The following chronology lists significant events related to Iraq and energy. Simply click on a specific date to review the energy chronology for that period. Sources include: Congressional Quarterly (CQ), Dallas Morning News (DMN), Dow Jones (DJ), Energy Market Consultants (EMC), Financial Times (FT), Herold's Oil Headliner (HOH), Los Angeles Times (LAT), Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Middle East Journal (MEJ), New York Times (NYT), Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW), Platt's Oilgram News (PON), Reuters (R), United Nations, USA Today (USA), U.S. Department of State (State), Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Washington Post (WP), Washington Times (WT), World Gas Intelligence (WGI), and World Markets Research Centre (WMRC).
September 17, 1980 In the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and overthrow of the Shah, Iraq breaks its 1975 treaty with Iran and proclaims sovereignty over the Shatt al-Arab waterway.
September 23, 1980 The Iran-Iraq War begins, with mutual bombing of installations, including the Abadan refinery, and an Iraqi ground offensive.
November 10, 1980 Iraq captures the Iranian port of Khorramshahr.
November 20-24, 1980 U.N. Gulf War mediator Olaf Palme makes his first peace shuttle between Tehran and Baghdad.
November 23, 1980 After seizing over 4,000 square miles of Iranian territory, Iraq suffers its first minor military setback since the war's outbreak.
January 1981 Iraq beats back Iran's first major counteroffensive.
June 8, 1981 Israel bombs the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor.
September 27-28, 1981 Iran relieves its besieged port city of Abadan.
November 29, 1981 Iran launches a major offensive on the central front with Iraq.
February 1982 Olaf Palme makes his fifth unsuccessful U.N. peace bid.
March 1982 In a show of support for Iran, Syria closes Iraq's 400,000-barrels-per-day trans-Syrian oil export pipeline.
March 22-24, 1982 Iran launches an offensive in the Dezful region; recaptures Khorramshahr.
June 1982 Iran demands $150 billion in reparations from Iraq, and pledges that the war will continue until Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq since 1979, stands trial.
June 10, 1982 Iraq declares a unilateral cease-fire in its war with Iran.
July 13, 1982 Iran launches its first attack into Iraq.
November 1, 1982 Iran attacks Dezful.
April 1983 Iraq increases missile attacks on Iran.
July 20-30, 1983 Iranian troops move into northern Iraq.
July 26, 1983 The United States warns of action to preserve navigation in the Persian Gulf.
October 1983 Iran attacks northern Iraq, threatening Kirkuk pipeline.
November 1983 Iran threatens to block the Straits of Hormuz, while Iraq threatens to attack Kharg Island, Iran's main oil export terminal. Saudi Arabia charters 11 VLCC's (very large crude carriers) to store oil off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
February 1984 Iran opens a "massive" offensive against Iraq. The U.S. Navy stands by to keep the Straits of Hormuz open.
February-March 1984 Iran captures Iraq's oil-rich Majnoon Islands; Iraq orders use of chemical weapons.
March 27, 1984 "Tanker war" begins with Iraqi attacks on shipping near the Iranian coast. In coming months, many tankers are attacked by both Iran and Iraq, war risk insurance premiums for tankers soar, and oil tanker traffic in the Gulf (particularly to Iran's Kharg Island terminal) is reduced.
May-June 1985 The "Battle of the Cities" begins, involving heavy bombing and missile attacks on Iranian and Iraqi cities.
August 15, 1985 Iraq attacks Iran's Nowruz oil field, and launches its first air raid on Kharg Island, Iran's main oil export terminal. Through November, Iraq attacks Kharg Island 44 times in an attempt to destroy the facility. Kuwait puts its forces on alert.
February 9, 1986 Iran crosses the Shatt al-Arab and captures the southern Faw peninsula. Saddam Hussein vows to repulse Iran "at all costs."
February 20, 1986 Iraqi jets shoot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing Iranian religious and political leaders.
May 7, 1986 Iraq bombs Tehran refinery.
July 27, 1986 Iraq bombs the central Iranian city of Arak; Iran threatens missile attacks on Arab Gulf states supporting Iraq.
August 2, 1986 In an open letter to Iran, Saddam Hussein offers peace.
August 12, 1986 Iran fires a missile at Iraq's Dawrah oil refinery, located near Baghdad. Iraq attacks five tankers at Iran's Sirri Island terminal, seriously disrupting Iranian oil exports.
May 17, 1987 The USS Stark is damaged in an Iraqi missile attack, killing 37 crew members. Iraq apologizes and says that the attack was a mistake. Shortly thereafter, the United States begins military escorts of Kuwaiti tankers that had been "reflagged" as American, with U.S. crews.
September 21, 1987 Iraq signs a contract for a $1.5-billion oil pipeline through Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea port of Yanbu.
September 22, 1987 U.S. forces attack an Iranian mine-laying vessel in the Persian Gulf.
October 19, 1987 In retaliation for Iran's attack on the "reflagged" tanker, Sea Isle City, U.S. forces destroy an Iran's Rostam oil platform.
March 16, 1988 Saddam Hussein uses nerve gas to attack Kurds. In the northern Iraq town of Halabja, nearly 5,000 men, women and children are killed. Scientists believe that those not killed in surrounding areas are still suffering the effects of the nerve gas. (State)
April 29, 1988 The United States announces protection for all shipping in the Persian Gulf.
April-August 1988 Iraq achieves a series of military victories over Iran, including recapturing the Faw peninsula and the Majnoon Islands, plus a major northern offensive into Iran which captured huge amounts of artillery and armor.
August 20, 1988 Following Iran's acceptance on July 18 of U.N. Security Council Resolution 598, which calls for a ceasefire, the Iran-Iraq War officially ends.
July 17 In a speech, Saddam Hussein accuses certain Gulf States of harming Iraq by pushing down oil prices. He also accuses the United States of conspiring to lower oil prices, and threatens that "action will have to be taken to restore matters to their normal course."
July 18 In a memorandum to the Arab League, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tariq 'Aziz accuses Kuwait of "attempting to weaken Iraq," encroaching on Iraqi territory, draining oil from the Rumaila field which straddles the two countries' border, and -- along with the UAE -- colluding to "flood the oil market...[leading] to the collapse" of oil prices. The memorandum calls Kuwait's actions "tantamount to military aggression." Kuwait denies the charges.
July 23 Unconfirmed reports indicate that as many as 30,000 Iraqi troops have been moved to the border with Kuwait.
July 24 The U.S. State Department confirms that Iraqi troop movements were taking place, and warns Iraq against the use of force.
August 1 An Iraqi delegation walks out of talks with its Kuwaiti counterparts without any agreement being reached. Iraq says that Kuwait was not dealing seriously with the problems between the two countries.
August 2 Iraq invades Kuwait. The U.S. government embargoes oil imports from Iraq, freezes Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets in the United States, and starts moving naval reinforcements towards the Persian Gulf. The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 660 condemning the Iraqi invasion and calling for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal.
August 5 President Bush says that Iraq's invasion of Kuwait "will not stand" and proposes a sweeping economic blockade and sanctions against Iraq.
August 6 The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 661 imposing a mandatory and complete embargo of all investment and trade, including oil, with Iraq and occupied Kuwait. This results in a reduction of over 4 million bbl/d in oil supplies to world markets (over the next several months, Saudi Arabia increases its production to make up the loss). President Bush orders the deployment of U.S. armed forces to defend Saudi Arabia in an operation named "Operation Desert Shield."
August 8-10 Iraq proclaims the annexation of Kuwait. Thousands of U.S. troops take up positions in Saudi Arabia. President Bush declares that the independence of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states is of "vital interest" to the United States. At an emergency summit in Cairo, 12 Arab states vote to send troops to help defend Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states against Iraqi actions. The U.N. Security Council declares Iraq's annexation of Kuwait as "null and void." (MEJ)
August 17/18 Iraq announces that it will "play host" to citizens of countries in the international coalition using them as "human shields" against possible coalition attacks. The U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 664 calling on Iraq to release all foreign citizens and warns Iraq against harming them.
September 1 An emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo calls for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, pay reparations, and allow foreigners to leave Iraq and Kuwait. (MEJ)
October 29 The U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 674 making Iraq liable for damages, injuries, and financial losses resulting from the invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
November 29 The U.N. Security Council approves Resolution 678, authorizing use of "all necessary means" to force Iraq from Kuwait if Iraq does not withdraw by January 15, 1991.
January 12 The U.S. Congress authorizes President Bush to use "all necessary means" to force Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.
January 16 Coalition airstrikes ("Operation Desert Storm") against Iraq begin at midnight.
January 22 Iraq launches a Scud missile attack against Israel. This follows similar attacks on Saudi Arabia.
January 23 Iraqi military forces deliberately create a huge oil spill in the Persian Gulf, the largest oil spill on record. U.S. officials term the spill an act of "environmental terrorism."
January 29 Iraqi troops attack Khafji, in Saudi Arabia, and are defeated by Coalition forces.
February 15 Iraq offers to withdraw from Kuwait. Coalition forces reject the offer due to numerous conditions attached to it.
February 24 Given the failure of several efforts to avert conflict, and the lack of an Iraqi troop withdrawal from Kuwait, allied forces begin their long-planned land, sea, and air offensive aimed at driving Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Iraqi forces begin destroying Kuwaiti oilwells and other oilfield infrastructure.
February 28 Tariq 'Aziz announces Iraq's acceptance of all relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions. Saddam Hussein calls on his troops to cease fire. President Bush announces a coalition ceasefire.
April 3 U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 specifies cease-fire conditions. The Resolution mandates that Iraq respect the sovereignty of Kuwait; declare and destroy, remove, or render harmless all ballistic missile systems with a range of more than 150 kilometers; confirms that Iraq must repatriate all Kuwaiti and third-state nationals and extend complete cooperation to the Red Cross in these efforts; and create a compensation fund, financed by Iraq, to meet its liability for losses, damages, and injuries related to its unlawful occupation of Kuwait. (State)
April 16 Following an Iraqi army offensive against Kurds in northern Iraq which results in 2 million Kurdish refugees, President Bush announces a plan to establish "safe havens" in northern Iraq, protected by US, French, and British troops. (MEED)
June 17 The U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) is established to monitor Iraqi disarmament. (State)
June 23-28 Iraq violates cease-fire agreements and U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. For the first time, Iraqi troops fire shots to prevent UNSCOM/IAEA inspectors from intercepting Iraqi vehicles carrying nuclear-related equipment. Equipment is later found and destroyed under cease-fire rules. (State)
June 25 The United States announces formation of an intervention force to protect Kurds in northern Iraq.
July 18-20 Iraqi ballistic missile concealment revealed. UNSCOM discovers and destroys undeclared decoy missiles and launch support equipment. (State)
August 2-8 UNSCOM uncovers a major Iraqi biological weapons program, including seed stocks of three biological warfare agents and three potential warfare strains. (State)
September 6-13 Iraq blocks UNSCOM's use of helicopters to conduct inspections. (State)
September 24 Iraq agrees to allow U.N. helicopters to make unrestricted flights over its territory.
October 9 A ceasefire is agreed between Kurdish and Iraqi forces.
October 11 U.N. Security Council Resolution 715 approves plans for on-going monitoring and verification of Iraqi weapons program. The Resolution establishes that Iraq must cooperate fully with the UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors. (State)
May 1992 Iraq admits to having had a "defensive" biological weapons program.
July 1992 UNSCOM begins the destruction of large quantities of Iraqi chemical weapons and production facilities.
August 26, 1992 The United States, Britain, and France announce the establishment of a southern "no fly zone" to protect Iraqi dissidents in southern Iraq from regime air attacks. (A northern "no fly zone" has been in place since the 1991 cease-fire).
December 27, 1992 U.S. fighter planes shoot down an Iraqi aircraft violating southern "no fly zone."
January 1993 Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM to use its own aircraft in Iraq. Also, Iraq begins incursions into the demilitarized zone with Kuwait, and increases its military activity in the no-fly zones. The U.N. Security Council states that Iraq's actions were an "unacceptable and material" breach of Resolution 687 and warns Iraq of "serious consequences." Shortly thereafter, the United States, UK, and France launch air raids on southern Iraq. On January 19, Iraq agrees to allow UNSCOM flights in Iraq.
