Iraq’s oil exports increased slightly in January 2021 compared to December 2020, data from the country’s oil ministry showed on Monday, suggesting that Iraq is again looking to maximize oil revenues at the risk of busting its OPEC+ compliance.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer and the biggest laggard in complying with the OPEC+ group’s production cuts, saw its crude oil exports increase to 2.868 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up from 2.846 million bpd exported in December 2020, according to data from Iraq’s Oil Ministry cited by Reuters.
Iraq’s exports from the southern export terminals at Basra averaged 2.77 million bpd last month, slightly up from 2.75 million bpd exported from the south in December. Exports from Kirkuk through the Ceyhan pipeline averaged 98,000 bpd in January 2021, also slightly rising from the previous month, according to the oil ministry’s data.
Iraq’s oil revenues also rose in the first month of 2021 thanks to rising oil prices. Iraq generated $4.74 billion in oil revenues in January, at an average oil price of $53.294 per barrel. The price was higher by more than $5 a barrel from the average price of $47.765 at which Iraq sold its oil in December, the data quoted by Reuters showed.
At the end of last month, Ali Nizar, the deputy chief of SOMO, the oil marketing company of Baghdad, said that Iraq would pump less oil in January and February to make up for excess production last year.
For both January and February, Iraq plans average daily output of 3.6 million barrels, Ali Nizar told Bloomberg in an interview. This would compare with 3.85 million barrels daily for December.
Exports will also fall, to some 3 million bpd from 3.3 million bpd for December as long as the Kurdistan Regional Government agrees to cut its oil output as well, Nizar said.