Iraq expects to add 260,000 b/d of crude production in the first quarter of this year. This will prove a test to recent export capacity additions and infrastructure enhancements at and near Iraq’s key southern export terminal of Basra.

Should a deal with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) materialize in the wake of talks in Baghdad on 25 December, Iraq could see production climb beyond the 3.4mn b/d level within weeks and rise progressively in the second half of the year. But exactly what was agreed in Baghdad on Christmas Day is still fuzzy amid reports that the KRG has exported its first shipment of Shaikan heavy crude through Turkey, again without federal oversight or approval. (CONTINUED - 2706 WORDS)