June-July 1993 Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM to install remote-controlled monitoring cameras at two missile engine test sites. The U.N. Security Council warns Iraq of serious consequences, and Iraq subsequently backs down.
November 26, 1993 Iraq finally accepts U.N. Security Council Resolution 715. (State)
October 6, 1994 Iraq threatens to cease cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, and moves troops toward the border with Kuwait. (State)
October 14, 1994 Iraq announces that as of October 12 it had withdrawn its troops to their previous positions. (State)
October 15, 1994 The U.N. Security Council adopts Resolution 949, condemning Iraq's large-scale deployment of military units toward the Kuwaiti border and demanding their complete withdrawal. The Security Council also demands that Iraq not re-deploy these troops to the south and that Iraq cooperate fully with UNSCOM. (State)
April 6-7, 1995 A seminar of international biological weapons experts convened by UNSCOM concludes that Iraq has an undeclared full-scale biological weapons program. (State)
May 1-3, 1995 A seminar of international chemical weapons experts convened by UNSCOM concludes that Iraq has not adequately disclosed its past chemical weapons programs. (State)
July 1, 1995 As a result of UNSCOM's investigations, Iraq admits for the first time the existence of an offensive biological weapons program (but denies weaponization). (State)
August 8, 1995 Jordan grants asylum to two sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein -- Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan al-Majid, who had supervised Iraq's weapons of mass destruction development programs since 1987, and his brother, Lt. Col. Saddam Kamel Hassan al-Majid, who formerly headed the presidential security forces. The two men were married to the two eldest daughters of Saddam Hussein. (Note: Kamel is killed 3 days after his return to Iraq on February 20, 1996)
August 20, 1995 Iraq provides to UNSCOM and the IAEA previously concealed information: 680,000 pages of documents, computer disks, videotapes, and microfilm, related to its prohibited weapons programs which subsequently leads to further disclosures by Iraq concerning the production of the nerve agent VX (the most advanced, deadly, and long-lasting chemical agent) and Iraq's development of a nuclear weapon. (State)
November 1995 Jordan intercepts a large shipment of high-grade missile components headed for Iraq. UNSCOM conducts an investigation which confirms that Iraqi authorities and missile facilities have been involved in the acquisition of sophisticated guidance and control components for proscribed missiles. (State)
January 17, 1996 Iraq agrees to talks concerning a U.N. plan to allow for the Iraqi sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. In the past, Iraq has opposed clauses 6 and 8b contained in Resolution 986. Clause 6 stipulates that oil exports under this plan must pass through the 1.6-million b/d Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which currently is unusable because of sludge build-ups and pumping station damage. By most estimates, the line would take a minimum of three months to repair. Clause 8b states that part of the proceeds from the sales would be disbursed under U.N. supervision to Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq. Negotiations between Iraq and the U.N. are scheduled to begin February 6, 1996. (FT, PON, DJ)
February 19, 1996 In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end almost two weeks of negotiations over Iraq's possible sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. Concurrent with the talks, Iraqi and Turkish officials meet to determine the status of the 1.6-million b/d Iraq-Turkey pipeline, through which a majority of the oil exports would flow. The UN-Iraq talks, which end without a decision, are scheduled to restart in March 1996. (NYT)
March 18, 1996 In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end a second round of negotiations over Iraq's possible sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. While both sides have reached agreement on several key issues, the details concerning distribution of aid to Kurds in northern Iraq remains unresolved. Due in part to market uncertainty surrounding the talks, oil prices rise to their highest levels since the 1991 Gulf War. The UN-Iraq talks are scheduled to restart on April 8. (DJ, NYT)
March 1996 UNSCOM teams are denied immediate access to five sites designated for inspection. The teams enter the sites after delays of up to 17 hours. On March 19, the U.N. Security Council issues a Presidential statement terming Iraq's behavior a clear violation of Iraq's obligations under relevant resolutions. (State)
April 24, 1996 In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end a third round of negotiations over Iraq's possible sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. While both sides have reached agreement on most of the key issues, chief Iraqi negotiator Abdul Amir al-Anbari says that the United States and the United Kingdom have fundamentally altered the text of a proposed agreement which he had received from the United Nations early in the third round. Al-Anbari states that the changes have postponed any possible deal. The UN-Iraq talks are scheduled to restart on May 10. (DJ)
May 20, 1996 In New York, the United Nations and Iraq agree to U.N. Security Council Resolution 986, which provides Iraq with the opportunity to sell $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under the Resolution, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. The agreement comes following months of heated negotiations. Iraqi oil exports are expected to begin by the Fall of 1996, after a pumping station on the Iraq-Turkey pipeline is repaired and U.N monitoring and aid distribution facilities are put in place. Shortly after the agreement, the White House announces its decision to allow U.S. oil companies to purchase Iraqi oil exports. (FT, PON, WSJ)
May/June 1996 UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq's main biological weapons facility. (State)
June 12, 1996 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1060 terms Iraq's denial of access to UNSCOM teams a clear violation of the provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolutions. It also demands that Iraq grant immediate and unrestricted access to all sites designated for inspection by UNSCOM. (State)
June 17, 1996 The Middle East Economic Digest reports that Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) will soon sign a 3-month sales contracts with foreign oil companies. In another development, the United Nations selects France-based Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) to hold the escrow account for Iraqi oil sales, the proceeds of which will be used by the U.N. for humanitarian purposes. Iraq could begin exporting oil under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986 as early as late September 1996. (DJ)
July 1, 1996 The United States rejects an Iraqi plan for distributing food and medicine under United Nations Security Council Resolution 986, on the grounds that it would allow Saddam Hussein's government to evade certain sanctions as well as to give it control over distribution of supplies to separatist Kurds in northern Iraq. Resolution 986 would allow Iraq to sell $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial period of 6 months. (WP)
July 18, 1996 The United Nations formally approves an Iraqi aid distribution plan, a major step forward in the direction of allowing Iraq to sell oil under Security Council Resolution 986. (DJ)
August 8, 1996 The United States withdraws its opposition to United Nations Security Council Resolution 986, which would allow Iraq to sell $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial period of 6 months. Under the plan, proceeds from the oil sales would be used for humanitarian purposes. In recent days, the United States had been the only nation on the 15-member U.N. Security Council to oppose the plan. It had done so ostensibly to ensure proper monitoring procedures were in place to allow for the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to civilians. (FT)
August 30, 1996 The United States presents A conclusive evidence@ to the U.N. Sanctions Committee that Iran is complicitous in the smuggling of petroleum products from Iraq through the Persian Gulf. According to U.S. allegations, Iran uses barges and small ships to carry oil products from southern Iraq into Iranian territorial waters. Shipping documents then are forged to show that the cargo is of Iranian origin. (PON, NYT)
October 16, 1996 In Geneva, the U.N. Compensation Committee rejects an Iraqi request to use revenues from the proposed oil sales under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986 to fund a legal defense against claims resulting from the 1991 Gulf War. Resolution 986 would allow Iraq to sell up to $1 billion worth of oil every six months. The deal originally was delayed by Iraq's incursion into the Kurdish safe haven zone in September 1996. More recently, the United States has requested time to review the pricing structure for the Iraqi oil sales, money from which must be used for humanitarian aid. (DJ)
November 17, 1996 Iraq's National Assembly approves a proposal by China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation to develop the small al-Ahdab oil field, which is located near the giant East Baghdad field. While several French and Russian oil companies have conducted negotiations for the development of oil fields in Iraq, the deal for al-Ahdab is the first that has actually been signed. Existing U.N. sanctions forbid foreign investment in Iraq's oil sector. (DJ)
December 9, 1996 The United Nations approves U.N. Security Council Resolution 986, which allows Iraq to export up to $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial six month period. Income from the oil sales will be used in part for food and other humanitarian supplies. Implementation of the deal recently has been delayed because of Iraq's invasion of Kurdish safe haven areas in September and the U.S. review of the pricing formula in October. (DJ)
December 17, 1996 A U.N. panel rules that Kuwait Oil Company will receive $610 million, almost two-thirds of the $951 million it claims to have spent while extinguishing oil fires left by the retreating Iraqi army in 1991. In addition, the United Nations has approved 862,000 claims amounting to $3.2 billion for people forced to leave Kuwait because of the Iraqi occupation. (DJ)
December 30, 1996 The United Nations announces that a total of 21 contracts have been approved for the limited Iraqi oil sales under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986. The approved contracts will allow for 43.68 million barrels of oil to be exported in the first 90 days of the sale. At present, exports of 26.37 million barrels have been approved for the second 90-day period of the sale, which allows Iraq to sell up to $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial 6-month period. In mid-December 1996, Iraq restarted the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which is expected to carry up to 450,000 b/d of oil under the sales agreements approved so far under U.N. Security Council Resolution 986. Iraq's remaining oil exports will flow through the Mina al-Bakr terminal. (NYT, DJ)
January 6, 1997 Iraq informs its customers that it will reduce its contractual crude oil sales volumes in order to stay within the $1 billion limit for the first 90 days of the United Nations' "Oil-for-Food" agreement. (DJ)
January 7, 1997 The United Nations approves three more contracts for the sale of Iraqi oil, bringing to 24 the total number of contracts approved so far under the "Oil-for-Food" agreement. (DJ)
January 18, 1997 Iraq agrees to export 25 million barrels of crude oil and 7 million barrels of petroleum products to Jordan in 1997. The total, which equates to 88,000 barrels per day, is 7% more than in 1996. Jordan relies entirely on Iraqi crude oil, which is shipped under a special exemption from United Nations' sanctions against Iraq. Part of the oil is paid for at a reduced price ($19.10 per barrel in 1997, 25% higher than in 1996) and the rest of the oil goes toward reducing Iraq's $1.3 billion debt to Jordan and paying for Jordanian exports of food and medicine to Iraq (slated to increase by 17% to $255 million in 1997). (DJ)
January 28, 1997 The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reports that Iraq has exported a total of 11.5 million barrels of crude oil from its Persian Gulf terminal of Mina al Bakr since it began selling oil under the United Nations' "Oil-for-Food" deal in December 1996. (PON)
January 29, 1997 The Clinton Administration refutes news reports that Iraq is threatening its neighbors, but restates the U.S. willingness to act if Iraq does become aggressive. The statement is in reaction to speculation following reports that Saddam Hussein's wife has been placed under house arrest and his son risks losing a leg to gangrene in the wake of a previous assassination attempt. March light, sweet crude oil futures prices settle sharply higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange (up 57 cents, to $24.47 per barrel). (DJ)
February 12, 1997 A U.S. admiral headquartered in Bahrain reports that tankers are smuggling tens of thousands of tons of fuel oil out of Iraq in violation of United Nations' sanctions by reportedly skirting the shoals of Iran's coast, apparently with Iranian approval. (WSJ)
February 17, 1997 The Middle East Economic Survey reports that Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization is increasing crude oil sales to reach its targeted $1.0 billion in sales for the first 90day period under the United Nations' oilforfood plan. The total value of contracts for the first 90 days is reported to be $800-$850 million, lower than expected due to lower oil prices (14% less than when the sale was announced in mid-December 1996) and the failure of Russian companies to lift contracted volumes. (DJ)
March 3, 1997 In its regular 60day review, the United Nations Security Council votes to maintain sanctions on Iraq. This is the 36th review since sanctions were first imposed in 1990. (DJ)
March 5, 1997 The United Nations approves the 36th contract for the sale of Iraqi oil and announces that the $1.07 billion limit for the first 90day period of Iraq's "Oil-for-Food" program has been "more or less" met. The $1.07 billion includes $70 million in pipeline fees to Turkey. (DJ)
March 18, 1997 Iraq grants Russia most favored nation status to receive Iraqi oil exports in exchange for humanitarian goods. Of the first 37 contracts approved by the United Nations in the "Oil-for-Food" sale, 7 went to Russian companies representing almost 20% of the volume of oil in the sale. (DJ)
