Iraq likely to open new 
oil terminal in 10 days

Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters)
Filed on January 29, 2012

BAGHDAD - Iraq expects to start oil exports from a new Gulf terminal in 10 days after delaying its ceremonial inauguration to finish pipeline connections and testing, Iraqi oil sources said.

Iraq’s oil minister said last week test-pumping of crude through the new single-point mooring (SPM) would begin on Wednesday, and the terminal would be ready to receive vessels in February.

The OPEC producer’s new terminal will add about 900,000 barrels per day to its export capacity, coinciding with a Western embargo on Iranian oil that could put pressure on global supplies.

But hydrostatic testing of both the onshore and offshore sections of new pipelines to the terminal has not been completed, a South Oil Company source said.

“We have to complete the test on both parts of the pipeline and only then will we be able to connect the onshore pipeline with the offshore part. We need around 10 days to complete all the work,” said the source, who is a member of Iraq’s southern export expansion team.

Iraq’s $1.3 billion export expansion project in the Gulf includes two undersea pipelines and one onshore pipeline, as well as four SPMs for loading tankers.

Each new SPM will add about 900,000 bpd to Iraq’s export capacity. Two other SPMs will be brought on line later in the year, Iraqi officials have said.

Export capacity limitations have hampered Iraq’s ambitious goal to vault into the ranks of the world’s top crude producers.

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