As Western countries seek to wean themselves off Russian oil, Iraq is moving crude supplies from its core customer base in Asia to refineries in Europe and the country may soon be able to supply larger volumes with the upgrade of a loading port, according to the statement by officials with state marketer SOMO on May 12.
An anonymous official remarked that with China and India buying Russian oil, Iraq feels there would be greater European demand for their oil.
This is a modest shift in policy for Iraq, which has previously allocated about 70% of its oil to Asian clients, supporting OPEC's second-largest producer's push to prioritize sales to its most profitable market.
However, since the invasion of Ukraine, countries like China and India have renewed their hunger for severely discounted Russian oil while Europe, Russia's key consumer, is looking for alternatives.
According to the official, the usual Iraqi crude flows are now being adjusted as Northwestern refineries on Europe pay more attention to their crude. He also highlights the qualitative similarities between Iraqi crude and Russia's flagship Urals crude.