Iraq Oil Report, 12/10/14

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