Iraq halts crude exports to Turkey

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The line is Iraq’s secondary export route, handling about 430,000 barrels per day. Most of Iraq’s crude shipments sail from its main southern oil terminal at Basra, at a rate of about 1.6 million bpd. Exports through the northern line from Iraq’s Kirkuk oilfields stopped early on Tuesday, the agent said. The reason for the halt was unclear, but the flow has been regularly interrupted during the past month, he added.

A Very Large Crude Carrier was loading two million barrels of Kirkuk crude from the Turkish oil terminal of Ceyhan on Tuesday, the shipper said. There was enough oil in storage to complete loading for the vessel, due to cross the Atlantic and deliver a million barrels each to Exxon Mobil and Valero, he added.

Once that vessel loads, storage would stand at around 370,000 barrels. Another ship is due to start loading a million barrels early on Wednesday for Italian refiner Eni SpA. The export route was plagued by sabotage and technical problems after the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Tighter security has allowed Baghdad to increase the flow during the past year. (Reuters)

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