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.


US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

Updated 17 January 2019
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US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

  • The Wall Street Journal said the US justice department is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners
  • Huawei forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government

WASHINGTON: US authorities are in the "advanced" stages of a criminal probe that could result in an indictment of Chinese technology giant Huawei, a report said Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said the Department of Justice is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones.
Huawei and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the media report.
However, Huawei noted that "Huawei and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile's trade secret claim."
The move would further escalate tensions between the US and China after the arrest last year in Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company founder.
The case of Meng, under house arrest awaiting proceedings, has inflamed US-China and Canada-China relations.
Two Canadians have been detained in China since Meng's arrest and a third has been sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges -- moves observers see as attempts by Beijing to pressure Ottawa over her case.
Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the US over purported links to the Chinese government.
Huawei's reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare media interview Tuesday, forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The tensions come amid a backdrop of President Donald Trump's efforts to get more manufacturing on US soil and slap hefty tariffs on Chinese goods for what he claims are unfair trade practices by Beijing.
In a related move, lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the export of American parts and components to Chinese telecom companies that are in violation of US export control or sanctions laws -- with Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE the likely targets.
"Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People's Liberation Army," said Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the bill's sponsors.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in the same statement: "Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests and need to be held accountable."
Last year, Trump reached a deal with ZTE that eases tough financial penalties on the firm for helping Iran and North Korea evade American sanctions.
Trump said his decision in May to spare ZTE came following an appeal by Chinese President Xi Jinping to help save Chinese jobs.