Iraqi oil minister, Jabbar al-Luaibi, announces the relaunch of Basrah Light at Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC).
Iraq has set its sights on launching a new Light Crude in 2019. At time of writing only two grades are available on the Iraq oil market; Basrah Heavy (API 23-24) and Basrah Light (API 29-30). However, plans announced this week are to rebrand Basrah Light as Basrah Medium and launch a new Basrah Light with an API 34-40.
While no timeframe has been announced it is understood that the new Basrah Light will come from oil fields in the Yamama formation and other prioritised reservoirs. With an export goal of 1 mb/d in 2019 there is significant hope this will raise further revenues for Iraq as well as offering consumers crudes with tighter specs.
SOMO export figures show that in first eight months of 2018, Iraq's government exported an average of 3.482 mb/d, of which 2,639 mb/d was of the current Basrah Light grade (76%) and 843,000 b/d was of Basrah Heavy (24%). Expectations are that Iraq's oil exports will remain at around 3.6 mb/d through 2019.
The news has been welcomed by many existing consumers as concerns have recently been raised over the consistency of the existing blends and attentions are beginning to turn towards IMO2020 looming 0.5% sulphur cap.