Iraq eyes new oil platforms, big export boost
Basra, November 26, 2009
Iraq aims to install four new floating oil terminals and three new undersea oil pipelines that will boost export capacity to 8 million barrels per day from a current 1.9 million bpd, a top oil official said.
Dhiya Jaafar, current chief of Iraq's South Oil Co. (SOC), which oversees the bulk of exports from the country's vast oil reserves, on Wednesday told Reuters work should be completed on the new terminals and pipelines in the second half of 2011.
'There is a plan ready and it is under execution to establish four floating platforms and three new undersea pipes ... (We aim) to finish this work in the second half of 2011,' he said, adding this would boost capacity to 8 million bpd.
Iraq has a clutch of deals with global oil majors that it hopes will push it to third from eleventh place among the world's oil producers. A contract with Britain's BP and China's CNPC to develop the country's super-giant Rumaila field has already been finalised.
BP, CNPC and the SOC have agreed that current production from Rumaila is 1.05 million bpd, Jaafar said. The baseline output figure will be used to determine the foreign firms' future performance in boosting output, to which their level of remuneration is pegged.
Iraqi oil exports reached 1.868 million bpd in October, including exports from the country's northern fields. The bulk of Iraq's oil reserves, the world's third largest, are in the south, and are currently pumped through two offshore terminals.
Three pipelines carry oil to the Khor al-Amaya and al-Basra oil terminals, but equipment is old and decrepit after years of wars and sanctions, and the existing pipes cannot handle the pressure of a faster pumping rate.
Jaafar said new oil storage and pumping facilities were being built to handle the expected increase in oil production as a result of the new oilfield development deals. – Reuters