S. Africa to Buy Iraqi Oil

S. Africa to Buy Iraqi OilS. Africa to Buy Iraqi Oil

South Africa's Strategic Fuel Fund is seeking to import 24 million barrels of oil a year from Iraq to boost its reserves in what would be South Africa's first crude imports from Baghdad for more than a decade, an official said on Friday.

South Africa has not imported crude oil from Iraq since 2003, when Saddam Hussein was toppled, Trade Arabia reported.

 "As part of security of supply, SFF applied for an allocation with the Iraqi state-owned oil company SOMO and we are waiting for SOMO to respond," SFF's acting chief executive officer, Sibusiso Gamede said.

"We are looking at 2 million (barrels) per month, adding up to 24 million (barrels) a year."

According to a senior Iraqi diplomat based in Pretoria, South Africa had been looking for significantly more, although analysts were skeptical over the amounts mentioned.

The Iraqi diplomat said SOMO was also deciding on two separate requests from private companies for a total of 24 million barrels of oil a year, which will be used to supply refineries in South Africa and the SADC region.

South Africa has been diversifying its crude sources after the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Iran, its former top supplier.

Pretoria has said it would resume oil imports from Tehran "tomorrow", when sanctions were lifted.

Iraq's southern oil exports will rise modestly to around 3.25 million barrels per day in 2016, the head of state-owned South Oil Company said last month, as the country struggles to boost production in the face of slumping crude prices.