Iraq's weekly oil sales fall
The volume of oil exported by Iraq under UN supervision fell back last week from 16.8 million to 13.0 million barrels amid a lingering dispute over the official price, the United Nations said Wednesday, September 5.
In the week ending August 31, there were five loadings at Iraq's Gulf port of Mina Al-Bakr and three at the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, the only two export outlets authorized under UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990.
The average price of Iraqi oil last week was around $23.04 (€25.32) a barrel, and the sales earned an estimated $300 million (€329 million), the office administering the UN's oil-for-food program said.
But it said the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee "has not yet decided on the price of Iraqi crude sold to the United States market during September." The United States is one of three markets for the two types of oil exported by Iraq, Basrah Light and Kirkuk, and Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) proposed a September price to the committee late last month, the office said.
"The committee has approved SOMO-proposed pricing mechanisms for the European markets covering the period September 1-15 and the Far East, for the whole of September," it said in its weekly update.
Last week, Britain briefly blocked agreement on the official price of Iraqi oil and demanded a change in the way it is set, so as to limit Iraq's ability to exploit fluctuations in the world market. It later accepted the price for the rest of August in order not to disrupt supplies, but said it would agree to an official price for September only if the price-setting interval were cut from 30 days to 15 days.
Iraq was without an official price from August 21 to August 24, but at the time officials of the oil-for-food program said this had not impact on sales. Iraq has exported 109.3 million barrels of crude since July 4, the start of the current phase of the program. The phase is the 10th since the program was established in December 1996 to enable Iraq to import essential goods under UN supervision.
Nine new purchase contracts for 12 million barrels of crude were approved last week by the UN oil overseers and the sanctions committee, the office said. — (AFP, United Nations)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)