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Monday, January 16, 2017

Iraq Oil Exports Steady Despite Start of OPEC Cut

Oil exports from Iraq's southern ports in the first nine days of January have held steady at December's record high, according to loading data and an industry source, despite the start of an OPEC agreement to cut production. Shipments so far this month have averaged above 3.50 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the loading data tracked by Reuters and by the industry source. In all of December, Iraq's southern exports reached a record high of 3.51 million bpd, Iraq's oil ministry said on Monday. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries started implementing an agreement to cut production on Jan. 1. Iraq has said it will cut production by 200,000 bpd as part of the deal.

Maersk Line Establish Iraq Presence

Until very recently Iraq was seen as being too dangerous for Maersk Line to risk opening an office. Thankfully conditions are changing, and Maersk Line is determined to do its bit to both capture business for itself and facilitate growth in the local economy. Positioning itself in a high growth market, Maersk Line opened a branch office in Iraq in January 2012. This strengthened its sales presence in a region where the value of goods and services produced is expected to grow by 8.6% this year. Maersk Line is currently the fifth biggest player in Iraq, having doubled its market share this year to between 10% and 12%. Maersk Line’s new branch is in the port of Umm Qasr, in the Basrah region of Iraq. The port is central to trade in Iraq, with containers arriving from all over the world.

Crude Falls Below $114 as Iraq Supply Fears Ease

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerrylanded in Baghdad on Monday. (Photo: http://www.state.gov)

U.S. Brent crude dipped below $114 a barrel on Monday as worries about disruptions to Iraqi crude supplies began to look overdone given that exports have so far been unaffected by a Sunni Islamist insurgency. Brent was down 90 cents at $113.91 by 1336 GMT, off an intraday high of $115.66. U.S. crude for August delivery was down 54 cents at $106.29, after touching $107.45 earlier in the session. The July contract expired on Friday. Traders and analysts said that the rally had faltered as the market was becoming desensitised to the news out of Iraq.

House OKs $70b in funding

With Iraq alone costing about $8 billion a month, another infusion of funds will be needed next spring. Opinion polls show the war continues to be unpopular with voters, but even Democratic opponents of the war generally embrace the Pentagon measure, since it provides funding for body armor and other support for U.S. troops overseas. The House passed the Pentagon appropriations bill Tuesday night on a 394-22 vote, and the Senate could clear the bill for President Bush . The House-Senate compromise bill provides $378 billion for core Pentagon programs, about a 5 percent increase, though not quite as much as Bush requested. The $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan is a down payment on war costs the White House has estimated will hit $110 billion for the budget year beginning Oct.

Desert Ports for Ocean Carriers: New Analysis

Development of Iraqi and Iranian Container Port Throughputs, 2004-2013 (million teu): Image Drewry Maritime Research

ICTSI’s announcement earlier this month that it is investing over $130m in a long term deal with Iraq’s Port Authority to operate and enhance container handling capacity at Umm Qasr illustrates the opportunities ahead for ocean carriers, says Drewry's 'Container Insight Weekly'. Investment by major terminal operators in Umm Qasr shows growing confidence in Iraq’s container growth potential, whilst sanctions continue to bite in neighbouring Iran. Iraq’s sole container port already saw volumes jump by more than 65% in 2013, up to 570,000 teu.

New Container Terminal Inaugurated in Iraq

Enrique K. Razon Jr., ICTSI Chairman and President, cuts the ribbon symbolizing the formal opening of the BGT expansion area, the first entirely foreign financed new port infrastructure in Iraq. Photo ICTSI

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) formally opened the first phase of its new greenfield terminal development at its Basra Gateway Terminal in the North Port, Umm Qasr, Iraq. The official inauguration of the new facility marks the implementation of the first entirely foreign financed development of new port infrastructure in Iraq. The Hon. Minister of Transport for Iraq, Kadhem Finjan al-Hamami was in attendance as Enrique K. Razon Jr, ICTSI Chairman and President…

Iraq Plans to Renew Oil Tanker Fleet in S.Korea

Iraq aims to rebuild its ageing fleet of tankers to carry its crude oil exports and is planning to form a joint venture shipping company with a South Korean firm, the oil ministry's spokesman said on Monday. Jihad said ownership of the fleet would be transferred to Iraq's oil ministry after a period that would be specified in the final agreement. Other foreign companies had approached the ministry with offers to help rebuild Iraq's tanker fleet, which was crippled by decades of war and sanctions, Jihad said. Iraq's Oil Shipping Company, which used to transport crude oil from the country's oil terminals in the Gulf city of Basra to refining facilities around the globe, has been out of operation since 1980. Tankers now loading at Basra's terminal are foreign-owned.

Iraq Strife Offers Little Upside to Depressed Tanker Markets: Analyst

Tankship bridge front: File photo

The situation in Iraq has taken center stage in the oil markets. Iraq is now in a state of sectarian civil war and the most likely situation is that the country will become mired in a protracted Syria-like conflict, with the population divided along ethno-sectarian lines. But this offers little upside for currently depressed tanker markets, considers PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap. Iraq’s Baiji refinery is likely to be idle for a prolonged period, requiring Iraq to import additional refined products. Possible sources are other Middle Eastern countries, Turkey and India.

