Ceyhan Shippers See Iraq Oil Exports Starting In Mid-June

ISTANBUL -(Dow Jones)- Iraq oil export are about to resume and the first shipment could be made in mid-June, shipping sources in Turkey said Tuesday.

Sources said early shipments may be done either from Turkey’s Ceyhan or Iraq’s Mina al-Bakr terminals, as both sites are technically ready and have some crude in stock.

Ceyhan has about 8 million barrels of Iraqi crude in stock, and the pipeline from Kirkuk is operational, with an initial daily capacity of 800,000 to 900,000 barrels.

“It may be easier to ship from Ceyhan,” said a shipper. “The nearest vessels are two or three days away.”

Sources said there are rumors of vessels being contracted for Ceyhan shipments, but added that nothing is concrete yet.

Last Iraqi oil shipment from Ceyhan was on March 20, coincided with the start of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

Despite the hostilities in Iraq, the Iraq-Turkey pipeline was active until April 10 when Iraqi officials left their positions as Kurdish guerillas invaded Kirkuk.

Another source said Iraq may be altering its oil export policy and may revert to the pre-1996 rules when it was selling its oil only to major corporations and to refineries.

Since 1996 Iraq has been selling to traders, a practice that seen a huge growth in small companies that speculate on the cargo, or sell it to a major company for a profit. The Iraqi regime also used this system for illegal kickbacks, used for financing the regime.

Bron: BIZ.Yahoo, 27-05-2003;