Thursday, August 11, 2011

Iraq’s Oil Exports Take Large Drop In July As Oil Prices Climb Back Up

Iraq’s oil industry experienced differing trends in July 2011. On the one hand, exports took a large drop compared to the previous month. On the other, international oil prices climbed back up, providing large profits for the country.

In July 2011, Iraq exported an average of 2.164 million barrels a day in petroleum. That was down from 2.75 million barrels in June. July was also the fourth time this year that monthly exports averaged less than 2.2 million. The government blamed the intense summer heat, which diverted the country’s oil from foreign sales to domestic consumption to fuel power plants, as the cause of the decline. Currently Iraq is experiencing nearly 120 degrees per day, and many of its electrical facilities are run off of diesel fuel.

At the same time, world oil prices went back up, and Iraq was the beneficiary. In July, a barrel of Iraqi crude sold for $108.80. That was up from $105.16 last month, and on par with May’s prices. Since March, Iraq has been selling its oil for more than $100 a barrel. This is due to the Arab unrest, especially in Libya that has greatly reduced its output, and increased market speculation. As a result, Iraq earned $7.3 billion in July, compared to $7.173 billion in June. May saw the country’s highest profits at $7.45 billion. Iraq has thus greatly benefited from the fighting and protests that have occurred in the rest of the Arab world.

Despite these short-term fluctuations, Iraq’s potential for growth is very limited right now. The recent increases in production are due to the work of international oil firms that signed deals with the Oil Ministry in 2009. Iraq’s petroleum infrastructure however, has reached its limit. There is very little room for any more expansion as its pipelines cannot handle any more capacity. That was recently highlighted in a report by the Baker Institute for Public Policy report out of Rice University in Texas, which said that in the near and medium-term Iraq would have problems raising production because of infrastructure limitations. The Oil Ministry doesn’t have plans to complete any of its pipeline expansion plans until the end of this year at the earliest. As long as world oil prices remain high though, Iraq can get by as its made record profits this year.

Iraq Oil Exports And Profits 2010-2011

Avg. Exports
Avg. Price Per Barrel
Jan. 10
Jan. 11


Associated Press, “Iraq says oil exports continued to rise in June,” 7/26/11

EurekAlert, “Study: Iraq must overcome logistical, political challenges to become oil leader,” 7/28/11

Hafidh, Hassan, “Iraq July Oil Exports -4.8% On Month At 2.164 Million B/D – SOMO,” Dow Jones, 8/1/11

Reuters, “Iraq’s July oil exports dip to 2.164m bpd,” 8/1/11

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/11


Anonymous said...


Joel Wing said...

Unfortunately they're doing that now, but can't really up exports because the pipelines, especially those in the south, can't handle it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately they're doing that now

So if they investing in drilling for oil, so what they should do to get the oil out of the land? what they waiting for?

Joel Wing said...

They have to invest a couple hundred million dollars into new pipelines, renovate the existing ones, sign deals with neighboring countries for new routes, rebuild and expand the port of Basra. All of those are planned. The problem is finishing them ASAP so that the increased production can be used. The way it is now, production is going up without the infrastructure to handle it. Therefore exports are going to stay pretty much just around 2 mil/bar/day for the entire year. That comes after exports flatlined for the previous 2 years at just under 2 mil/bar.

Anonymous said...

Two pint here:
Is there responsibility to sign deals with neighbouring countries? Or this this should Iraqi government responsibility? The lines were there might need updating but its Iraq “country" own them and there are deals in place as far as we know>

The second point is the Saudi pipeline still close from 1991 till now why they keep the line close for what reason they do that?

As for Turkey pipeline, also have some difficulties. Looks here is some sort of mistrust/problems making toward Iraq to increase his oil production and exporting.

Joel Wing said...


The Iraqi government has recently been pushing new pipeline deals. They signed one with Turkey to expand the current dual pipeline to Turkey for example, and signed an initial agreement for an oil and gas pipeline to Syria. It also wants to join the Nabucco pipeline deal that would delivery natural gas from Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe. The Turkish deal is the only one that's been finalized but no work on it so far.

Yes, the Saudi pipeline is still closed since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. That's because the Saudis do not approve of Shiite rule in Iraq and have given Baghdad the cold shoulder as a result.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mentioning that the metering of Iraqi oil productions/exporting its not fully installed.

