Iraq’s efforts to boost exports in October to make up for the steep decline in September due to maintenance at its southern fields is being frustrated by a spell of bad weather, preventing steady loadings from Basra and Khor al-‘Amaya. However, Iraqi Oil Minister ‘Abd al-Karim al-Laibi is confident that Iraq will achieve its output target of 3.5mn b/d by the end of this year and an export target of 3.4mn b/d in 2014, including a Kurdish contribution of 400,000 b/d. Still, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) appears bent on proceeding with its own independent exports, as neighboring Ninevah took a step closer towards energy independence.

Mr Laibi told Iraq Oil Report in an interview on 24 October that production was set to rise to 3.5mn b/d by the end of the year, although he admitted to a delay in the startup of the West Qurna-2 oil field, operated by Russian Lukoil, now expected early next year. West Qurna-2 will start production at 150,000 b/d early in 2014, Mr Laibi said. This is below the 175,000 b/d commercial target originally expected by the end of this year. (CONTINUED - 1110 WORDS)