Oil Rallies on Chinese Import Boost and Mideast Tensions
Oil prices firmed on Friday as bullish news from strong Chinese oil imports to turmoil in the Middle East put Brent on track for a nearly 3 percent weekly gain. The developments added to other signs that the market was finally rebalancing after years of excess, but analysts warned that the 2018 balance was still shaky. Brent was at $57.20 at 1335 GMT, up 95 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $51.44 per barrel, up 84 cents from its last settlement. The contracts were on track for weekly gains of more than 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Iraq's Oil Exports Fall in April Amid Port Work, OPEC Cut
Oil shipments from Iraq's southern terminals have fallen so far in April, according to loading data and an industry source, reflecting a temporary drop in export capacity and Iraqi efforts to comply with OPEC production cuts. OPEC's second-largest producer has curbed output this year as part of an OPEC-led supply reduction deal, although OPEC figures show that until March Iraq had delivered a smaller cut than other members such as top exporter Saudi Arabia. Exports from southern Iraq - the outlet for most of the country's crude - in the first 19 days of April averaged 3.10 million barrels per day (bpd), according to shipping data tracked by Reuters and by an industry source.
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. 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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Canada Orders Seizure of Oil Tanker
The Federal Court of Canada has ordered the seizure of a 721,915-barrel cargo of crude from Kurdistan aboard the "Neverland" oil tanker on the request of the Iraq Oil Ministry, court documents show. The Iraq Oil Ministry has also filed a claim against commodity trading house Vitol S.A. and subsidiaries including Mansel Ltd, the charterer of the ship, and affiliate Finaval SpA di Navigazione, the owner of the ship, for $32.5 million. Iraq claims the cargo was unlawfully misappropriated by the Kurdistan Regional Government and sold to Vitol to be loaded onto the "Neverland." Vitol declined to comment. The court action, dated June 29, is…
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
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…
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.
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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.