March 22, 1997 Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid announces the establishment of a new Iraq/Russian oil company which will work independently of Iraq's national oil company, and reports that other agreements would be signed with France and China. Russia and France were Iraq's main arms suppliers before the Gulf War. (DJ)
April 14, 1997 An Iraqi Oil Ministry official reports that Iraq expects to earn more than $80 billion from its contract with Russia for the development of the West Qurna oil field in southern Iraq. The contract, which was initialed in March and approved by Iraq's National Assembly on April 13, calls for 560 wells which will produce 4.4 billion barrels over 23 years. According to the official, the part of the field being developed with Russia has 11.5 billion barrels in reserves and the entire West Qurna field has reserves of 38 billion barrels. The official states that production will begin "soon" (initially about 250,000 barrels per day, increasing to 600,000 barrels per day). (DJ)
May 1, 1997 In its regular 60day review, the United Nations Security Council votes to maintain sanctions on Iraq. This is the 37th review since sanctions were first imposed in 1990. This vote, however, does not affect the humanitarian oil sales. (DJ)
May 10, 1997 Turkey and Iraq sign a preliminary agreement to build an 807-mile pipeline to carry Iraqi natural gas to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The project must secure $2.5 billion in financing prior to implementation. (DJ)
May 27, 1997 Former Iraqi oil minister Issam AlChalabi estimates Iraq needs $5 billion of outside investment and two to three years for its oil industry to restore production to the level prior to the imposition of United Nations sanctions (3.8-4.2 million barrels per day). He also indicates that it would take 5 years and $30-50 billion to achieve production capacity of 5.5 million barrels per day. (DJ)
June 4, 1997 In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council renews for another 180-day period its "oilforfood" initiative with Iraq. Under the resolution, Iraq may sell $2 billion worth of oil to buy food, medicine and other necessities to alleviate civilian suffering under the sanctions imposed when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. (WP)
August 1, 1997 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan approves Iraq's request to add the Iraqi-Syrian border as an entry point for food and humanitarian aid under the "Oil-for-Food" program. The request provides further evidence of re-established official ties between the two countries. Ties were severed after Syria supported Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war, and this new link between Iraq and Syria follows the reopening in mid-June of three border points that were shut in 1980. (DJ)
August 4, 1997 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan approves a revised Iraqi aid distribution plan under the U.N. "Oil-for-Food" program. The "Oil-for-Food" program allows Iraq to sell approximately $2 billion of crude oil every six months. Sale periods are divided into two 90-day intervals. The proceeds from the oil sales are paid into a UN-run escrow account from which humanitarian supplies are purchased for the Iraqi people. The program went into effect in December 1996 and was renewed for another six months on June 8, 1997. However, since late May 1997, Iraq has refused to sell any oil until the U.N. approved the revised aid distribution plan which is designed to speed up the procedure for approving shipments of humanitarian goods. The next step for Iraq is to gain U.N. approval of an oil pricing formula, and then the United Nations must approve purchase contracts from buyers. Following these two approvals, Iraq can resume its oil exports. Iraq has until September 5, 1997 to sell $1.07 billion of oil under the current 90-day period. (DJ)
August 8, 1997 The United Nations approves a sale-price formula for Iraqi crude oil sales under the "Oil-for-Food" plan. The approval cleared the way for Iraq to resume limited oil exports immediately through the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea and Iraq's Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr. The United Nations will also begin reviewing contracts for Iraqi crude oil purchases. Iraq has until September 5 to raise the $1.07 billion allowed under the existing 90 day "Oil-for-Food" plan window. Iraqi officials state they will boost exports to 2 million barrels per day to meet the sales target. However, industry experts say that Iraq's export capacity is untested beyond 1.4 million barrel per day. (DJ)
September 12, 1997 The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 1129 that allows Iraq to reach the $2.14 billion oil sales limit under its "Oil-for-Food" program by December 5. The current 6-month oil sales window, running from June 8 to December 5, will be split into a 120-day segment and a 60-day segment instead of two 90-day segments. During each segment Iraq can sell $1.07 billion worth of oil. The Resolution should enable Iraq to make up for lost revenues during a delay in the start of oil sales during the first two months of the current six month sale period. (DJ)
October 8, 1997 The United Nation's Iraq Sanctions Committee votes to provide funds to Turkey to purchase spare parts for the Kirkuk-to-Yumurtalik pipeline that carries Iraqi crude oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The Committee said that the funds are for medium-term maintenance of the pipeline which is to carry at least half of Iraq's oil exports under the current six-month phase of the "Oil-for-Food" program. (DJ)
October 23, 1997 In response to Iraq's recent refusal to comply with U.N. arms inspections, the U.N. Security Council 1134 approves Resolution 1134 condemning Iraq's actions. Although the measure does not add new sanctions on Iraq, it expresses the Council's intentions of adopting travel restrictions on Iraqi military and intelligence officials if Iraq continues to inhibit U.N. arms inspections. The Resolution passed by a 10-0 vote with five abstentions. (DJ)
October 29, 1997 Iraq's Revolution Command Council, the country's main decision making body, announces that it will no longer allow U.S. citizens and U.S. aircraft to serve with the U.N. arms inspection teams. The council's statement gives U.S. citizens working with the inspection teams one week to leave Iraq. Iraq has also asked the U.N. to stop flights by American reconnaissance aircraft monitoring its compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions requiring the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. In response to this statement, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a statement condemning Iraq's threats to expel the Americans. (DJ)
November 3, 1997 An official from Russian oil drilling company Zarubezhneft denies an Iraqi news report that it will begin developing Iraq's 600,000-barrel-per-day West Qurna oil field. Zarubezhneft is part of a consortium led by Russia's Lukoil that signed a 23-year production sharing agreement with Iraq, valued at $3.8 billion, to develop the field. Zarubezhneft's Deputy General Director Yuri Agababov indicates that there have been negotiations but reiterates that work in Iraq will not start until United Nations sanctions are lifted. (DJ)
November 12, 1997 The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1137 condemning Iraq for its decision to expel Americans from U.N. weapons inspection teams. The Council's measure imposes a travel ban on Iraqi officials who obstruct the inspection teams and expresses the firm intention to take further unspecified measures if Iraq continues to defy the U.N. (DJ)
November 18, 1997 Nizar Hamdoon, Iraq's U.N. representative, announces that Iraq will not continue the U.N.-sponsored "Oil-for-Food" sale unless the U.N. agrees to a specific date for lifting economic sanctions. Hamdoon indicates that Iraq will continue to participate in the current six-month phase of the "Oil-for-Food" sale, which runs through December 4, 1997. (DJ)
November 20, 1997 Iraq's Revolution Command Council formally endorses an agreement, arranged by Russia, that enables U.N. weapons inspection teams to resume operations in Iraq. The deal ends a three-week standoff between the U.N. and Iraq that began in late October 1997 after Iraq announced it would no longer allow U.S. citizens to serve on U.N. weapons' inspection teams. (DJ)
November 28, 1997 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan decides not to give a recommendation on the amount of oil Iraq can sell in the next six month phase of the "Oil-for-Food" program. The current six month phase ends December 4, 1997. Annan will suggest improvements to the program, but will not specify a recommended amount of oil that Iraq will be allowed to export. Currently, Iraq is allowed to export $1.07 billion worth of oil every 90 days for two consecutive 90-day periods. (WP)
December 4, 1997 Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon warns that Iraq will not allow oil to flow during a third six-month phase of the U.N.'s "Oil-for-Food" sale until the U.N. approves an aid distribution plan. Despite the warning, the U.N. Security Council approves a third six-month phase following the end of the second six-month phase. Like the first two phases, the third phase allows Iraq to sell up to $1.07 billion of oil in each of two 90-day periods. However, the sales level may be increased by the Security Council in January 1998 after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reports on Iraq's needs. (WP)
December 23, 1997 After changing one word, the U.N. Security Council agrees to a statement criticizing, but not condemning, Iraq for refusing to grant U.N. weapons inspectors full access to suspected weapons sites. Opposition from Russia and other council members prompted the wording change. The statement comes after chief weapons inspector Richard Butler told the Security Council that Iraq would not allow access to all suspected weapons sites, including Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palaces and homes. (DJ)
January 14, 1998 In a show of support for Richard Butler, chairman of the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a statement deploring Iraq's recent actions to impede inspections by U.N. weapons monitors. (DJ)
January 14, 1998 Iraq begins exporting crude oil under the third phase of the United Nations sponsored "Oil-for-Food" program. First loadings are filling the million barrel tanker White Sea for French oil company Elf Aquitaine. Other companies expected to lift Iraqi crude in January include France's Total, Italy's Agip, Russia's Lukoil, and China's Sinochem. (DJ)
February 1, 1998 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls for an increase in the amount of oil Iraq can sell under the U.N.-sponsored "Oil-for-Food" program. Annan recommends raising the sales limit from $2.14 billion every six months to $5.2 billion. The recommendation now moves to the U.N.'s 15-member Security Council for approval. (WP)
February 6, 1998 Iraq rejects key parts of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposal to increase the amount of oil Iraq is permitted to sell under the U.N.'s "Oil-for-Food" program from $2.14 billion to $5.2 billion. In a letter to Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf objects to additional funds to pay for U.N. monitoring, proposals to repair electric power stations in northern Iraq, and plans for U.N. agencies to target aid to specific groups such as the poor and children. Al-Sahhaf writes that the Iraqi government should deliver the aid and determine which power stations are repaired not the U.N. (WP) (DJ)
February 9, 1998 In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf informs the U.N. that Iraq can only export up to $4 billion of oil in six months. The letter is a response to Annan's recommendation to the U.N. to allow Iraq to increase the amount it can export under the "Oil-for-Food" program from $2.14 billion to $5.2 billion. In addition, al-Sahhaf writes that a larger share of the oil sales should go towards humanitarian aid, while the amounts funding U.N. programs and a compensation fund for Persian Gulf war victims should be reduced. (DJ)
February 17, 1998 A barge carrying about 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel sinks in rough seas off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The barge is suspected of transporting smuggled fuel from Iraq. (DJ)
February 18, 1998 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan receives unanimous support from the U.N. Security Council for his diplomatic trip to Iraq. Annan is scheduled to meet with President Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders in an attempt to reach a diplomatic solution to the standoff between Iraq and the U.N. over weapons inspections. (DJ)
February 20, 1998 The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to more than double the amount of oil Iraq can export under the U.N. "Oil-for-Food" program. The Security Council's vote increases the amount Iraq can export from $2.14 billion to $5.26 billion over six months. Iraq maintains that it only has the capability to export up to $4 billion over a six-month period. (DJ)
February 22, 1998 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reaches an agreement with senior Iraqi officials over U.N. inspections of suspected Iraqi weapons sites. The deal includes opening eight Iraqi presidential compounds to weapons inspectors, one of the major points of contention between Iraq and the U.N. Annan will now present the agreement to the U.N. Security Council for approval. (WP)
March 1, 1998 Iraqi officials and independent experts report that Iraq's oil production system has fallen into such disrepair that Iraq cannot take full advantage of a recent U.N. Security Council resolution that more than doubled U.N.-authorized Iraqi oil sales to $5.26 billion every six months. Iraq says that, under current conditions, it can sell only $4 billion worth of oil over the next six months, unless it is allowed to purchase more equipment. Experts say that Iraq's production system needs $800 million of repairs, and that these repairs could take a year or more to complete. (NYT)
March 2, 1998 The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1154 endorsing Secretary Kofi Annan's agreement with Iraq on weapons inspections which includes the controversial presidential palaces. The Resolution threatens any Iraqi violation of the agreement with the "severest consequences," but does not authorize an automatic military response. (NYT) (DJ)
April 28, 1998 Despite direct appeals for relief from Iraq's foreign minister and oil minister, the U.N. Security Council decides to continue economic sanctions on Iraq, imposed in 1990 following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Security Council also announces that it will once again begin reviewing the sanctions every 60 days. The Council suspended 60-day reviews in October 1997 after Iraq expelled American members of U.N. weapons inspection teams. (DJ)
