LONDON (Reuters) – Iraq has sold nearly 5 million barrels of Kirkuk crude to buyers in Europe and the United States and plans to issue a new sales tender in the coming days, an Iraqi oil ministry source said on Monday.
Shell, BP, Cepsa, Tupras, Erg, and Exxon Mobil had been awarded a total of 5 million barrels, he said.
A new tender for 5 million barrels of Kirkuk crude — the fourth such sale in six weeks — will be announced in the next few days, the source said.
Through the three previous sales, Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation has sold about 12.5 million barrels of Kirkuk crude that is pumped from its northern oilfields and piped to Turkey for export.
Repeated sabotage attacks along Iraq’s northern pipeline to the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan have kept the export route mostly idle since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
But intermittent flows through the line over the past month have allowed Baghdad once again to ship crude to world markets.
“We’re moving volume to Ceyhan at a steadier rate,” said the source. “So we’re studying the possibility of term contracts.”
The Iraq-Turkey pipeline is Iraq’s secondary export route. It relies on its main terminal in the south at Basra for exports of about 1.5 million barrels per day.