【英语财经】石油市场对伊拉克忍耐有限 Turmoil in Iraq sounds alert for crude oil prices

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2014-6-25 06:29

小艾摘要: Increasing violence in Iraq, Opec’s second-largest oilproducer, has spooked many markets, including oil. It has also elicited loudpunditry about an emerging oil crisis, a need for the US to releasest ...
Turmoil in Iraq sounds alert for crude oil prices
Increasing violence in Iraq, Opec’s second-largest oil

producer, has spooked many markets, including oil. It has also elicited loud

punditry about an emerging oil crisis, a need for the US to release

strategic petroleum reserves and significantly higher prices throwing a monkey

wrench into plans for global economic growth. But what are markets actually


So far, the oil market’s reaction has been fairly benign. At most, there is a

$5 premium in spot prices and perhaps a risk premium half that size in forward

prices. Spot prices of Brent crude oil jumped 4.5 per cent (about $5 a barrel)

on the fall of Mosul and the spreading

territorial control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis)

over central Iraq.

Deferred (five-year) prices also jumped, albeit by a more modest 3 per cent

($3, to about $98) on the heels of consumer hedging. Prices barely budged after

military conflict emerged around the Baiji refinery that provides diesel and

gasoline for Baghdad.

No disruption yet

There has been no impact on Iraqi exports so far. The only disruption took

place in March, the last time the pipeline delivering crude from the Kirkuk field in the north to Ceyhan in Turkey was

blown up.

Exports from the south are set to reach 2.8m b/d next month, a 30-year high,

and could grow further now that new export infrastructure is in place. Exports

from the northern Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area are about 120,000b/d

and remain well out of harm’s way.

Pending an agreement on revenue sharing, which looks more likely given Baghdad’s need for cash,

production could rise by another 100,000b/d for the KRG by year-end.

At stake is the

650,000b/d of other northern production in the so-called Sunni triangle

including Kirkuk.

That is already down to about 400,000b/d given the closing of Kirkuk production, now under KRG control. But

no additional export flows are threatened.

Perhaps misleadingly, the International Energy Agency has indicated that its

estimated call on Opec for 2014 will be 30.1m b/d, versus recent Opec

production of about 30m b/d, indicating that markets might already be tight.

But the agency is positing US oil production growth this year of 850,000b/d

versus year-to-date growth of 1.35m b/d.

The IEA also projects US natural gas liquids production rising by 276,000b/d

this year, but already in the first quarter it rose by 178,000b/d. Add up

surprising growth in other places, including Colombia and Argentina, and the

world looks better supplied this year than the IEA indicates.

That does not make the events unfolding in Iraq significantly less worrying

for oil markets. Before the Libyan crisis the level of oil flows disrupted by

civil unrest or international conflict was normally about 500,000b/d.

Post-Libya, offline oil-flows have increased, first to about 2m b/d and more

recently to more than 3.5m b/d, including the effect of sanctions on Iran.

Surprisingly, oil prices have not changed much and indeed Brent, the global

benchmark, has averaged close to $110 every quarter since the Libyan crisis, as

lost supplies have been made up by Saudi Arabia using spare capacity and the US

increasing its production by about 1m b/d annually. But with the possibility of

political fragmentation in Iraq,

and with civil unrest emerging elsewhere, there are valid concerns about

reliance on supply from Opec in future.

Other potential consequences must also be considered. Iraq is still sticking to

a production target of more than 8m b/d by 2020, which would involve southern

production ramping up to 6.75m b/d.

The longer term

But for many the bigger issue is not what happens this week or next month but

what Isis’s rapid advance means for the country’s oil industry in the longer


But even under the best case scenario, Iraqi export capacity in the Gulf looks

likely to be capped at 4m b/d. If use of the north-south pipeline is in effect

lost through permanent political fragmentation, global balances would suffer.

Use of pipelines through Turkey

would be required to export more than 4m b/d.

On the other hand, the outlook for production growth in the KRG region has

improved considerably. Ironically, this could result in Iraqi production

actually increasing significantly this year if an agreement is reached on

revenue collection and sharing between Baghdad

and Erbil.

With the KRG’s militia having taken the Kirkuk

field, the possibility exists for interrupted Kirkuk

flows to be brought to market through the KRG’s pipeline to and through Turkey. With

pipeline capacity of 400,000b/d, those flows could increase by as much as

280,000b/d by year-end. In the longer-term, the KRG region could attract more

capital for further development of its oil resources as well. Meanwhile, the

price premium is justified: global markets do not have much more wiggle room

for another supply disruption.

Ed Morse is global head of commodities research at Citi







比较危险的是伊拉克北部其他地区(即所谓的逊尼三角地带(Sunni triangle),包括基尔库克)的65万桶的日产量。鉴于目前处在KRG控制之下的基尔库克已经停产,这一地区的日产量已经降至约40万桶。但除此之外,再无别的供应受到威胁。













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