Iran plans oil export terminal outside Gulf
Dubai, May 21, 2012
Iran plans to build an oil terminal outside the Strait of Hormuz to ensure exports in the event of Gulf shipping problems and to ship Caspian oil, the oil ministry news website said on Monday.
Shana reported the head of the Iranian Oil Terminals Company (IOTC), Seyyed Pirouz Mousavi, saying Iran plans to build a new export terminal at Bandar Jask, on the Gulf of Oman coast of Iran.
It would be connected to the Caspian Sea port of Neka using a 1 million barrel a day pipeline.
Mousavi said the new terminal would enable Iran to export more oil from Caspian producers and provide a fall-back option for Iran's main export terminal at Kharg Island if there were any problems exporting Iran's own oil from the Gulf.
A European Union ban on importing Iranian oil comes into effect on July 1 and many of its customers in Asia are reducing imports due to Western pressure, forcing Iran to fill existing storage at Kharg and on oil tankers moored nearby.
"In the event of any type of problem in exporting crude oil from the Kharg terminal, this terminal can provide back up for exports," Shana quoted him as saying.
Mousavi said the planned terminal outside the vital Gulf oil shipping route - which Tehran has threatened to block during a long standoff with the West over its nuclear programme - would have a storage capacity of 20 million barrels and cost around $2.2 billion to build. Kharg has 22 million barrels of storage.
Gulf exporters depend on the Strait of Hormuz to export most of their oil and Iran's total dependence on its narrow shipping lanes is seen as a deterrent to attempting any blockade.
The United Arab Emirates hopes to open a new Gulf bypass pipeline to the Gulf of Oman this year and many companies are boosting storage facilities across the water from Bandar Jask, spurred by threats to shipping through Hormuz.
Iran has invested in import capacity at its Caspian port of Neka to enable crude swaps with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, but it currently consumes the oil domestically because of the lack of pipeline links with ports in the south of the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). - Reuters