Saturday, January 1, 2011

Iraq boosts oil production to highest level in, uh...20 months?

Linked at Drumbeat, Dec 27th: Iraq's Oil Production Reaches Highest in 20 Years to 2.6 Million Barrels.

Iraq’s oil production exceeded 2.6 million barrels a day for the first time in 20 years, newly appointed Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said at a press conference in Baghdad.
The rising output will boost Iraq’s oil exports by 5 percent to 2 million barrels a day next month, Falah al-Amri, head of the country’s State Oil Marketing Organization, said today in an interview in Baghdad. The nation sells about 60 percent of supplies to India, China and other Asian countries where demand is increasing, he said

As the expression goes, OMFG! Numbers for Iraq production are freely available to the public and clearly show them topping that figure around a decade ago. I couldn't let this stand, and responded thus:

EIA also has Iraq at 2756.08 kb/d C+C in Nov 2001. Between this and that latest Peak Demand story people sure are fond of the Big Lie for the holidays. Perhaps al-Luaibi is referring to homegrown production numbers that we're simply not privy to? Or he's consolidating his position with Bold Claims to match al-Shahristani's, and we know how bold those were.

Wonder if any MSM ists will notice this simple fact about those production numbers.

Now, on closer examination, the good Minister must be utilizing a more conservative source for his data than the EIA; how else could he make such a fantastic statement when they have Iraq at 3005 for October 2000? Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) data for Iraq only begins in 2007; checking out Stuart Staniford's Dec 14th Update on Iraqi Oil Production it doesn't look like I'm missing anything - he charts O&GJ numbers back through 2000 but from the looks of things they track EIA perfectly anyway.  You can clearly see that they breach 2.6 mb/d a number of times.

But feh, these are just distant government agencies, what would they know about production on the ground? Surely OPEC themselves will be the final arbiter of what OPEC is producing? Er...


From the December 2001 MOMR, here are the archives for that year. Well hey, Iraq has been a mess for decades, perhaps as I suggested the Minister is privy to real numbers - but not one ist has stepped forward to point out this rather glaring anomaly.

As a finale, giving the Minister the benefit of the benefit of the benefit of the doubt, searching for online charts of Iraq production I do see a good few like this:

From Why is petrol so expensive? - On Line Opinion - 8/8/2006. "mathews" is part of the filename for this chart. Damn Peakists! But Matt wouldn't have just blatantly revised numbers downward. I wonder if the data was massaged at some point - which is something with EIA data I've noticed myself on occasion.

UPDATE: A table from the 2001 OPEC Annual Report:


That certainly creates the impression of <2.6 mb/d. Averaging out EIA numbers for 2001 gives 2387.55 kb/d, vs 2390 kb/d for the annual figure. But that first is seriously compromised by sharply reduced levels for four months. The median figure for 2001 monthly is still 2691.23 kb/d. For 2000 the mean is 2572.5 kb/d, the median is 2625 kb/d. OPEC : Annual Report archive.

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