Reduced pumping rates through Iraq's northern oil export pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan are expected to cause delays of eight to nine days to crude oil loadings
from the Mediterranean terminal because of insufficient volumes in storage, shipping and trading sources said Thursday.
Pumping through the pipeline, damaged by a bomb attack over a week ago, resumed on Wednesday but at below normal levels, the sources said.
"Kirkuk pumping has restarted and tonight the loading of Conoco's vessel will be completed but they don't have oil in stock in Ceyhan, so what they pump is what they can load and as I understand the daily rate is not enough to load at least five vessels that are waiting there, almost 6 million barrels," a trading source said.
One shipping agent said Iraq was pumping Kirkuk crude through the pipeline at a rate of 21,222 barrels/hour on Thursday.
"This means they are pumping 510,000 barrels of crude per day, the rate is below normal. Apparently 188,000 will be used for the ConocoPhillips vessel presently under loading and the problem is that they don't have stocks at Ceyhan and five vessels are waiting," a trader said.
The same source said that delays of eight to nine days are expected until normal rates resume.
Another shipping agent said that, while there was some crude oil stored at Ceyhan, some customs problems are preventing the loading of available barrels. The source did not elaborate on the exact nature of the problem.
Some shipping agents have said that "technical" problems have been preventing the loading of larger volumes from Ceyhan storage.