Iraqi Oil Exports On Hold
Iraqi oil exports were seen on hold on January 8th, but oil officials said that loadings are expected to resume shortly.
An Iraqi official said that: “There are no loadings scheduled at the moment, but exports will definitely continue.”
Only one tanker, the Astro Beta, which had been waiting at the Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr since November 29th, has been allowed to lift Iraqi crude so far this year.
The Turkish port of Ceyhan, Iraq’s other approved oil export route, saw only one loading during December, and Turkish state pipeline company Botas said on January 8th that no liftings are expected from the terminal until at least January 10th.
An official from Botas said that: “U.N. officials said that there may be a loading list after January 10th, but it is not sure.”
No tankers were seen anchored in either of the two ports, but three vessels were expected at Mina al-Bakr by the end of the week. Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rasheed indicated on January 6th that oil exports would return to normal levels shortly.
He said that: “We have had a little problem with the pricing mechanism during the last month. We hope to solve the problem this month.”
The U.N. sanctions committee on January 5th approved Baghdad’s proposed January prices for sales of its Kirkuk grade crude to Europe in the hopes of ending ongoing pricing squabbles leading to export stoppages.
The committee approved Iraq’s official price for Kirkuk sales to Europe of Dated Brent minus $3.00 a barrel after rejecting on December 29th Baghdad’s pricing scheme for being too low.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)