Iraq Deploys Drones To Protect Southern Fields

Iraq expects oil exports to recover to 2.6mn b/d this month after slumping in June, and says operations in the south are safe from attack.

Two unmanned drones have been deployed to beef up security measures and ward off potential threat to operations in the nation’s main oil producing hub, where federal control has not been shaken by the Sunni insurgency that has decimated the country.

Iraqi Oil Minister ‘Abd al-Karim al-Laibi put total Iraqi oil production at 3.1mn b/d and says exports are expected to recover after falling in June to 2.423mn b/d. He spoke during a tour of the 1.4mn b/d Rumaila oil field, Iraq’s largest oil producing field being developed by a partnership of BP and CNPC of China. The projected export figure would match May volumes, which were the highest since just before the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. However, any July ‘boost’ could be misleading since it will include a huge backlog of tankers that were waiting to load in June, when maintenance on one fixed jetty delayed loading. (CONTINUED - 1159 WORDS)