Iraq's oil output and exports are set to jump in August after a slump over the previous two months, the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported on Monday.
It said Iraq had overcome pricing problems for sour crudes in the Mediterranean and that production could now increase by a hefty 400,000-500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August, "provided there are no industrial or political problems".
Iraq's "State Oil Marketing Organisation is sold out for August and has finalised a full lifting programme for the month," said the Cyprus-based industry newsletter.
The weekly said Iraq was now likely to produce around three million bpd in August, up from 2.44 million bpd in July.
The decline in exports last month was "due mainly to the fact that customers postponed lifting Kirkuk crude (pumped from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean) in anticipation of further discounts as the price of Russia's Urals crude," MEES said.
Exports in June also declined by 500,000 bpd because of delayed agreements, weather problems and fluctuations in the oil market, Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid acknowledged last month.
Iraq has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait but is authorised to export crude under a UN humanitarian programme to finance imports of essential goods. Although an OPEC member, it is exempted from the cartel's production quota system because of the decade-old embargo.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )