Ceyhan Open For Business Again
Iraqi crude exports were restarted from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on January 21st, representing the first loadings from the terminal in 2001.
Industry sources indicated that the Superlady had started loading 1 million barrels of Iraq’s Kirkuk grade crude from Ceyhan.
Officials from Turkish state pipeline company Botas have said that two additional tankers are slated to take Iraqi oil on January 23rd and 24th from the Turkish port.
The lifting was the first since December 30th and only the second since Iraq had halted exports on November 30th in response to pricing disputes with the U.N. and its crude customers.
Baghdad had demanded that buyers pay a surcharge into an account outside U.N. control in violation of sanctions levied against Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Oil sales have continued from the Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr, Iraq’s other approved export route, but at a reduced rate.
Iraqi oil exports had averaged 2.2 million b/d in November, but numerous export stoppages had reduced Iraq’s December average to little more than 500,000 b/d.
Iraq and the U.N. sanctions committee had since late November been involved in several pricing squabbles, with SOMO submitting below-market prices to account for the illegal surcharge.
But, U.N. diplomats breathed a sigh of relief when Iraq submitted its February pricing scheme for oil sales to Europe three weeks early.
The U.N. approved Baghdad’s February prices to Europe on January 15th, with Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rasheed indicating that liftings from Ceyhan would resume in the coming days.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)