Iraq sees new Gulf terminal ready by Jan 1
Basra, October 1, 2011
Iraq expects to turn on the tap at one of three new oil export terminals in the Gulf on January 1, a major milestone in its effort to build export capacity to handle increasing output from southern oilfields.
Construction on three single-point moorings (SPMs), linked to land near Basra by twin 60-km seabed pipelines, will be finished by the new year but only one will be put into operation immediately, Dhiya Jaafar, head of state-run South Oil Company, told Reuters on a trip to view work on the new export facilities.
The Gulf construction site was alive with work vessels, cranes and crews on Wednesday as contractor Leighton Offshore pushes to finish the $733-million project by year-end. Iraq is hungry for higher oil revenue as it rebuilds after years of war.
Export infrastructure limitations are a major impediment to its ambitious plans to tap the world's fourth largest crude reserves and join the ranks of top exporting nations.
About 90 percent of the work on the offshore pipelines and about 60 per cent of twin 8-km onshore pipelines had been completed, Jaafar said.
'The date of oil flow through the new SPMs will be January 1, 2012. We will start with one SPM and work will escalate,' Jaafar said in an interview aboard the South Oil Co.
vessel 'Rumaila' about 100 km offshore in the Gulf.
Having three new SPMs in operation would mark a significant increase in Iraq's export capacity as BP , Exxon Mobil , Royal Dutch Shell and other global majors ramp up output at workhorse Rumaila, super giant West Qurna and other southern fields.
Iraq exported 2.189 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, 1.728 million of that from the two existing terminals off Basra.
Each of the new export moorings has a capacity of 900,000 bpd. Having all three in operation would give Iraq 2.7 million bpd of additional export capacity, more than doubling Basra's current capacity.-Reuters