As reported (below) 39% of plan to install metres for oil production done, this bring us to your data and all the references in fact 60% inaccurate related to Iraqi oil stories.

So your article misleading the readers in there figures unless talking in account the fact is 60% Iraqi oil not counted!!.


Iraq Lags on Oil Metering
Posted on 13 May 2011. Tags: Kelton Engineering, metering, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SOMO, State Oil Marketing Organization

An audit of Iraq’s oil revenue management and accounting system found the plan to fully install and calibrate a full crude oil and products metering system by 2012 is only 39% complete, according to a report from Platts.

US auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the UN mandated International Advisory and Monitoring Board, and Iraq’s Committee of Financial Experts, all criticized the pace of the metering system.

Joel Wing said...

Yes, Iraq has been working on installing meters for years and has made very little progress. Probably a mix of lack of trained staff, lack of money, and people not wanting the meters installed to do illegal things. That being said the meters are supposed to be installed throughout the entire energy industry, which means things like refineries, gas companies, etc. which would have no effect upon the oil production or export numbers whether they're installed or not.

As for my piece, I use the official numbers from the Oil Ministry. Yes, they're not complete, but they are the only numbers available to evaluate oil, so it's what I use.

Anonymous said...

people not wanting the meters installed to do illegal things.

Yes and the master of all those people is:
Bremer was mandated under UN Resolution 1483 to use Iraqi oil profits to “benefit the people of Iraq”. However, because the oil shipments were flowing while the meters were inoperable, some of the oil was smuggled and sold which could have been an avoidable loss. Bremer nor any of his staff gave any explanation as to why they failed to repair the meters and misrepresented their progress on repairing them. He basically allowed Iraq’s only real natural resource and source of money to flow out of the country without benefiting the people of Iraq. This technically violated the UN resolution, but resulted in no reprimand or punishment.

lack of money

When Paul Bremer, the American pro consul in Baghdad until June last year, arrived in Iraq soon after the official end of hostilities, there was $6bn left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and at least $10bn from resumed Iraqi oil exports. Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22 2003, all these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and intended to be spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) "in a transparent manner ... for the benefit of the Iraqi people".
The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.
The CPA maintained one fund of nearly $600m cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.
The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.
The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".

is that answer your concerns about why the meters not installed?

Joel Wing said...

Here's a problem though, Iraq never had its oil industry fully metered. The U.N. did a survey of the industry in 2001 for example, before the U.S. invasion and found that there were no meters.

2nd I'm not sure when Iraq signed the contract to begin installing them, but I don't think it was during the CPA period so I don't think you can blame Bremer for that.

Yes, the CPA did not keep track of the money that it was spending, but that has nothing to do with meters on oil.

Anonymous said...

the CPA did not keep track of the money that it was spending, but that has nothing to do with meters on oil.

You either having problem talking the truth and facts or you play game here.

Here from the news Just Google by yourself and see what it meant or what your heroes done inside Iraq form 2003 till now.

You are history man are you shouldn’t nut picking of events and stories be truthful when writing your stories.

Until the middle of 2006 most of Iraq's oil pipelines were not even equipped with working meters. Earlier in the occupation US viceroy L. Paul Bremer refused to install new ones--why, no one knows. Now the few meters installed at Basra are

Anonymous said...

Btw, your Paul Bremer Bio telling his is very skilled in disaster management and recovery, how it come he didn’t installed the meter for oil production for use Iraqi oil profits to “benefit the people of Iraq”?

Is hard to do so?

Joel Wing said...

The reason it didn't matter is because the Iraq money that the CPA spent was already in the bank haven been collected by the United Nations under the sanctions. Any money made form oil during that first year of occupation, which was barely anything because it took months for the oil industry to get back up and running after the invasion, was deposited in NY and used by the interim Iraqi government because Bremer and the CPA only ran Iraq for one year.

Joel Wing said...

So if Iraq didn't sign a deal to install oil meters until 2006 then Bremer, Allawi, Jaafari and Maliki are all responsible, yet you're only harping on Bremer.

Joel Wing said...

Finally, I would take a guess that with all the chaos and fighting, and need to get the government up and running, and everything else, that installing meters on the oil industry was not a major priority for Bremer.

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