May 8, 1998 The U.N. Security Council accepts a recommendation to end a limited travel ban on some Iraqi government officials. The ban was approved on November 12, 1997 following Iraq's refusal to allow U.N. weapons inspectors access to eight "presidential palaces." In a letter to the Security Council, Richard Butler, chairman of the U.N. Special Commission, reported that Iraq has been granting weapons inspectors access to all sites and recommended termination of the travel ban. (DJ)
May 29, 1998 U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan approves Iraq's new aid distribution plan under the U.N. sponsored "Oil-for-Food" program, clearing the way for Iraq to export up to $5.26 billion worth of oil during the fourth phase of the program. Early this year, the U.N. agreed to allow Iraq to increase its oil exports from $2 billion , but Iraq maintains that it only has the capability to reach $4 billion. If oil prices remain at current levels, Iraq will need to export close to 2 million barrels per day of oil to reach $4 billion, up from current export rates of around 1.5 million barrels per day. To reach 2 million barrels per day, Iraq's production facilities are estimated to need approximately $300 million worth of repairs. (DJ)
June 19, 1998 The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1175 allowing Iraq to spend $300 million on spare parts for its oil industry. The funding is intended to help Iraq increase oil exports under the fourth phase of the U.N.'s "Oil-for-Food" program. The spare parts are expected to expand Iraq's oil export capacity from 1.6 million barrels per day to 1.8 million or 1.9 million barrels per day. (NYT) (DJ)
July 5, 1998 Iraq and Jordan sign an agreement for the construction of an oil pipeline between the two countries. The pipeline is expected to replace a fleet of more than 3,000 tankers that currently transport Iraqi crude oil to Jordan. Jordan depends entirely on Iraq for oil and currently incurs $50 million per year in transportation fees. (DJ)
July 15, 1998 Iraq and Syria sign an agreement to build a second oil pipeline between the two countries. No information is available on the new line's capacity or the route it will take; however, U.S. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin states that implementation of the agreement would be a violation of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Two days earlier, Syria agreed to reopen an existing oil pipeline, linking Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to the Mediterranean terminals of Banias in Syria and Tripoli in Lebanon. Syria closed the line in 1982 in support of Iran during the Iran/Iraq war. The pipeline has an estimated capacity of 650,000 barrels per day and is expected to be operational within a few months. However, use of the pipeline will require United Nations approval. (DJ)
July 16, 1998 The U.S. blocks the proposed August price formula for Iraqi crude oil over concerns that the Kirkuk grade is priced too low for the European market. It is the first time Iraq's crude oil price formula has been questioned since the United Nations' "Oil-for-Food" program began in 1996. (DJ)
July 23, 1998 In response to U.S. opposition to the August pricing plan for Iraqi crude oil, Iraq offers the United Nations a revised pricing mechanism for Iraq's August oil exports. The revised pricing formula adjusts the price of Kirkuk and Basrah Light for the European, U.S. and Asian markets. The U.S. had been concerned that, under the original pricing plan, prices for crude oil headed for European markets were too low. (DJ)
August 5, 1998 In protest against economic sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Persian Gulf War, President Saddam Hussein freezes cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors. U.N. weapons inspectors have been searching suspected weapons sites in Iraq since 1991 in an attempt to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. (DJ)
August 20, 1998 Iraq and Syria sign an agreement to reopen an oil pipeline linking Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to Mediterranean terminals in Banias, Syria and Tripoli, Lebanon. Syria closed the pipeline in 1982 in support of Iran during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. The pipeline has an estimated capacity of 650,000 barrels per day. Since Iraqi oil exports currently operate under the U.N. "Oil-for-Food" program, Iraq will need U.N. approval before the pipeline can be reopened. (DJ)
August 20, 1998 Following its regular 60-day review of trade sanctions against Iraq, the U.N. Security Council decides to extend the sanctions and expresses concern over Iraq's continuing refusal to cooperate with arms inspectors. On August 5, 1998, Iraq suspended cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors, stating that it has destroyed its banned weapons of mass destruction and calling on the U.N. to lift the trade sanctions. (DJ)
September 9, 1998 The U.N. Security Council unanimously agrees to Resolution 1194 suspending periodic reviews of economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. The resolution is in response to Iraq's August 5, 1998, decision to break off cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors. The Security Council has been conducting regular 60-day reviews and more comprehensive six-month reviews of the sanctions. (DJ) (WSJ)
September 27, 1998 Turkey restores full diplomatic ties with Iraq after nearly six years of all-but-frozen relations. Iraq's ambassador to Ankara left last year. It is not known whether Iraq's ambassador will now return. (DJ)
October 19, 1998 The Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reports that Iraq's methods for producing crude oil are causing permanent damage to the country's oil reservoirs. MEES reports this damage has been underscored by a deterioration in the quality of Iraqi oil exports. (DJ)
November 14, 1998 President Clinton aborts airstrikes against Iraq after receiving a last minute letter from Iraq pledging unconditional cooperation with United Nations weapons inspectors. (DJ)
December 12, 1998 The United Nations approves 11 contracts for the export of 60.1 million barrels of Iraqi crude oil through the oil for food program. Iraq is allowed to export up to $5.26 billion of oil over 180 days in the fifth phase of the program, which began November 26, 1998. (DJ)
December 16, 1998 The United States begins a four-day air strike campaign ("Operation Desert Fox") against Iraq hours after U.N. military inspectors declare that their work in Iraq has been blocked. President Clinton says he ordered the attacked after a "stark, sobering, and profoundly disturbing report" from the chief U.N. arms inspector that described Iraq's actions to thwart weapons inspections. (WSJ)
January 4, 1999 Iraq and Jordan renew an agreement that will provide Jordan with Iraqi crude oil and refined petroleum products. Jordan's 1998 imports of Iraqi crude oil and refined petroleum products, including fuel oil and diesel, were estimated to have averaged about 100,000 barrels per day. This figure is expected to increase by 5%-7% in 1999. (DJ)
January 11, 1999 Iraq rejects a proposal by Saudi Arabia to ease United Nations trade sanctions imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The initiative would recommend that Iraq be allowed to buy and sell all goods, except military equipment or materials that could be used for military purposes. (DJ)
January 13, 1999 As many oil-producing countries try to cut excess global production, Iraq announces plans to raise its oil output to 3 million barrels per day from its current 2.5 million barrels per day, and then to 3.5 million barrels per day within two years. Faleh al-Khayat, the Iraqi Oil Ministry's Director-General of Planning, says that the increases are contingent upon receiving spare parts for the country's ailing oil industry, which has been under United Nations trade sanctions for more than eight years. (WT)
January 15, 1999 The United States proposes allowing Iraq to sell unlimited amounts of oil - but only if the proceeds go to buy food and other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people. The United Nations Security Council barred Iraq from freely exporting oil, its most valuable commodity, after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Concerned that sanctions were creating devastating hardships for Iraq's 22 million people, the Council agreed in 1995 to let Iraq sell limited amounts of oil to pay for humanitarian supplies. (USA)
January 20, 1999 The U.N. releases more than $81 million to Iraq to buy equipment to increase its supply of electricity. Iraq, which suffers frequent power shortages, as power plants fail and electrical demand rises, applied to buy the necessary generating equipment in 1998, when the "Oil-for-Food" program was expanded to allow Iraq to begin rebuilding its crumbling public services. U.N. trade sanctions and a more limited oil sales program had earlier prevented the Iraqis from replacing the old equipment. (NYT)
January 31, 1999 According to U.S. officials, over the month of January, a series of almost daily U.S. missile air strikes on Iraq's air defenses has had a "grave impact" on President Saddam Hussein's ability to challenge allied enforcement of the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. (DJ)
February 3, 1999 A senior Iraqi oil minister says Iraq boosted its oil exports via its pipeline through Turkey by 107% in 1998. The pipeline links northern Iraqi oil fields like Kirkuk with the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. Under the U.N.-approved ""Oil-for-Food"" program, which allows Iraq to sell up to $5.2 billion of oil every six months, Iraq must pump the largest portion of its exports through Turkey. (DJ)
February 18, 1999 Iraq announces that its section of a joint oil pipeline with Syria is almost ready. The pipeline links Iraqi oil fields located near the northern city of Kirkuk to Syria's Mediterranean terminal at Banias. A spur off of the main pipeline leads to the Lebanese port at Tripoli. In August 1998, Iraq and Syria signed an agreement to reopen the pipeline, which has been closed for more than 16 years. The pipeline was originally designed to handle 1.4 million barrels per day, but Iraqi oil officials believe that a lack of storage capacity and pumps will enable Iraq to reach an initial export rate of only around 400,000 barrels per day. Under existing sanctions, Iraq needs to obtain special permission from the United Nations to export oil through Syria. (DJ)
February 28, 1999 Turkish officials report that a U.S. bombing attack on Iraq damages communications at an oil-pumping facility in northern Iraq. Crude oil flows are temporarily disrupted on the line, which runs from Kirkuk in Iraq to Ceyhan in Turkey. (DJ), (NYT)
April 3, 1999 The Iraqi port of Mina al-Bakr, export terminal for roughly half of all Iraqi oil exports under the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" program, is reopened, following allied air strikes on Basra, in southern Iraq, the previous day. The attacks struck a communications facility and a radio relay station, which is used, in part, as one of three relay stations controlling the flow of crude oil from Iraq's southern oil fields to the port of Mina al-Bakr. (DJ)
April 12, 1999 The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Burleigh, becomes the first U.S. official to publicly reject a proposal that would allow direct foreign investment in Iraq's oil sector. The proposal was an attempt to allow Iraq to generate oil revenues closer to the target of $5.26 billion every 180 days under the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" program. So far, Iraq has not come close to the target ceiling since it was raised last year. However, Burleigh says that, if recent oil price increases of $5 to $6 per barrel are sustained, Iraq could "get to the $5.2 billion level for 6 months" by the end of the year. This would eliminate the need to enact "deep structural" changes in the "Oil-for-Food" program, according to Burleigh. (DJ)
April 23, 1999 The United Nations temporarily waives the requirement under the Iraq "Oil-for-Food" program that more than half of Iraqi oil exports must go through the pipeline to Turkey. As Iraq's oil production has increased, capacity through the Iraq/Turkey pipeline has not kept pace. Designed to handle up to 1.1 million barrels per day, the pipeline's capacity is now only about 900,000 barrels per day due to needed repair work. It is currently unclear as to when repair work on the second Iraqi oil pipeline into Turkey might allow it to become operational. So far, only about 45% of Iraqi oil exports are going through the pipeline into Turkey. (DJ)
May 21, 1999 The U.N. Security Council, in a unanimous vote, extends the ""Oil-for-Food"" program, under which Iraqi oil sales finance imports of food and medicine, for another six-month period. The resolution renews the program under its current terms, but promises a review of the program's $5.26-billion cap on exports if Iraq reaches the ceiling. (DJ)
May 24, 1999 Iraqi oil officials state that, despite a lack of spare parts, Iraq is capable of boosting output from its northern oil fields to 1.2 million barrels per day during the proposed sixth phase of the ""Oil-for-Food"" deal with the United Nations, from around 0.8 million barrels per day in the fifth phase. (DJ)
June 9, 1999 A team of United Nations experts visits Iraq for talks with Iraqi Oil Ministry officials on purchases of equipment and supplies to repair Iraq's oil infrastructure. Iraq is allowed to spend up to $300 million on oil infrastructure repairs under the ""Oil-for-Food"" program's current six- month cycle. (DJ)
June 24, 1999 Citing a lack of funds, the Jordanian government announces that it has shelved plans for construction of an oil pipeline from Iraq to Jordan. Jordan currently relies on a fleet of trucks to transport approximately 90,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Iraq. (DJ)
July 12, 1999 The United Nations Compensation Commission, charged with assessing Iraq's liability for damages resulting from the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, issues a judgement of liability for $2.8 billion dollars to oil companies and oilfield service providers whose operations were disrupted. The largest share, $2.2 billion, is to go to the Kuwaiti Oil Company. American firms which are owed payments include Saudi Arabian Texaco, a subsidiary of Texaco, National-Oilwell, OGE Drilling Company, and the Halliburton Company. (DJ)
September 23, 1999 In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council pledge to continue to work toward a consensus on a new policy toward Iraq. All five permanent members have accepted that on-site weapons inspections must resume in Iraq, though there is still disagreement over how much cooperation Iraq would have to give international inspectors before economic sanctions could be lifted. (DJ)
