Iraq stops pumping oil under UN relief scheme; no new loadings planned

Iraq stops pumping oil under UN relief scheme; no new loadings planned

Having announced the suspension of its petroleum exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme, Iraq has stopped pumping oil into the Iraq/Turkey pipeline, the UN office overseeing the humanitarian effort said today.

The Office of the Iraq Programme said that at Ceyhan terminal, which is used for the flow of oil through that pipeline, the last vessel had been loaded on 3 June. At the second authorized terminal, Mina al-Bakr, the last scheduled loading was being completed today.

Iraq has not scheduled any new loadings for the current phase IX of the programme, whose extension came into effect on 4 June and runs through 3 July.

In the week leading up to 1 June, Iraq exported 17.4 million barrels of oil, earning an estimated €492 million, according to the oil-for food programme. During the same period, the UN oil overseers approved a new contract for the purchase of 2 million barrels of Iraqi petroleum. There are now 173 approved contracts covering more than 569 barrels of oil.

The oil-for-food programme was set up by the Security Council in April 1995 as a "temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people." The first oil under the programme was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments of food arrived the following March. Under the oil-for-food programme, Iraq is allowed to sell its oil and petroleum products and use the revenue to purchase humanitarian goods, pay compensation to victims claiming damages as a result of Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and cover certain other expenses, such as administrative costs.