Iraq Nears 5mn b/d Production Capacity Ahead Of Schedule

Iraq is exceedingly close to its 5mn b/d production capacity target, at least on paper. Opec cuts may temporarily hamper output gains, but bottlenecks in pipeline and export infrastructure, as well as a dearth of options downstream are the real reason why reality may prove less than the sum of its parts.

Iraq’s oil sector rounded off months of record form in December, with wellhead production at an all-time high of 4.70mn b/d ( MEES, 11 January ). For 2018 as a whole, output averaged 4.53mn b/d, up 100,000 b/d year-on-year from 2017, which itself was a record year. That Baghdad has managed to grow output every year since 2005 despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles is an overlooked success story. Export revenues were similarly up 41% year-on-year ( MEES, 4 January ).

2019 could be the first year output falls in over a decade, but not due to production issues: Iraq is “fully committed” to December’s Opec+ agreement to cut production by 1.2mn b/d ( MEES, 7 December 2018 . The oil ministry has signed up to a 140,000 b/d production cut for 1H 2019, which, if adhered to, would see output drop by 3% from its baseline 4.65mn b/d October figure to 4.51mn b/d for the first half of the year. (CONTINUED - 1568 WORDS)


table Iraq Oil Field Capacity ('000 B/D)