October 4, 1999 The United Nations Security Council agrees to raise the monetary ceiling on Iraqi oil sales to $8.3 billion from $5.26 billion, guaranteeing the continuation of Iraqi production until the November 20 end date for the current six month extension of the ""Oil-for-Food"" program. The move is a one time adjustment, and does not bind the Security Council to continue a higher ceiling if the program is renewed for another six month term. The increase reflects the difference between previous monetary ceilings and actual Iraqi sales during previous phases of the program. (DJ)
October 28, 1999 The United Nations Security Council shelves a proposal to allow Iraq to double the amount, currently $300 million, it is allowed to spend under the ""Oil-for-Food"" program on spare parts for its oil industry. The issue of funding for repairs and improvements to Iraq's upstream oil infrastructure will now be considered when the next six-month renewal of the ""Oil-for-Food"" program is considered. (NYT)
November 20, 1999 Iraq announces its rejection of the United Nations Security Council's two-week extension of the ""Oil-for-Food"" program, under which Iraq is permitted to make limited oil exports. The rejection produces a cutoff in Iraqi oil exports, which Iraq said was ordered to protest the failure of the Security Council to grant a six-month extension. Many analysts see the Iraqi move as coming at a particularly inopportune time for oil consumers, as world oil stocks have been falling in recent months. (DJ, NYT, WSJ)
November 27, 1999 Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid states that Iraq is willing to accept a six-month extension of the United Nations ""Oil-for-Food"" program. He also urges other OPEC members not to raise output in response to Iraq's temporary halt in crude oil exports. (DJ)
December 4, 1999 Iraq's Minister of Petroleum, Amer Rashid Mohammed, states Iraq's rejection of a one week extension of the United Nations ""Oil-for-Food"" program approved by the Security Council a few hours earlier. (DJ)
December 17, 1999 The U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 1284 on returning weapons inspectors to Iraq. Under the Resolution, sanctions could be suspended if Iraq were to cooperate with the inspectors over a period of nine months. Iraq has stated that it does not accept the Resolution, which also creates the new United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for Iraq. (DJ)
January 22, 2000 Iraq reaches an agreement on the continuation of oil supplies to Jordan. Under the agreement, Iraq will give Jordan $300 million worth of crude oil in 2000 free of charge, and Jordan will pay a maximum of $19 per barrel for any additional volumes imported. (DJ)
January 26, 2000 The U.N. Security Council reaches agreement on the appointment of Hans Blix of Sweden, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to lead UNMOVIC. Iraq has indicated that it does not intend to accept UNMOVIC. (DJ)
February 3, 2000 The United States Navy seizes the Russian tanker Volgoneft-147 in the Persian Gulf. The vessel is transporting a cargo of smuggled Iraqi gasoil in violation of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. (NYT, WP)
March 23, 2000 Vice Admiral Charles Moore, who oversees United States naval operations in the Persian Gulf, briefs the United Nations Sanctions Committee on the increased smuggling of Iraqi oil. Iraq is expected to earn in excess of $500 million from oil smuggling, and possibly up to double that amount, in the absence of strong action by Iran to prevent the use of its territorial waters by smugglers. (DJ, NYT)
March 30, 2000 The United Nations Security Council votes to allow Iraq to import $1.2 billion in spare parts and other equipment for its oil industry this year under the ""Oil-for-Food"" program. This is an increase from the previous $600 million annual value allowed. (NYT)
April 5, 2000 The government of Iran announces that it has seized a tanker which was smuggling Iraqi oil through Iranian territorial waters. A spokesman for the United States Department of State welcomes the action. (NYT, WP)
April 25, 2000 Royal Dutch Shell agrees to pay a $2 million fine for transporting smuggled Iraqi oil aboard a Russian tanker. The tanker, Akademik Pustovoit, was detained by United States naval vessels enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq on April 5. Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon states that Shell appeared to have acquired the Iraqi oil unwittingly, and would therefore be allowed to keep the cargo. The fine will go into a United Nations fund for the enforcement of sanctions. (NYT, WP)
April 29, 2000 Iraq's oil ministry states that it expects to export more than $8.5 billion of oil in the current six-month phase of the United Nations ""Oil-for-Food"" program. (DJ)
May 31, 2000 Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid states that Iraq does not intend to cooperate with UNMOVIC, the new body created to verify Iraq's destruction of prohibited weapons. In other comments, he also states that Iraq does not intend to sign more contracts with foreign oil companies to develop its oilfields until contracts previously awarded are implemented. (DJ)
June 9, 2000 The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution extending the ""Oil-for-Food"" program, under which Iraq sells oil to finance imports of food and other civilian necessities, for a period of six months. (NYT)
August 10, 2000 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez meets with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad as part of a tour of members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He is the first head of state to visit Saddam Hussein since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. (NYT, WP)
August 24, 2000 Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says "Iraq will not cooperate" with UNMOVIC, the body created by the United Nations to replace the former U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). UNMOVIC is headed by Hans Blix, a Swedish diplomat and arms control expert. Under the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1284 creating UNMOVIC, U.N. economic sanctions could be lifted if Iraq fulfills various conditions, including cooperation with UNMOVIC. (DJ)
September 28, 2000 The United Nations Compensation Commission, which handles claims for reparations arising from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, approves by consensus a $15.9-billion claim by Kuwait for compensation for lost oil production and damage to oil reserves and equipment. The proportion of revenues from Iraqi oil sales under the "oil for food" program which are used for payment of claims is reduced from 30% to 25%. Iraq condemns the decision, but states that it will not call a halt to oil exports, as had earlier been feared. (DJ)
October 31, 2000 The United Nations Sanctions Committee approves an Iraqi request to be paid in Euros, rather than United States dollars, for oil exported under the "oil for food" program, which is part of the sanctions regime stemming from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. (DJ)
November 7, 2000 Saudi Arabia opens a border crossing point with Iraq to facilitate Saudi exports to Iraq under the United Nations "oil for food" program. The land border had been closed since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. (DJ)
November 16, 2000 Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) demands that companies lifting cargoes of Iraqi crude oil begin paying a fifty cent per barrel surcharge starting on December 1, 2000. The surcharge would be paid directly to the Iraqi government rather than being channeled into the account administered by the United Nations under the "oil for food" program, and would constitute clear violation of sanctions. The Iraqi move leads to concerns over a possible Iraqi cutoff of oil supplies beginning December 1. (DJ)
November 21, 2000 Press reports indicate that Iraq has begun pumping crude oil to Syria through a recently restored pipeline. A State Department spokesman says the United States embassy in Damascus has made an inquiry to the Syrian government about the reports. (DJ)
December 1, 2000 Iraq informs the United Nations Sanctions Committee that it intends to stand by its proposed oil prices for December, which the committee rejected earlier in the week because they were below fair market value. The Iraqi move is seen as part of its effort to force lifters of its oil to pay a 50 cent "surcharge" directly to Iraq. Iraq also suspends its oil exports. (DJ)
December 5, 2000 The United Nations Security Council approves a six month extension to the Iraq "oil for food" program. (DJ)
December 8, 2000 Press reports indicate that scheduled loadings of Syrian crude oil have increased by approximately 20% for December 2000. The increase is suspected by some analysts to be due to possible supplies of Iraqi crude oil to Syrian refineries through a recently-refurbished pipeline linking the two countries. (DJ)
December 13, 2000 Iraq resumes exports of crude oil after a disruption of nearly two weeks due to a dispute over payments with the United Nations. Iraq had cut off exports when clients had refused to pay a surcharge directly to Iraq, which would violate terms of the "oil for food" program permitting Iraq to export oil while sanctions remain in effect, rather than to the account controlled by the United Nations Sanctions Committee. Earlier, on December 8th, the committee approved Iraq's revised pricing offer for December 2000, which oil traders said is still below market value relative to comparable grades of crude oil. (DJ)
February 16, 2001 United States and British aircraft strike Iraqi air defense targets near Baghdad. (DJ)
March 28, 2001 The two-day Arab Summit in Amman, Jordan ends with leaders agreeing to support the Palestinian cause and approving $240 million in aid for the Palestinians. However, no agreement was reached on a common policy toward Iraq. (R)
May 23, 2001 Iraq threatens to halt oil exports if a British-US proposed Security Council resolution on a new sanctions regime is enacted. (R)
May 31, 2001 The United States and Britain win Security Council approval of a one-month extension of the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" program. A vote on the new "smart sanctions" on Iraq proposed by the United States and Britain is delayed at least one month. Iraq demands the usual six-month extension, and says that it will cut off oil exports in response. (WSJ)
June 3, 2001 Iraq announces that it will halt crude oil exports in response to a United Nations Security Council resolution that extends the "Oil-for-Food" program by only one month, instead of the normal six-month period. The "Oil-for-Food" program affects revenues from Iraqi sales of about 2.1 million barrels per day. However, it has been reported Iraq will continue to sell several hundred thousand barrels per day to its neighbors through sales that are outside of the "Oil-for-Food" program. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announces that, if need be, it will make up for lost Iraqi production. Oil prices do not change greatly in response to either announcement. (NYT)
June 11, 2001 Saudi Arabia announces that it has seized ownership, effective June 7, of the 1.6-million barrel-per-day IPSA pipeline that had carried Iraqi crude oil to the Saudi Red Sea port of Mu'jiz prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The seizure includes pumping stations, storage tanks, and the maritime terminal. Saudi Arabia claims that the asset was confiscated as a result of aggressive Iraqi actions. Iraq insists that it still owns the pipeline. (DJ)
July 11, 2001 Iraq resumes oil exports, ending a 5-week halt in protest of a U.S. and British-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution that would have overhauled U.N. sanctions, after this resolution did not come to a vote (see July 2). The "Oil-for-Food" program will be extended for five months. (NYT)
August 10, 2001 The United States and Great Britain reject a proposal by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to permit the Iraqi government to use $1 billion per year to fund infrastructure improvements and to increase oil production capacity. It has been suggested that without infrastructure investment, Iraq's production could fall significantly over the next few years. (WMRC)
August 13, 2001 Iraqi Vice-President Ramadan announces that Syria will soon hire contractors to build a new oil pipeline stretching from the Iraqi border to Syria. The pipeline would replace an old one that was shut down in 1982, but is reported to be operating. (DJ)
August 24, 2001 The United States decides to support a modified British proposal to tighten procedures for pricing Iraqi crude oil. According to reports, Iraq is attempting to price its oil at artificially low levels, and favoring buyers willing to pay surcharges to secret accounts, thereby circumventing U.N. control over Iraqi oil revenue. Britain had proposed that the U.N. and Iraq set prices every 10 days, instead of the current 30 days, to make it more difficult for Iraq to exploit fluctuations in the market. (WP)
August 30, 2001 U.S. warplanes launch strikes against Iraqi "military targets" after Iraq claims that it has shot down a U.S. spy plane. The U.S. strike also comes at a time when Iraq appears to be improving its air defense system, including longer-range surface to air missiles. (WMRC)
September 20, 2001 Iraq accuses Kuwait of excessive extraction of the joint al-Ratqa border oilfield. Iraq's foreign minister requests compensation from Kuwait. (R)
November 27, 2001 Iraq rejects a call by U.S. President George Bush to let United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country to determine whether it is building weapons of mass destruction. An Iraqi spokesman states that, before asking Iraq to allow weapons inspectors to return, the United Nations should lift the 11-year-old sanctions on Iraq and the West should abolish the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. (R)
January 28, 2002 At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council's committee on Iraq trade sanctions, Britain requests a formal "clarification" from Security Council member Syria on allegations that Iraqi crude oil is flowing through a pipeline to Syria and being exported, or at least substituted in Syrian refineries allowing for more Syrian crude oil exports, in violation of United Nations sanctions. Analysts have placed the amount of crude oil being sent from Iraq to Syria at between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels per day. (LAT)
