It won't be easy to get oil out of Iraq

After a slow start in 2015, Iraq’s south is expected to export more oil over the next few months. But there are obstacles standing in the way.

In recent years, it’s become apparent that Iraq’s crude oil “will not age with grace,” according to Credit Suisse’s Thomas Adolff.

Consequently, some oil production has been shut down in order to preserve the quality. And in order to get around that, a new blend has been introduced, which “will unlock volumes.”

However, ultimately, Iraq’s southern export infrastructure will determine the potential boost from this new blend.

From Adolff’s research note:

“Generally, three links could hamper exports from the south, namely (a) the network of pipelines, (b) the lack of storage facilities and (c) the pumping station that provides a connection between the fields and the main export depot at Fao [peninsula in the southeast of Iraq]. Furthermore, the available pumping and storage capacity at Fao itself, an important link between the fields and the offshore laoding facilities, could be an additional blockage.”

And that’s not all. According to Adolff, the pool of refiners “able and willing to process” this new blend “may also be more limited.”

In any case, there’s some potential for more exports, but it may not be executed well.

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