Iraq working to double crude oil loading capacity at one of its two southern offshore oil export terminals to 1.2 million barrels per day
Iraq has started work to double the crude oil loading capacity at one of its two southern offshore oil export terminals to 1.2 million barrels per day, state-run South Oil Company (SOC) said on Thursday.
Dredging operations have started to deepen the sea bed at the Khor al-Amaya terminal, to enable the loading by Suezmax vessels, tankers that can carry up to 1 million barrels of crude, SOC spokesman Abdulla Faris said.
The expansion work should be finished by June, he said in the southern oil city of Basra. Khor al-Amaya’s current loading capacity is around 600,000 bpd.
OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia, Iraq contributed to the biggest crude production increase from the 13-member oil exporters’ group in 2015, as it ramped up output from the giant oilfields in its southern region, in cooperation with foreign oil companies.
The country reluctantly agreed in November to an OPEC deal to cut production in a collective effort to try and boost oil prices.
It had argued that it should be allowed to produce at will to make up for three and a half decades of disruption due to oil wars and sanctions.
“We hope by mid-year tankers which carry 1 million barrels of oil will be able to dock,” Faris said.
Khor al-Amaya is located in the Gulf near the much larger Basra offshore terminal which has several berths and mooring points. Iraq’s southern exports reached a record 3.51 million bpd in December, according to the oil ministry.