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DNO says Kurdish oil exports up

Norwegian energy company says exports are relatively back to normal after a spate of violence.

By Daniel J. Graeber
DNO says Kurdish oil exports up
Norwegian energy company DNO said oil exports are back to levels from early 2016 following a string of violence in the Kurdish north of Iraq. Photo courtesy of DNO ASA.

OSLO, Norway, April 12 (UPI) -- Oil exported from the Kurdish north of Iraq following militant attacks on pipeline infrastructure are back near levels from early 2016, energy company DNO said.

Deliveries from DNO to the local market decreased 33 percent from February to 4,446 barrels of oil per day last month. Oil slated for exports from the company's Tawke oil field in the Kurdish north of Iraq through the Turkish sea port at Ceyhan increased roughly 12 percent to 66,427 bpd, the company said.

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"Export deliveries in March were impacted by the extended closure of the Turkish segment of the export pipeline during the first half of the month," the company explained. "For purposes of pricing and entitlement payments, March deliveries to the local market were treated as deemed exports."

So far in April, the company said deliveries for exports have averaged around 117,000 bpd. DNO and partner Genel Energy plc combined for an average 119,390 bpd exported from the Tawke field in January.

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The company detailed export levels in a statement about a regular payment from the Kurdish government, which has been odds with Baghdad over its share of oil revenue. The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government started independent oil sales in June, averaging earnings of around $682 million per month.

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Security issues associated with the fight against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State pose risk factors for the region. The State Department in February issued a travel alert for southern Turkey because of violence in the region.

Security and budget threats add an extra layer of risk for DNO as lower crude oil prices have crimped the accounts for most of its industry peers. While investments were sharply lower for its Tawke reserve basin in the Kurdish north, the company said it was able to raise its proven oil reserve estimate by about 20 percent to 387 million barrels.

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The return of exports from the Kurdish north comes as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Iraq, join non-members like Russia at a weekend meeting in Doha to consider freezing production at January levels in an effort to stabilize oil prices. Some observers have said the impact of any freeze would be muted as most major market players are already producing at high levels.

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