Refinery in flames

While Iraq's oil exports surge the fall of the Baiji Refinery is to ISIS terrorists is not providing any comfort to the global market. The refinery which supplies Bagdad with gasoline and diesel shows that the situation in Iraq is not getting better. Oil companies are pulling out nonessential personnel even in the south of the country where at least so far things are relatively held. Oil (NYMEX:CLN14) companies are trying to export while the exporting is good yet the possibility of an oil shock is rising the south of Iraq starts to fall. While reports by the Energy Information Administration showing that North Dakota oil output hit a record 1 million barrels a day, will the Fed acknowledge the risk and signal a pause in the taper if things get worse? Or will it be oil prices spikes are transitory? In the meantime oil and products are back on the rise.

While the Iraqi Army tries with some success to defend Baghdad, President Obama decided against immediate airstrikes allowing Sunni extremists to continue to commandeer U.S. military equipment and execute captured soldiers. Dow Jones reported that parts of Iraq's main oil refinery were in flames Wednesday as government forces fought to repel militants who gained partial control of the oil facility, Iraqi security officials said. Sunni militant fighters behind a week-old offensive that has claimed several major cities and towns in northern Iraq attacked the refinery in the northern city of Baiji overnight and seized part of the installation, an oil ministry official in the country's north said. The official said employees fled the refinery as it came under attack, the latest in a weeklong siege of the oil hub. The fighting over the main source of Iraq's refined fuel for its domestic market doesn't affect production or exports from the country's chief oil fields and facilities in the south, where militants haven't reached.

In the southern parts of Iraq its business as usual. Bloomberg News reported that Iraq's oil exports from its southern terminals in the Persian Gulf are poised to surge at a time when fighting has plunged the country's north into chaos and Islamist militias are advancing toward Baghdad. Exports of Basrah Light Crude, the country's main grade, may reach about 2.8 million barrels a day next month, according to a preliminary loading plan obtained by Bloomberg News yesterday. That's 11 percent more than this year's average and would be close to a three-decade high of 2.799 million barrels that Iraq said were exported from all its ports each day in February. OPEC's second-largest producer shipped 5.43 million barrels from Basrah on June 11, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said in Vienna the next day.

Yet can that continue if Bagdad is staved of oil products and cities continue to fall. Baghdad citizens may lose. In the mean-time the Kurds are taking full advantage of this. While watching the Iraqi oil fall apart the Kurds moved in and took over oil and production facilities.

Reuters reports that Iraqi Kurdistan has built a link connecting Kirkuk to its newly-built pipeline to Turkey, its minister of natural resources said, potentially cementing Kurdish control over the northern oil hub and reducing its reliance on Baghdad. The link could allow the Kurds to start exports of Kirkuk crude oil through their own network, giving them a major source of independent revenue and boosting any ambitions of sovereign statehood as Iraq falls into increasing disarray. The new link connects Kirkuk's Ivana dome to the Khurmala dome out of which the Kurdish pipeline runs. "That blue line was finished," Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) minister for natural resources, told a conference in London, pointing to a map of the pipelines.

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