Iraq’s Looming Elections Delay Critical Infrastructure Development

Southern exports have been maxed out at 3.46mn b/d over the last six months, and the stress is taking its toll on aging infrastructure. The 12 May elections are set to delay efforts to redress the government’s dependency on the Basra chokepoint.

Federal Iraqi crude exports have been running at record levels for the past six months, despite the absence of any northern exports from Kirkuk. Exports averaged 3.46mn b/d over the past six months, marking the first instance when they have exceeded 3.4mn b/d for consecutive quarters (see chart).

The $19.1bn these brought in over 1Q was the most since 3Q 2014 when Iraqi crude exports averaged $96.81/B.

All exports are from Iraq’s southern terminals offshore Basra, and are well within claimed nameplate capacity of 4.6mn b/d ( MEES, 2 February ). But the reality is that Basra’s ageing and inadequate infrastructure means capacity is closer to 3.9mn b/d, and even then this is unsustainable. Upgrades to pumping stations at the onshore Fao depot are essential if Iraq is to fully utilize its installed offshore capacity ( MEES, 16 September 2016 ). (CONTINUED - 630 WORDS)


chart Iraq: Southern Crude Exports, At Record Since Late 2017, To Offset Northern Outages (Mn B/D)