Iraq began pumping oil to the first of five floating terminals in the Gulf on Sunday, according to AFP, and the terminal will be ready for exports in a few days.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki symbolically opened the valve of a pipeline that runs 535 kilometres (332 miles) from Iraq's southern oil fields to the port of Faw [Fao], and then on to the terminal.
AFP says the terminal will increase export capacity by 850,000 barrels per day, while Aswat al-Iraq puts the figure at 900,000 bpd.
The second of five planned terminals is expected to be completed this year, with the eventual goal of exporting five million bpd from the south alone.
So far the project has cost $1.5 billion.
(Sources: AFP, Aswat al-Iraq)