Oil Prices a Nine-Year High As Iraq Suspends Exports

Oil prices rocketed to a new nine-year high on Nov. 22 after Iraq suspended oil exports under its humanitarian exchange program with the United Nations. London January Brent futures opened at $25.90, the highest oil price since January 1991, when allied forces were preparing to eject Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Later in the day Brent stood at $25.67 a barrel, 63 cents up from Friday's close. Prices leapt as Iraq's Oil Minister Amir Mohammed Rasheed confirmed that Iraq had stopped oil deliveries under the latest six-month phase of its oil-for-food exchange with the UN. Baghdad protested the UN's proposal to extend by two weeks the sixth phase of the program and accused the United States of trying to push other Security Council members into accept a draft resolution on weapons inspections.

Brent Slips below $105

HFO: File image

Brent crude slipped under $105 a barrel on Monday, dropping from a one-week high hit on Friday, as U.S. intervention in Iraq eased concerns over the risk of disruption to supply from OPEC's second-largest producer. * U.S. Analysts have said that U.S. air strikes on Islamic State targets in northern Iraq over the weekend could help enforce stability in the country, curbing the risk of supply disruptions. Iraqi Kurdistan said on Friday that its oil output remained unaffected. "For this week…

American Company to Modernize Historic Iraq Port

North America Western Asia Holdings (NAWAH) agrees to modernize Maqal Port, located in Basra’s urban center on the Shatt al Arab waterway. The formal agreement is between Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation, the General Company for the Ports of Iraq, and NAWAH. As part of the agreement, the American company will invest more than $14 million to bring both heavy-lift crane and container handling capabilities to the 93-year-old port. NAWAH will also build a modern container yard adjacent to the port’s berth 14. The company’s agreement with GCPI will extend 10 years. “The speed at which Iraq can rebuild and become prosperous is greatly dependent upon the capacity of its ports,” said Paul Brinkley, NAWAH’s president and CEO.

Iraq Returns as World's Fastest-Growing Oil Exporter

Iraq is reclaiming its rank as the world's fastest-growing oil exporter, cushioning consumers from Libyan supply outages for now and, perhaps, reviving OPEC market share rivalries down the road. Despite worsening violence due to spillover from the war in Syria, Iraq - already OPEC's second-largest producer - is likely to post one of the biggest annual output jumps in its history as BP, Exxon Mobil and other companies tap its southern fields, which are untouched by the unrest. With many export bottlenecks now cleared at the southern Basra terminals - from which almost all of Iraq's crude is shipped - Baghdad is expected to keep up, or even exceed, the rapid pace of oil sales reached in February - at 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd), a 500,000 bpd rise on the previous month.

Iraq Oil Exports Hold Steady in March

Iraq's oil exports have held steady so far in March, according to loading data and industry sources, halting for now the rapid supply growth that has increased downward pressure on prices. Baghdad has given verbal support to an initiative by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and outside producers to freeze output in an effort to boost prices. Producers are due to meet on April 17 to discuss the plan. The lack of export growth is partly involuntary as it reflects disruptions on Iraq's northern pipeline, offsetting near-record southern exports. Still, coupled with outages in other producers, it has supported a price rise this year .

Iraq Energy Sector the Focus of IEA Report

The International Energy Agency<http://www.iea.org/> (IEA) will undertake a comprehensive analytical study of Iraq as part of the 2012 edition of its flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook (WEO). "Iraq's energy sector is both central to the reconstruction and development of the Iraqi economy and of huge importance to the global outlook," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. "The focus on Iraq in this year's World Energy Outlook will illuminate a central issue for the future of global energy, and we are very pleased to be working with the strong support of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Speaking to the IEA Governing Board on 15 February, the Ambassador of Iraq to France, H.E. Dr. Fareed Yasseen, outlined Iraq's expectations for the IEA work.

CMA CGM Announces New Dry Port in Baghdad

After more than thirty three years of continuous presence in Iraq, the CMA CGM Group will open a new bonded Dry Port near Baghdad in the Abu Ghreib area, in Iraq, in June 2013. Exclusively managed and operated by CMA CGM, the Dry Port will be the only one in Iraq, giving customers the opportunity to custom clear their cargo near Baghdad instead of Umm Qasr, according their convenience time. The Dry Port will connect to CMA CGM’s inland transportation network, with a possible railway connection three kilometers away from the site and fast in bond transit from Umm Qasr. The storage facilities for full containers, LCL and refrigerated cargo will benefit from 24 hours surveillance and security services, keeping the cargo safe at all times.

Iraq Oil Lifting Remains on Hold

Iraqi oil lifting remained on hold as Baghdad continued to insist on a surcharge for crude sales under the UN's oil-for-food program, industry sources said. A tanker chartered to the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) remained berthed at Iraq's Mina al-Bakr port on the Gulf but that no oil was being pumped aboard. An industry official in India said that IOC had been asked to pay a surcharge outside the terms of the UN exchange in order to secure its cargo but had refused. Iraq suspended 2.3 million barrels daily of oil sales on December 1. Another seven vessels were anchored outside the port. There were no vessels at Iraq's other authorized outlet Ceyhan, in Turkey.

