Iraq’s southern oil exports fall for third month in March-sources

An Iraqi oil employee checks pipelines at the Bai Hassan oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Iraq’s southern oil exports fall for third month in March-sources

LONDON: Oil exports from southern Iraq have fallen by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) this month, according to shipping data and an industry source, suggesting OPEC’s second-largest producer is heading for a third month of lower shipments.
Southern Iraqi exports in the first 21 days of March averaged about 3.36 million bpd, compared to 3.43 million bpd in February, shipping data followed by Reuters and independent tracking by an industry source showed.
The fall suggests there is still no sign of extra supplies reaching the market from Iraq even though oil prices rallied this year to $71 a barrel for the first time since 2014, supported by an OPEC-led agreement to cut output.
Iraq says it is committed to the OPEC deal.
“We are seeing lower volumes,” the source who tracks Iraq’s exports said.
Southern shipments have fallen as one of the single point loadings used to fill tankers was under maintenance for part of March because of a leak, a shipping agent said. Also, loadings have dropped at the small port of Khor Al-Amaya.
Iraq had been boosting exports from its southern terminals, which handle the bulk of such trade, to offset a halt in shipments from its northern Kirkuk oilfields in October after Iraqi forces seized control of fields from Kurdish fighters.
Northern exports have averaged 270,000 bpd so far in March, compared with an estimated 340,000 bpd in February, according to shipping data and the industry source. That is far below levels of more than 500,000 bpd in some months of 2017.
Iraqi oil officials say there are no plans to resume oil flow through the Kurdish-owned pipeline, as no agreement has been reached yet.
Northern exports could rise if Iraq goes ahead with a plan to export Kirkuk oil by truck to Iran, but this has been delayed.
Based on loadings so far, total exports in March have averaged 3.63 million bpd, down from 3.77 million bpd in February, 3.81 million bpd in January and 3.84 million bpd in December, according to Iraqi figures and loading data. Southern shipments reached a record in December.
OPEC, Russia and other producers are cutting output by about 1.8 million bpd until the end of 2018 in an effort to get rid of a global crude glut and support prices.
Iraq complied less with the supply deal than its OPEC peers, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, for much of 2017, but the drop in Kirkuk output boosted Iraqi and overall compliance.


Ryanair agrees to buy 25 more Boeing 737 MAX planes

Updated 43 min 26 sec ago
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Ryanair agrees to buy 25 more Boeing 737 MAX planes

DUBLIN: Ryanair has agreed to buy a further 25 Boeing 737 MAX planes, worth $3 billion at list prices, lifting its order of the US planemaker’s flagship short-haul plane model to 135, the two companies said on Tuesday.
The Irish low-cost carrier, which is the largest operator of Boeing planes in Europe, purchased 100 737 MAX planes in 2014 and took out options on 100 more.
Ryanair said the order leaves it with 75 more options.
It purchased 10 additional MAX planes in June last year, which were on top of the 2014 order.
Chief Executive Michael O’Leary in March said he expected to exercise “pretty much all” of its options.
Ryanair has dubbed the MAX a “game changer” for its business, due to a fuel consumption improvement it says could be up to 16 percent and a greater number of seats.
The configuration Ryanair has ordered has 197 seats compared to 189 in its current fleet of 737s.
Ryanair rivals easyJet and Wizz have ordered Airbus A321 planes, which seat up to 239 passengers.
Ryanair has held talks with Boeing about its new larger version of the 737 airliner, the MAX 10, which can carry up to 230 passengers, but has made clear it would only be interested if the price is lowered.
The first of Ryanair’s 737 MAX planes are due for delivery in the first half of 2019 and will use CFM Leap-1B engines.
Ryanair, which currently operates around 430 Boeing 737 planes, says the MAX order will allow it reach its target of carrying 200 million passengers per year by 2024.