Iraq’s southern port of Basra shipped more than 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in December, close to the record levels seen in November when over 3.5 million bpd were transported, according to data supplied by Bloomberg.
The spike comes as oil production in the north of the country remains hugely disrupted by regional and territorial disputes involving the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Sales from the north of Iraq were less than 10 per cent of those achieved in the south.
Iraq’s southern region is home to several super giant oil fields including the Majnoon and Rumaila fields.
The rise in exports has caused several oil analysts to question the solidity of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) commitment to production cutbacks in the light of deflated oil prices throughout 2015 and 2016.
Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia has made the largest scale backs to output with Bloomberg vessel tracking data suggesting a decline of 570,000 bpd between November and December. In November, Iraq exceeded its OPEC target by 40,000 bpd.