伊拉克产油波动,欧佩克减产前途未卜 – 中国国际能源舆情研究中心

伊拉克产油波动,欧佩克减产前途未卜

【WorldOil网11月21日报道】迪拜和伦敦(彭博社)——欧佩克部长们商讨延长减产期限之际,第二大出口国伊拉克却处于配额破产和生产紧缩的矛盾地位,为减产协议带来不确定性。在全年连续超过产量配额之后,受联邦军队与半自治库尔德地区战斗人员之间冲突影响,基尔库克省油田生产受挫,10月份伊拉克产油量骤降。油轮追踪数据显示,虽然冲突已平息,11月上半月伊拉克北部原油出口在仍远低于战前水平。

Wild swings in Iraq crude production give OPEC another problem

DUBAI and LONDON (Bloomberg) -- OPEC has an Iraq problem: the group’s second-biggest exporter is lurching between quota busting and production-crimping crisis, clouding the policy-making picture as ministers decide how long they need to extend output curbs.

After consistently exceeding its output quota all year, Iraqi production plunged in October when clashes between the federal army and fighters from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region disrupted fields in the disputed Kirkuk province. While the conflict has calmed, exports from Iraq’s northern fields remained 40% lower in the first half of November than before the fighting, tanker tracking data show.

OPEC, due to meet next week in Vienna, is already grappling with volatile production in Nigeria and Libya, and Iraq adds another layer of unpredictability. For policy makers, the short-term disruption risks masking a longer-term truth: Iraq, which only got a production quota last year after decades of exemptions, has never felt comfortable with constraints and wants to maximize the country’s potential output.

“Production will remain volatile,” said Issam Chalabi, a consultant and former Iraqi oil minister. While it will be difficult for Iraq to replace barrels lost in the north quickly, Iraq’s “real intention is to reach the 5 MMbbl mark by year-end. Politics is the name of the game.”

The uncertainty makes it more difficult for OPEC to judge the global balance of supply and demand next year and make a decision about how long to extend supply curbs. The producers’ group is seeking to build consensus with non-members including Russia on whether to extend beyond March output cuts aimed at mopping up a supply glut.

While supplies from Libya and Nigeria -- which don’t have formal production limits under the current OPEC deal -- show some signs of stabilizing, Iraq is becoming more erratic. The country’s output fell last month by 120,000 bpd -- the most since January -- as the central government clashed with the Kurds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That meant Iraq pumped 4.35 MMbpd in October, below its OPEC target for the first time this year.

Still, international companies producing in Iraq are pursuing plans to raise production capacity, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said in September at a conference in the United Arab Emirates. The government was curtailing output at fields it operates on its own to meet its OPEC quota, he said.

OPEC’s strategy of cuts is showing signs of success in bolstering prices, with Brent trading above $60/bbl this month after dropping to less than $30/bbl last year. The benchmark grade gained $0.10 to $62.32/bbl in Dubai.

Fighting over Kirkuk and other regional tensions contributed to the increase in prices, according to Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen regional geopolitics start to flow back into the price of oil” in several years, Yergin said in an interview in Abu Dhabi Nov. 14. “It’s something that OPEC will have to grapple with.”

It’s unclear when flows will resume from oil fields around the northern city of Kirkuk, which still require use of a pipeline held by the Kurds to reach international markets. The pipeline exported 320,000 bpd in the first half of November, compared with 565,000 bpd on average during the first nine months of the year, according to Bloomberg data.

“The disruptions involving the Kurds could last another six months,” said Jaafar Altaie, managing director of consultant Manaar Group, which operates in Iraq. “Iraq will still be cheating, but the cheating will be intermittent and it will be disruptive.”

Nigeria’s production, which tumbled to the lowest in almost three years last August following a series of militant attacks, has recovered to the point that the country has said it would join the OPEC accord after six months of stability. That calm may yet unravel after militants in the Niger River delta ended their cease-fire earlier this month.

Volatility in Iraq’s output is unlikely to match that of Libya’s, where rival armed factions still compete for control of the country more than six years after the fall of dictator Muammar Al Qaddafi, according to Standard Chartered Plc.

Nonetheless, Iraq is now among the wild cards OPEC needs to take into account, according to Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. “Iraq has now joined them as itinerant, non-dependable supply to the market,” Morse said by phone.

( 译者:王立琦  审校:吴广慧,马佳惠 )

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