Iraqi oil exports plunged to 257,000 bpd as a single tanker was loaded in the week to Jan. 5, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday. The Astro Beta loaded 1.8 million barrels of Basrah Light crude from Mina al-Bakr, Iraq during the week. It was the only tanker to load Iraqi crude in the week, U.N. officials said.
Iraqi crude exports have been sparse since Dec. 1 when Baghdad and the United Nations began a protracted row over oil pricing. In November, Iraqi oil exports were
near 2.2 million bpd.
Since the ninth six-month phase of the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program began Dec. 6, Iraq has exported 17.7 million barrels of crude, U.N. figures show.
Four more contracts for the sale of Iraqi crude were signed in the week for six million barrels each of Kirkuk crude shipped from Ceyhan, Turkey and Basrah Light from Mina al-Bakr. Those are the only two authorized ports for Iraqi crude. But the U.N. Security Council has said it will approve exports through an Iraq-Syria pipeline if Damascus requests it. - (Reuters)