x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Iraq opens taps on offshore oil facility to boost output

The Wires: Iraq opens the first of four planned offshore mooring facilities in the Persian Gulf and intends by March to add 200,000 barrels a day to its capacity for loading tankers there

Iraq, seeking to maximize crude oil exports, opened the first of four planned offshore mooring facilities in the Persian Gulf and intends by March to add 200,000 barrels a day to its capacity for loading tankers there

The new single-point mooring unit, extending into the sea from the southern oil terminal of Fao, has a potential export capacity of 850,000 barrels a day, Falah Al-Amri, chairman of the State Oil Marketing Organization, said in an interview.

“We are ready to market these new capacities, particularly in promising markets in Asia where our crude exports to China currently average 500,000 barrels a day,” he said during a ceremony that the prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki attended to mark the facility’s inauguration.

The four units would increase the country’s export capacity by a combined 3.4 million barrels a day by 2013. Iraq, with a short coastline pinched between Kuwait and Iran, plans to install an undersea pipeline to each unit and load oil aboard tankers capable of mooring there. The nation also exports crude overland by pipeline through neighboring Turkey.

Iraq holds the world’s fifth-largest crude deposits including Canadian oil sands, according to data from BP Plc. The government is trying to attract foreign investment and expertise to help boost energy exports and rebuild an economy shattered by years of conflict, sanctions and sabotage.

Oil exports from southern Iraq will increase to 2.1 million barrels a day within four months from 1.7 million barrels today, al-Amri said. Exports from northern Iraqi oil fields will probably rise to 450,000 barrels a day within four months from 400,000 barrels now, he said.

Iraq plans also to open export routes for crude through neighboring Syria, following threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf in response to international sanctions on Iran’s energy industry, Thamir Ghadhban, the Iraqi prime minister’s top adviser, said February 2.

* Bloomberg News