Iraq go-ahead for building new pipeline
Baghdad, March 19, 2012
Iraq has approved a plan to expand its oil export routes by adding capacity from its northern fields and building a pipeline to ship oil from southern fields to Ceyhan in Turkey, a government spokesman said.
The contingency plan was set by the government's energy and economic committee to deal with any crisis should Iran close the Strait of Hormuz, which would halt about 80 per cent of Iraq's exports.
Tehran has threatened to close the strait, used for a third of the world's seaborne oil trade, if Western moves to ban its crude exports crippled its energy sector.
'Short and mid-term plans will be through boosting crude pumping and upgrading export capacity via the Ceyhan port and to increase the number of trucks shipping crude,' a government spokesman said.
Iraq exported 2.014 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, including 1.711m bpd from its southern oil hub of Basra and via exports terminal in the Gulf, and 375,000 bpd from its northern fields around Kirkuk to Ceyhan.
Plans approved are a short-term measure based on recommendations by the Oil Ministry to increase efforts to convince Iran and the US of the need to avoid closing the strait.-Reuters