UAE To Launch Second Ferry Service to Iraq

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to launch a second passenger ferry service to sanctions-hit Iraq soon in a sign of growing ties between the two Arab countries. A UAE official said a Dubai-based private company had obtained United Nations approval for the direct and faster ferry service from Dubai to Iraq's Umm Qasr port, which could start within one month. In 1998 Dubai launched a passenger ferry service to Iraq, which had since included a stop in Bahrain. The official said unlike the Jebel Ali 1 ferry, which takes up to 40 hours to reach its destination, the new sealiner would take about 15 hours to reach Umm Qasr.

Two Ships Illegally Carrying Iraqi Oil Products Diverted

Multinational forces have diverted two ships, allegedly carrying petroleum products illegally out of Iraq, to the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. navy official said. U.S. Coast Guard Commander Don Bunn said that Navy Seals boarded the vessels Jinan and Milad 1 in the Gulf on Oct. 12 and diverted them to the Abu Dhabi emirate in the UAE. He said the ships had refused to follow directions issued to facilitate inspections ensuring compliance with U.N. sanctions. "Petroleum products were on both of them, illegally taken out of Iraq," Bunn said. Last week, Iraq accused United States forces of piracy and said U.S. Marines dropped onto the ships by helicopter and attacked the crew. U.S. and allied forces, which launched the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq, patrol the Gulf to ensure U.N.

Iraqi Navy Ship Repair Facility Opens

VSE Corporation's GLOBAL Division teamed with the U.S. Naval Sea Systems command December 1 at a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the official opening of the Iraqi Navy Ship Repair Facility (SRF) in Umm Qasr, Iraq. VSE helped develop the SRF, which now serves as the Iraqi Navy's maintenance headquarters. The SRF is one of the first fully operational facilities in Iraq as part of the post war infrastructure sustainment. The facility, which was procured as part of a larger Foreign Military Sales case with the Iraqi Navy, will support five different vessel classes. Assisting in the development and management of the facility includes VSE Iraq Team Leader Steve Bennett and VSE Iraq Team Program Manager Hal Jones. "We began work on the ship repair facility in 2010," said Jones.

Iraq: Oil Prices Not Too High Yet

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed said that oil prices were not too high and accused the United States of overreacting to the rally. Rasheed also said that Iraq might further reduce its oil exports if spare parts bought under its oil-for-food deal remained in hold. "We think prices now are not too high," Rasheed said. "The prices should be normally around $25 to $27 and I am talking about OPEC oil basket prices. We are surprised by the overreaction of the administration in the United States to the prices. We see in this respect still a double-standard," he said. The OPEC basket price of seven crudes has averaged $25.40 a barrel so far this year with last week's average at $27.30. Rasheed said Iraq had to reduce its oil exports, "from mid- December ...

Iraq

Iraq has set the stage for enough snags in its oil-for-food export program to keep overheated oil markets nervous about possible export disruptions until mid-January, oil traders and analysts said, Reuters reported. Yet weary of false alarms on Iraqi supply, traders say they will now need to see real evidence of a halt to Iraqi supplies before they believe it. "The market has already priced in a chance that Iraq will suspend oil exports. In order to drive the prices noticeably higher, we now need to see some specific actions," said Timothy Evans, analyst with IFR-Pegasus in New York. "We've been down this route before. The market has got a bit desensitized on Iraq. We're waiting for something to really happen," said Nauman Barakat of ABN Amro bank. Iraq is using the window between the U.S.

As Iraq sells more oil to Asia, quality issues emerge

Asia to buy nearly 60 percent of Iraq's Basra Lt exports. Export facilities upgrade, new fields to boost volume in second half, but Buyers remain wary of quality issues, loading delays. Iraq's rush to pump more oil to Asia has coincided with complaints from some buyers about the quality of its crude, casting doubt on whether Baghdad can increase the volumes of its key Basra Light grade to the region by a third in 2014. The Gulf producer has managed to smooth out kinks in its supply chain that curbed Basra Light exports from southern oil terminals last year. The higher output has helped cap oil prices pushed up by recent geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions in Libya, Iraq's own north and elsewhere.

Iraq's Southern Exports Unaffected by Conflict

Southern exports average almost 2.60 million bpd; Exports close to record rate seen in May. Lack of Kirkuk northern exports limits overall supply. Iraq's oil exports from its southern terminals on the Gulf, far from the fighting in its north, have increased so far this month as bad weather and logistical delays subsided, approaching a record high reached in May. Three months after an advance by Islamic State into northern Iraq sent oil prices soaring to $115 a barrel, the fighting has not reduced Iraq's exports from the south, the main outlet for its crude to world markets. Exports from Iraq's southern terminals have averaged 2.58 million barrels per day (bpd), according to shipping data for the first 23 days of September tracked by Reuters.


Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Jan 2017 -

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