Reuters, citing two sources at the state-owned South Oil Company, reports that Iraq began loading oil from a long-awaited new floating Single Point Mooring (SPM) platform in the Gulf on Thursday.
“We started the loading at 2:45 pm (1145 GMT). The loading process is normal. The situation of pipes and the SPM is stable, and we have no problems,” said one of the sources.
The average loading rate into the tanker Maersk Hirado was 22,000 barrels per hour, the source said.
The opening of its new platform, built by Australian construction firm Leighton, had been held up for weeks, with officials blaming poor weather.
The new terminal is the first of a planned four, each of which will ultimately have a capacity of 850,000 barrels per day, adding 3.4 million barrels of export capacity to make way for a doubling of Iraq’s oil production in the next few years.
For now, the South Oil Company says the first platform will increase its exports by 300,000 barrels per day.