Shell to Build Private Dock on Shatt al-Arab

Royal Dutch Shell may build its own dock in Iraq’s Shatt al-Arab waterway to speed up delivery of heavy equipment to its supergiant Majnoon oilfield, according to a report from Reuters.

The head of the General Company of Iraqi Ports, Salah Kudhair, told the agency that it had given initial approval to a proposal from Shell to build a 25 metre quay to ship equipment from the Umm Qasr sea port to Majnoon through the waterway.

That would be faster, safer and much easier than transporting the materials by truck.

“Shell asked to build its own dock on the Shatt al-Arab at their own expense and we gave them an initial approval,” Kudhair said in an interview in the oil hub city of Basra.

Shell has started conducting a survey and suggested a joint management committee should run the dock.

The Shatt al-Arab, a waterway formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, empties into the Gulf below Iraq’s port city of Basra and is Iraq’s only shipping outlet.

“Shell is looking at a number of potential options to mobilize equipment later in the year, and this is an initial survey to assess the feasibility of using Shatt al-Arab,” one source said, asking not to be identified.

Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, and Malaysia’s Petronas won a contract in 2009 to develop Majnoon, one of the world’s biggest oilfields.

A second industry source said that Exxon Mobil, which is developing Iraq’s West Qurna Phase One oilfield, another supergiant, was watching Shell’s proposal for a dock in the Shatt al-Arab closely.

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

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