Iraq’s oil production plummeted in February, falling by more than 250,000 b/d month-on-month, according to the latest official figures which exclude KRG-controlled fields (see table, p7). Although exports edged up slightly last month, the decline in wellhead production is indicative of the strains that have emerged as a result of a rush to develop the upstream in the past five years, while the midstream and downstream sectors were left wanting.

Iraqi Oil Ministry figures for January and February exports indicate a degree of stagnation, partly exacerbated by bad weather and crude quality issues, which led to loading delays in January and February. With storage limited to 8mn barrels at its southern tank farms, Iraq has no choice but to shut down oil fields in the south, as has presumably happened again. (CONTINUED - 1976 WORDS)