January 28, 2002 British officials announce that the policy of setting Iraqi oil prices retroactively, enforced by the United States and Britain, has kept $25 million from Saddam Hussein's government. The U.S./British policy of blocking or holding Iraqi price proposals has meant the United Nations sanctions committee has had to price retroactively, lowering prices for Iraq and leaving less room for oil middlemen to pay illegal surcharges to Iraq. (R)
January 29, 2002 In his State of the Union Address to Congress, U.S. President George W. Bush identifies Iraq, plus Iran and North Korea, as constituting of an "axis of evil." President Bush states, "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." (NYT)
February 7, 2002 Turkish government officials state that Turkey aims to import about 80,000 barrels per day of Iraqi Kirkuk crude oil in 2002, an increase over the 50,000 barrels per day imported in 2001. The oil, which is taken into Turkey by truck, is transported by Turkey's foreign trade undersecretariat, for refining by Tupras. The trade is outside of the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" program. (R)
February 13, 2002 Iraq says that it will not allow U.N. arms inspectors to return to Iraq. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan states, "There is no need for the spies of the [U.N.] inspection teams to return to Iraq since Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction." The United States has hinted that actions may be taken against the Iraqi government if U.N. arms inspectors are not allowed to return. (R)
March 5, 2002 The United Nations announces that Iraqi oil exports for the previous week rose 1 million barrels per day to 2.49 million barrels per day, taking the four-week average to 1.9 million barrels per day. This is the highest level since November 2001. (Reuters)
March 21, 2002 U.N. Security Council permanent member Russia blocks attempts by other members of the U.N. Sanctions Committee to either set out a stricter pricing mechanism or eliminate middlemen from Iraq's oil trade. The U.N. suspects that many middlemen pay surcharges to the Iraqi government, in violation of U.N. rules. Russian companies have been the largest lifters of Iraqi crude oil since the start of the U.N. ""Oil-for-Food"" program. (OD)
March 25, 2002 Oil exports resume at the Turkish port of Ceyhan, following a two-week stoppage that resulted from declining Iraqi exports since the beginning of the month. Iraqi oil exports have been increasingly irregular since after-the-fact pricing was implemented in early 2001. This makes the payment of surcharges to Iraq's government more difficult, but many purchasers now wait until the last few days of the month to load their cargos. (OD)
March 27, 2002 At an Arab summit meeting in Beirut, Iraq pledges "non-interference" in Kuwait's internal affairs and recognition of Kuwait's borders. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri states, "We are for the prosperity and independence of the state of Kuwait and also for the normalization of ties, diplomatic, economic, political." On March 28, delegates at the meeting endorse a peace plan for Israel/Palestine put forward by the Saudi delegation. (Reuters)
April 8, 2002 Iraq announces that it will halt its ""Oil-for-Food"" exports for 30 days as a "gesture of support" for the Palestinians' struggle with Israel. Iraq also requests that other OPEC countries do not raise production to make up for lost Iraqi exports. Iraqi ""Oil-for-Food"" exports had averaged about 1.7 million barrels per day to date in 2002. Major Arab OPEC exporters Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar have expressed unwillingness to join in any embargo. (WSJ)
May 3, 2002 Iraq and the United Nations end three days of talks on disarmament programs and weapons inspectors without any plan for the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq. U.N. weapons inspectors were expelled from Iraq in 1998. (Reuters)
May 8, 2002 Iraq starts pumping crude oil to its export terminals, following the country's announcement on May 5 that it would end its oil export embargo after one month, i.e., May 8. Iraq also submits price proposals for May crude oil loadings to the United Nations for approval. (Reuters)
May 14, 2002 The U.N. Security Council approves an overhaul of the ""Oil-for-Food"" program for Iraq that makes use of an extensive list of "dual-use" goods (goods that could have a military as well as civilian use). Iraq will be able to use its oil revenues, which go into a U.N. escrow account out of which suppliers exporting products to Baghdad are paid, in order to purchase items not on the list. The resolution renews the U.N. program until November 25, 2002. On May 16, official Iraqi news agency INA announces that it will comply with the new six-month tranche of the ""Oil-for-Food"" program voted by the U.N. Security Council on May 14, despite condemning the Security Council resolution in the same statement. Iraq officially accepts the U.N. proposal on May 29. (Reuters)
August 1, 2002 U.S. President Bush extends U.S. sanctions against Iraq for another year, having notified the U.S. Congress that the government of Saddam Hussein continued to act in ways "hostile to U.S. interests." (Reuters)
August 29, 2002 U.S. Vice President Cheney states that a new round of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq is likely to be insufficient to guarantee that Iraq has ended its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs. That same day, Iraqi Vice President Ramadan declares that future inspections by the United Nations are a "waste of time," as the U.S. administration has already decided upon "changing the regime by force." (WP)
September 12, 2002 President George W. Bush addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. President Bush denounces the Iraqi leadership as posing a "grave and gathering danger," calls for the United Nations to act, and states that "The Security Council resolutions will be enforced... or action will be unavoidable." (NYT)
September 16, 2002 Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri sends a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan indicating that Iraq will accept the return of U.N. weapons inspectors “without conditions.” The following day, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says, “All the reasons for an attack have been eliminated,” though White House spokesman Scott McClellan describes the move as “a tactical step” to avoid strong U.N. Security Council action, going on to say, “As such, it is a tactic that will fail.” (Reuters)
September 19, 2002 Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, stated that Iraq was free of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Iraq also announced that it would accept the return of international weapons inspectors expelled in 1998. (NYT)
October 16, 2002 President Bush signs a resolution by the U.S. Congress authorizing him to use force against Iraq if necessary. Meanwhile, debate continues at the United Nations regarding a possible new Security Council resolution on Iraq. (Reuters)
October 30, 2002 White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer denies that the United States has any interest in taking over Iraq's oil fields if there were a military conflict. When asked if the United States would take over Iraq's oil fields if the U.S. attacked Iraq, Fleischer responded: "No. The purpose of any plan the United States has is to make certain that Saddam Hussein complies with all U.N. resolutions…The only interest the United States has in the region is furthering the cause of peace and stability ... not his [Saddam Hussein's] country's ability to generate oil." (Reuters)
November 8, 2002 The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1441, that Iraq must accept or reject within seven days, giving United Nations inspectors the unconditional right to search anywhere in Iraq for banned weapons. Furthermore, Iraq will have to make an "accurate full and complete" declaration of its nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic weapons and related materials used in civilian industries within 30 days. The resolution requires violations to be reported back to the Security Council by inspectors before any actions could be taken against Iraq for violating weapons bans. (Reuters)
November 13, 2002 In a letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan, Iraq accepts UN Security Council resolution 1441 of November 8, granting UN inspectors the right to conduct unfettered inspections in Iraq, "despite its bad contents." In the letter, Iraq also denies that it possesses any weapons of mass destruction. (AP)
November 25, 2002 The United Nations Security Council extends the "Oil-for-Food" program that permits Iraq to sell oil for a nine-day period, instead of the usual six-month phase, in order to give Security Council members time to reach agreement on which goods would be placed on the so-called "goods review list" which are goods that require approval before Iraq can use its revenues to purchase them. (DJ)
December 4, 2002 The United Nations (U.N.) Oil-for-Food program is unanimously renewed by the Security Council for another six months, and shortly thereafter accepted by the Iraqi government. The Oil-for-Food program allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil, with revenues going into a U.N. account that pays vendors for approved goods that Iraq orders. (Reuters)December 12, 2002 The government of Iraq cancels a $3.8 billion contract with three Russian companies-Lukoil, Zarubezhnest, and Machinoimport-to develop the very large West Qurna oilfield. Although the reasoning for the decision is not made clear by Iraq, it is thought that it is in response to Russian political decisions regarding United Nations inspections and the Oil-for-Food program. (NYT) December 19, 2002 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell declares that Iraq is in "material breach" of United Nations resolutions after reviewing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction declaration released December 7 to the United Nations. States Powell: "Our [U.S.] experts have found it to be anything but currently accurate, full or complete. The Iraqi declaration ... totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements." (Reuters) December 29, 2002 Acting Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al Sabah says that Kuwait can keep producing and exporting oil in the event of a military conflict in Iraq. States Al Sabah: "I can't go into details of this plan, but I can guarantee that production will continue, exports will continue...and I believe we can also meet the commitments we have made to our clients abroad." (Reuters) January 17, 2003 Iraq awards a contract to Russian company Stroitransgaz for a small oil field in western Iraq and sets aside two others for Russian companies. Some analysts interpret these awards as an attempt at rapprochement between Iraq and Russia after Iraq canceled a giant contract with Russia's Lukoil in December 2002. (NYT) February 26, 2003 It is reported that Turkey has decided to halt imports of Iraqi oil by overland tanker truck. Turkish oil company Tupras had planned to import about 19 million barrels of Iraqi oil by tanker truck over the course of 2003, according to statements made by company officials to the press. (Reuters) February 28, 2003 Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov threatens to veto a U.N. resolution in the Security Council authorizing war in Iraq. According to Ivanov, "Russia does not support any resolution which could directly or indirectly open the way to an armed resolution of the Iraq problem. Naturally, Russia has the right of veto. If the interest of international stability demands it, Russia, of course will exercise its right." " (Reuters) March 7, 2003 British Foreign Minister Jack Straw announces a U.N. Security Council Resolution, supported by the United States and Spain as well, which authorizes the use of military force if Iraq does not cooperate fully with disarmament demands by March 17. The proposed resolution calls on Iraq to hand over to U.N. inspectors all weapons, delivery systems and support systems and structures banned by the United Nations and also provide information about the prior destruction of such items. " (Reuters) March 10, 2003 U.N. Security Council permanent member France pledges to veto the proposed resolution on the use of force in Iraq that was proposed by the United States, Great Britain, and Spain on March 7. States French President Jacques Chirac on the proposed resolution, "Whatever happens, France will vote 'no'." " (Reuters) March 17, 2003 U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan orders U.N. oil inspectors and other staff for the Oil-for-Food program out of Iraq, as the likelihood of military action in Iraq is imminent. Though this means that oil loadings will cease at the Persian Gulf oil export terminal of Mina al-Bakr, there is the possibility of continued loadings at the program's other approved port, Ceyhan, in Turkey. Oil continues to flow through the pipeline to Ceyhan. Tanker loadings in Kuwait are continuing as normal. (Reuters) March 21, 2003 British and American land forces enter Iraq, taking control of areas bordering Kuwait and parts of the Faw Peninsula. British marines seize some oil export facilities and U.S. armored columns push further into Iraq towards the Rumaila oilfields. About 7 oilfields are set on fire by Iraqi forces. U.S. special forces begin conducting significant operations with Kurdish units in the north of Iraq. A primary objective of Coalition forces is to take control of oil wells before they can be sabotaged by Iraqi forces. Coalition air strikes continue on military targets throughout the country." (Reuters, DJ) March 24, 2003 After Coalition forces have pushed further into Iraq securing most of the southern oilfields over the weekend, Kuwaiti fire fighters are able to enter Iraq and are able to extinguish one of the wellhead fires. Iraq's southern fields represent about 40% of the country's output. Damage is assessed to be relatively minimal. Some pockets or Iraqi resistance in the southern oilfields remain, however. Furthermore, heavy Iraqi resistance in some parts of Iraq gives rise to market speculation that the war could last longer than initially thought. The NYMEX near-month crude oil price rises 6.5%, to settle at $28.66 per barrel, as the war in Iraq as well as the situation in Nigeria have traders concerned. " (Reuters, DJ) March 25, 2003 U.N. data shows that Iraq's crude oil exports for the week ending March 21 were 443,000 barrels per day. This is a 75% drop compared to the previous week. A reduced amount of oil is still flowing to rapidly-filling-to-capacity storage tanks at the Ceyhan export terminal, but no ships are scheduled to load there for the time being. " (Reuters) March 26, 2003 The U.S. Navy announces that Iraq's Persian Gulf oil export terminal of Mina al-Bakr has escaped sabotage and is ready to resume operations. " (Reuters) March 27, 2003 U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks