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Oil exports hit due to bad weather

Kuwait City, February 22, 2009

Oil exports from terminals in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran were disrupted today due to bad weather in the region, shipping sources said.

"Oil exports were stopped on Sunday morning due to low visibility and will resume once weather conditions are better," Ahmad Al-Muzaiel, a spokesman for state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) said.

High pressure riding in from Saudi Arabia is interacting with a low pressure system over Iran, which is influencing  the weather throughout the region, said a weather report.

Kuwait, an OPEC member which sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves, pumped around 2.32 million barrels per day in January, according to a Reuters survey.        

The world's seventh-largest oil exporter has three refineries -- Shuaiba, Mina Abdullah and Mina al-Ahmadi -- with a total refining capacity of around 930,000 bpd.   

Saudi Aramco's oil exports from its joint-venture refinery with Shell at the Gulf port of Jubail have been disrupted due to the bad weather, shippers said.

The joint-venture Sasref refinery has two berths for oil product exports, one located inside the port breakwater and the other outside it, shippers said.

Berthing at the berth outside the breakwater has been halted with two ships in anchorage waiting to load, shippers said.

"There is no berthing outside. They can't berth in this weather," a shipper said. About 60,000 tonnes of product mainly, fuel oil, naphtha gas oil and jet fuel is exported from the terminal daily, a shipper said.

However, exports from Saudi Arabia's largest terminal at Ras Tanura were unaffected, a shipping agent said. Ras Tanura is the world's largest offshore oil facility with capacity to load between 5.5 million and 6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil.

"It is windy but there is no problem at all for crude tankers," said the agent.

One small vessel due to load liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) had been delayed, he added.

Bad weather also disrupted crude exports from Iran's main terminal at Kharg Island for a few days, shipping sources said.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil exporter. It ships around 2.4 million barrels per day of crude. Most of those exports are through Kharg Island in the northern Gulf.

The oil terminal at the port of Bandar Mahshahr was also shut, an oil trader said on Sunday. That terminal exports fuel oil from Iran's largest refinery, the 450,000 bpd Abadan plant. - Reuters




Tags: Kuwait | Bad weather | Oil Exports |

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