states that ".over 600 oil wells at this point now fall into an area that is under Coalition control." He also states that there are still six oil wells on fire but work is continuing to put those out. Also, the U.K. military reportedly is negotiating with Iraqi oil workers to return to work in the country's North Rumaila oil fields. " (DJ) March 28, 2003 The U.N. Security Council gives U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan temporary authority to provide food and medicine to Iraq through a 45-day renewal of the Oil-for-Food program. The program had been suspended just before hostilities commenced in Iraq on March 19. " (NYT) April 4, 2003 Coalition forces continue to make progress against the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, with the U.S. military capturing Baghdad's main international airport. Also, according to the U.S. military, 80%-90% of Iraq's southern oilfield production is under coalition control, as well as all related export facilities, as of this date. " (Reuters) April 10, 2003 Kurdish Pesh Merga guerilla forces seize control of the key northern city of Kirkuk from Iraqi forces loyal to the regime of Saddam Hussein. Kirkuk is the hub for Iraq's northern oilfields. The previous day, April 9, U.S. military forces in Baghdad declared Saddam no longer in control in the Iraqi capital, though fighting in the capital continues. However, scenes of jubilant Iraqi citizens destroying propaganda of the Baathist regime, coupled with an absence of organized police or military units of the regime maintaining order in central Baghdad, signaled for many observers that today marks the effective fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Near-month crude oil futures on the NYMEX drop about 5%. " (WP, AP, Reuters) April 14, 2003 Pumping on the oil pipeline from Iraq's Kirkuk oilfields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is halted as the storage facilities have reached their maximum capacity of about 6.5 million barrels. There has not been a loading of Iraqi crude oil at the port since March 20. " (Reuters) April 15, 2003 U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announces that the U.S. military has shut off an oil pipeline from Iraq to Syria that is alleged to have been carrying 100,000-150,000 barrels per day. "We have been told that they have shut off a pipeline," Secretary Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing. "Whether it's the only one and whether that has completely stopped the flow of oil between Iraq and Syria, I cannot tell you. ... I cannot assure you that all illegal oil flowing from Iraq into Syria is shut off. I just hope it is." " (Reuters) April 21, 2003 For the first time since the start of the war with Iraq in March, an Iraqi oil refinery begins to process crude oil. The Daura Refinery, Baghdad's main refinery, begins operating at 40,000 barrels per day, about half of the refinery's capacity, with oil from storage. Also, the previous day, a team of U.S., U.K., and Iraqi engineers began to pump oil through Iraq's internal oil infrastructure, preventing a power plant from going offline." (Reuters) April 23, 2003 According to the American military officer in charge of restarting Iraq's oil production infrastructure, Iraq's southern fields have begun to produce again. Four southern wells have begun producing a modest amount of crude oil, but according to Brig. Gen. Robert Crear of the Army Corps of Engineers, southern wells should soon be producing about 170,000 barrels a day. Initial production would go toward meeting domestic demand, especially as more refineries come back on line. The country's northern oilfields are still offline." (WSJ) April 24, 2003 The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to extend the United Nations Oil-for-Food program for an extra three weeks, i.e. until June 3. It had been due to expire on May 12. Oil has not been sold through the Oil-for-Food program since the start of the war in Iraq on March 19. " (NYT) April 29, 2003 Iraq's North Oil Company (NOC) announces that oil output resumed in the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq on April 24 at 30,000-40,000 barrels per day. Because of war damage to machinery, looting and a lack of workers, it will likely be some time before pre-war output of 850,000 barrels per day is achieved. NOC is using extra stored oil to send 100,000 barrels per day down a pipeline to the Daura and Baiji refineries to feed Iraq's domestic fuel consumption. " (Reuters) April 30, 2003 U.S. and Iraqi oil officials hold their first meeting to discuss rebuilding the country's oil industry. Few details of the meeting are released, though Gary Vogler, an advisor at the U.S. Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs (ORHA), states that the two parties had "agreed upon how to reconstruct and rebuild this (oil) sector so that it performs its obligations towards the Iraqi people and towards the international market." " (WP) May 1, 2003 Engineers restart Basra's al-Zubayr oil refinery in southern Iraq. The refinery, which processes crude oil produced at Iraq's southern fields, is running well below its capacity of 140,000 barrels per day. " (AP) May 1, 2003 U.S. President George W. Bush declares that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," and that "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001, and still goes on." " (WP) May 4, 2003 The U.S.-led civilian administration for Iraq selects Thamir Ghadban to run Iraq's oil ministry, with Phillip Carrol, former head of Royal Dutch/Shell in the United States, as head of an advisory board for the ministry. Thamir Ghadban was formerly a top official in Iraq's Southern Oil Company. " (Reuters) May 22, 2003 The United Nations Security Council approves the immediate end of 13 years of economic sanctions on Iraq, dating from the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Resolution 1483 effectively grants the United States-led coalition forces control of Iraq until a new Iraqi government can be put in place. The end of the sanctions also makes it easier for Iraqi oil exports to resume without the auspices of the United Nations. " (WP) May 27, 2003 The U.S. Department of the Treasury lifts most remaining sanctions on Iraq, thereby implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483. Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow states that "It is no longer a crime for U.S. companies and individuals to do business with Iraq." " (WP) June 6, 2003 Phillip Carroll, Chairman of the Advisory Board to Iraq's Oil Ministry, indicates that there is an organized campaign of sabotage against Iraq's oil industry. Carroll states that "It is very difficult for me to identify who they [the saboteurs] are and what their motives are. I can only say their techniques appear to be very professional and aim at causing harm to significant and important installations." A number of oil and natural gas pipelines in Iraq are bombed throughout the month of June. " (Reuters) June 12, 2003 Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) announces the results of its first export tender since the start of the war in Iraq that ended the regime of Saddam Hussein. SOMO awards 7.5 million barrels of crude oil to five companies. Terms of the tender are not released. " (DJ) June 12, 2003 Two explosions damage the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline, in what is later determined to be an act of sabotage. Several other Iraqi pipelines are damaged in acts of sabotage throughout the month, including a natural gas pipeline in the western desert on June 21, an oil pipeline west of Baghdad on June 22, and the now-stalled Iraq-Syria pipeline on June 23. " (Reuters, AP)
June 17, 2003 The head of Iraq's North Oil Company, Adil al-Qazzaz, states that Iraq's main north-south crude oil pipeline, the so-called Strategic Pipeline, will not be operable for some time, especially because the K-3 pumping station was badly damaged during the recent war. Al-Qazzaz goes on to state that because the pipeline is not working, "[W]e don't have export flexibility, and that will have an impact." (WSJ)
June 22, 2003 Iraq exports oil for the first time since March 20, the first day of the war that eventually toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. The crude oil, 1 million barrels, was part of the June 12 tender and will be sold to Turkish refiners from oil in storage at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Loading of the oil onto a tanker begins today. " (WP)
July 2, 2003 Thieves cut into one of Iraq's main oil pipelines in the south, near Najaf, causing a fire and an oil spill that close the pipeline. The underground pipeline is used for both transporting oil for export and for supplying Iraqi refineries and power plants. (AP)
July 3, 2003 A group of 20 Polish companies, led by state-owned Polska Nafta, sign a joint venture agreement with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root, one of the main U.S. contractors rebuilding the Iraqi oil industry. On July 2, Poland sent some 250 soldiers to Iraq to set up a Polish-commanded postwar occupation zone expected to involve more than 9,000 troops from at least 15 countries. (AP)July 8, 2003 Iraq's main oil export pipeline to Ceyhan, Turkey, is damaged over the weekend by an explosion (most likely sabotage), according to officials of the de facto Iraqi Oil Ministry. It is estimated that repairs will take two weeks, further delaying the restoration of Iraqi oil exports. (Reuters) July 10, 2003 The U.S. Army invites bids for two contracts to rebuild Iraq's oil industry, one for the North and one for the South. The contracts, worth up to $1 billion, will replace a no-competition contract awarded in March to Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Non-U.S. companies can bid on the contracts, for which the bidding deadline is August 14. The new contracts include extinguishing oil fires, environmental assessments and clean-up at oil sites, the distribution of oil products, maintaining oil fields and the marketing and sale of Iraqi crude oil and refined products. (Reuters) July 10, 2003 The Paris Club of sovereign creditors announces that debts owed by Iraq to its member states amounted to $21.018 billion through August 2, 1990, as well as a similar amount in interest arrears. The largest creditor is Japan, at $4.1 billion dollars. The United States is owed $2.19 billion. The Paris Club numbers do not take account of several key classes of debt, mostly to Gulf States, which amount to some $35 billion, depending on whether they are treated as loans or aid, nor does it take into account commercial debt. (Reuters) July 13, 2003 The new Iraqi National Council is introduced in a televised ceremony in Baghdad. The Council's makeup was formed from negotiations involving U.S. officials and Iraqis who had opposed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The 25-member governing council brings together Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and ethnic Turks. It has the power to name ministers and approve the 2004 budget, but L. Paul Bremer, civilian administrator for Iraq, has the last word on Iraq's affairs. (AP) July 22, 2003 Iraq's State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) announces that it is in negotiations for the first post-war term contracts for its oil exports. Since the end of the war, all Iraqi exports have been spot tenders, but SOMO plans term contract sales of Basra crude to refiners from its southern fields. SOMO also says that it will announce monthly prices for its Basra term sales in the first 10 days of each preceding month. On July 27, SOMO signs 10 term contracts to supply over 20 million barrels of Basra crude a month to global oil majors and refineries and expects to sign several more deals in the next few days, according to SOMO head Mohammed Al-Jiboury. (Reuters, DJ) August 7, 2003 The United States estimates that restoring Iraq's oil sector to its pre-war status will cost at least $1.1 billion and take nine months to complete. Prior to the war, Iraq was producing around 2.5-2.6 million barrels per day and exporting around 2.0-2.1 million barrels per day. Current production is closer to 1 million barrels per day, with exports of about 600,000-700,000 barrels per day. (LAT) August 15, 2003 Iraq's crucial northern oil pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is attacked, stopping flows on the line just two days after it reopened for the first time since the war. The pipeline had a pre-war capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day, but sustained significant damage during hostilities and had started pumping at only around 200,000 barrels per day. Repairs to the line from the latest attack may take weeks, while full restoration of the pipeline's pre-war capacity could take months. (WMRC) September 1, 2003 Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, a former Iraqi exile, is appointed Iraq’s first post-war oil minister by the country’s Governing Council. Uloum replaces Thamir Ghadban, who had been the acting oil minister since early May. (Reuters) September 21, 2003 Iraq’s leadership council announces free-market reforms for the country, allowing for, “up to 100% foreign ownership in all sectors except natural resources.” In the past, the Iraqi economy was predominantly state controlled. (AP) September 23, 2003 U.S. authorities in Iraq appoint Robert E. McKee as senior U.S. advisor to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, succeeding Philip Carroll who had served in the position since May. (WSJ) October 22, 2003 Congressional Democrats allege that Halliburton subsidiary KBR is paying significantly more than local buyers to bring fuel into Iraq where it has a controversial infrastructure contract. (DJ) November 21, 2003 The United Nations hands over the "oil-for-food" program in Iraq to the U.S.-led administration in Baghdad. The "oil-for-food" program was established by the United Nations in 1995, and used proceeds from the sale of Iraqi oil to buy food and medicine for Iraqis as well as to finance infrastructure and humanitarian projects. Iraqi oil exports reportedly have reached around 1.5 million barrels per day. (USAT, WMRC) December 10, 2003 A U.S. Department of Defense document limits contracts for 26 Iraqi reconstruction projects to companies from countries that supported the war. Companies from France, Russia, and Germany will still be able to compete for sub-contractor roles. (WMRC) December 12, 2003 An investigation by the Defense Contract Audit Agency of the U.S. Defense Department finds evidence indicating that the Halliburton Company subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root overcharged the government as much as $61 million for fuel delivered to Iraq. (NYT, WSJ) December 15, 2003 Oil prices fall 4% on the news that U.S. military forces capture Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit, Iraq. (CBS, WMRC) December 18, 2003 The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq announces that it will provide the Iraqi Oil Ministry with $600 million for infrastructure improvement. The director-general of the state-owned Iraqi Drilling Company says that he expects that the investment could raise daily production, now at about 1.9 million barrels per day, by as much as 1.05 million barrels per day over an 18 month period. (NYT)
December 31, 2003 The U.S. Department of Defense says that the task of importing gasoline for civilian use in Iraq will be handled by the Defense Energy Support Center, a Department of Defense agency that supplies fuel to the military, instead of a subsidiary of Halliburton Company. Halliburton has been criticized for allegedly overcharging the government under its no-bid contract. (WSJ, WP)
January 6, 2004 A previously undisclosed ruling by Lt. General Robert Flowers, head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, exonerates Halliburton Company and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root of any wrongdoing in its fuel-delivery arrangements with a Kuwaiti supplier. The decision comes after Pentagon auditors asserted that the company had overcharged the U.S. government. A full audit of the company’s fuel contracts in Iraq is pending. (NYT, WP)
February 27, 2004 U.S. officials in Iraq announce that the Khor al-Amaya oil export terminal on the Persian Gulf has partially reopened, after the successful completion of repairs. Two of the four loading berths are operational, with a total capacity of around 250,000-300,000 barrels per day, significantly expanding the country’s export capacity. (Reuters)
March 1, 2004 Iraq’s northern oil export pipeline, Kirkuk-Ceyhan, resumes pumping oil after having been sabotaged several times. Oil flows through the pipeline are only at partial capacity and are being conducted under a “news blackout” to avoid further sabotage efforts. Re-opening of the pipeline, which runs from Iraq, northward to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, gives Iraq another outlet for its lucrative crude oil exports. (WSJ)
March 17, 2004 The flow of oil through Iraq’s Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil export pipeline is halted after a partial resumption at the beginning of this month. Iraqi authorities reportedly uncover corrosion along the line, forcing them to stop operations until technicians can make repairs. According to press reports, the pipeline remains idle for the rest of March. (DJ)
April 21, 2004 The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously endorses an independent investigation into charges of corruption in the UN-administered “oil-for-food” program in Iraq. The "oil-for-food" program was established by the United Nations in 1995, and used proceeds from the sale of Iraqi oil to buy food and medicine for Iraqis as well as to finance infrastructure and humanitarian projects. The program was officially handed over to the U.S.-led administration in Baghdad in November, 2003. Recently, allegations have arisen in the Iraqi press that foreign administrators of the “oil-for-food” program were receiving inappropriate proceeds from oil sales before the war. (LAT, NYT)
April 24, 2004 Suicide bombers attack Iraq’s Basra maritime oil terminal, killing three U.S. Navy sailors and damaging one tanker berth. Roughly 90% of Iraq’s crude oil exports are currently loaded on to tankers at the Basra terminal, and the incident marks the first known attack on these maritime facilities since the onset of war in March 2003. Previously, efforts by Iraqi insurgents to dismantle the country’s oil industry had focused on facilities on the ground, including pipelines and pumping stations. Iraqi Oil Minister Mohammad Bahr al-Uloum announces the next day (4/25) that “damage was limited and exports are flowing back at the same rates.” (AP, Reuters)
May 8, 2004 A southern oil pipeline to Iraqi export facilities at the Basra and Khor al-Amaya terminals is attacked by saboteurs. Exact damage assessments are unclear, but according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pumping to the offshore export terminals has stopped. Iraqi Oil Ministry officials announce that repairs are completed on May 18. (Reuters)
June 9, 2004 Saboteurs explode a portion of a key oil pipeline in northern Iraq, about 125 miles north of Baghdad, stopping the flow of crude oil from the Kirkuk field to Iraq’s largest refinery at Baiji. Also, an explosion and fire at a power plant near the refinery forces a 10% cut in electricity to the national grid. It is unclear whether the fire at the power plant was accidental or an act of sabotage. Crude oil exports to Ceyhan remain suspended until June 23. (WP, AP, Reuters)
June 15, 2004 Saboteurs attack two oil pipelines in southern Iraq, bringing a temporary halt to much of Iraq’s oil exports as the Basra Oil Terminal is closed. Recently, total Iraqi exports had reached as high as 1.8 million barrels per day of crude oil. Pumping resumes on a limited basis on June 21, and is close to normal by June 25. (WSJ, Reuters)
June 28, 2004 The transfer of sovereignty in Iraq from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), led by U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer, to an interim Iraqi government, led by President Ghazi al Yawer and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi occurs, two days ahead of schedule. It is hoped that a government led by Iraqis will be more acceptable than the CPA to many Iraqis. Legal, though not physical, custody of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is awarded to the new Iraqi government on June 30. (Reuters)
July 1, 2004 In an effort to increase output at existing oilfields, the Iraqi oil ministry introduces a tender for an engineering study of two of its largest producing fields, northern Kirkuk and southern Rumaila. The ministry intends to make a decision regarding the tender before early October 2004. Companies have until July 29, 2004 to submit offers. Before the U.S.-led invasion, Kirkuk was producing around 700,000 to 800,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), but since that time, reduced transport capacity, due to attacks on the export pipeline to Ceyhan, has led to a sharp decrease in production. Although current production at the Rumaila fields is estimated at about 1.3 million bbl/d, further improvement of pumping stations and related infrastructure is needed to increase output. (WMRC).
July 26, 2004 Syria and Iraq sign an oil cooperation accord involving the exchange of Syrian petroleum products, kerosene, benzene and liquefied gas, in exchange for Iraqi crude oil. (WMRC)
August 2, 2004 Iran and Iraq agree to a framework for a crude oil swap and transit agreement. This arrangement will allow Iraq to find an alternate route for its exports, which have been subject to frequent sabotage and outages. (WMRC)
August 30, 2004 Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO), the body that oversees Iraqi oil export sales, signs an oil supply agreement with the Turkish state oil refiner Tupras for deliveries from September through December 2004. The agreement marks the first term deal signed by SOMO for the export of oil via the Kirkuk (Iraq)-Ceyhan (Turkey) oil pipeline since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The deal calls for Tupras to purchase 2 million barrels per month over the term of the contract. (WMRC)
September 14, 2004 Saboteurs blow up an oil pipeline in northern Iraq, preventing export of approximately 200,000-300,000 bbl/d in crude oil deliveries to Ceyhan from northern Kirkuk oilfields. Engineers say they will need 3-7 days to repair the pipeline, and exports resume September 23. (AP)
October 7, 2004 Charles A. Duelfer, the top American arms inspector in Iraq, releases his long-awaited report on the Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. In the report, Deulfer describes -- among other things -- Saddam Hussein’s network of front companies and questionable deals with foreign governments regarding the UN "oil-for-food" program. Duelfer concludes that Hussein’s government earned more than $11 billion in illicit revenues of the program from the early 1990s through March 2003. The report provides detail on the lucrative oil vouchers that Hussein provided to companies and countries which acted as middlemen and resold the oil at a profit. (NYT, WP)
October 19, 2004 Saboteurs in Iraq attack and ignite an oil pipeline about seven miles from the Bayji oil refinery. This particular pipeline has been subjected to repeated sabotage attacks since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year. Iraqi officials maintain that the attack will not interrupt fuel supplies to the Turkish export facility at Ceyhan. (AP)
October 31, 2004 Iraq’s oil minister, Thamer al Ghadhban, announces that Iraq’s interim government had allocated approximately $1.2 billion for investment in the upstream oil sector in order to increase the country’s oil production by 45% from 2.2 million bbl/d to 3.2 million bbl/d over the next year.(Reuters, DJ)
November 2, 2004 Saboteurs mount a large attack on Iraq’s oil infrastructure by blowing up three pipelines in the north, thereby cutting exports at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The first pipeline attack destroys a portion of the export route to Turkey, and other explosions occur in an area about 40 miles southwest of the oil producing center of Kirkuk. The explosions affect oil supplies to Iraq’s biggest refinery at Baiji and imports of refined products. Crude oil exports resumed three days later. (Reuters)
November 15, 2004 Military activities in Fallujah are followed by increased infrastructure attacks on oil targets in Iraq over the weekend. Reports to date indicate bombs and subsequent fires at oil wells around Kirkuk, including Khabbaza, as well as an explosion at an oil pipeline north of Baghdad. Also, according to the BBC, shells have destroyed part of the pipeline linking Kirkuk to the Beiji refinery, which is 120 miles north of Baghdad. (WMRC)
November 16, 2004 A U.S. Senate probe finds that Iraq illegally earned approximately $21.3 billion by circumventing UN sanctions between 1991 and 2003. The figure is double the amount reported by the Duelfer report that was released in October 2004. The Senate’s permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also releases details on the way in which Saddam Hussein manipulated the UN’s oil-for-food program. (WP)
December 10, 2004 Iraq resumes pumping Kirkuk crude oil to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan at a rate of 450,000 barrels per day after a 12-day halt, according to shipping sources. The pipeline from the Kirkuk fields had been idle since November 28, when it briefly pumped enough crude oil to allow a million-barrel tanker to fill. (DJ)
December 29, 2004 Iraq resumes crude oil exports at 1.4 million bbl/d from its southern Basra terminal after bad weather stopped loadings for a day. But, exports in the north, that flow from a pumping station near Baiji to the port of Ceyhan, Turkey, remain at a standstill following sabotage attacks on December 18. Officials do not expect exports to resume for another three days. Usually the northern export pipeline can carry up to 500,000 bbl/d of crude oil. (Reuters)
December 30, 2004 A bomb explosion southwest of Kirkuk sets fire to the pipeline that extends from the oil fields in the area to the Bayji refinery, the largest in the country with a capacity of 350,000 bbl/d. The attack against oil installations in northern and central Iraq disrupts oil refining, contributes to a fuel crisis, and causes significant shortages in electricity. An official with the Northern Oil Company says the pipeline will take five days to repair. (DJ, BBC)
January 12, 2005 The Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) decides to reduce the volume of its Basra Light term contracts by 10% from February 1 for 6 months because of frequent sabotage, power cuts, and delays due to bad weather. Southern loadings are reduced to 1.46 million bbl/d during the week leading up to January 12, from a peak capacity of nearly 2 million bbl/d. SOMO also suspends contracted deliveries in the north for oil from Kirkuk. (WMRC)
January 30, 2005 Millions of Iraqis defy threats and suicide bombers to cast ballots in their country’s first democratic national election. Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission estimates that approximately 60%, or about eight million, of the nearly 14 million registered voters actually vote. Another quarter of a million Iraqi exiles also vote, or 90% of those who had registered. (WP, NYT)
February 15, 2005 After extensive repair work on Iraq’s export pipeline from the Kirkuk oil fields, crude oil exports to the Turkish port of Ceyhan resume at a rate of 250,000 bbl/d. Plans are in place to increase the flows to 400,000 bbl/d by the end of the month, as long as further attacks do not continue. However, at the end of the month, after more sabotage to the pipeline, the Iraqi government shuts down the pipeline until further notice. (Bloomberg)
March 1, 2005 Iraq closes its northern crude oil export pipeline indefinitely due to sabotage concerns. The 600,000 bbl/d-pipeline, which runs from the city of Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has been the target of over 15 attacks since January 2005. The closure of the pipeline will make it difficult for Iraq to meet its targeted crude oil export level of 2 million barrels per day. (WMRC)
April 26, 2005 Iraqi saboteurs attack the 50,000 bbl/d Bay Hassan oilfield west of the northern city of Kirkuk. An Iraqi oil official says that a “number” of oil wells are shut down in response to the bombings, but export capacity will not be affected once flows resume from the northern oil pipeline to Ceyhan. (Reuters)
June 16, 2005 Pirates attempt to raid an oil tanker anchored off Iraq’s Basra oil terminal. The armed group boards the ship, but the crew is able to repel the attackers. There are no reported casualties, but the pirates escape before authorities can arrive. The attack occurs outside a security cordon established by U.S. naval forces. The raid is the second such attack in the month; pirates earlier raided the Nord Millennium oil tanker. Basra terminal handles most of Iraq’s crude oil exports, especially because of problems of sabotage along its northern export pipelines. (Reuters)
August 30 , 2005 Pirates raid a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker near the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. The attack is the latest in a string of such incidents affecting oil and petroleum product tankers servicing the country. (Reuters)
October 25, 2005 Iraqi voters approve the country's new, draft constitution, according to results released today. (BBC)
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Return to Iraq Country Analysis BriefFile last modified: December 27, 2005