This article was written by Ali Sarhan, and was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net. It is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
A plan to triple Iraq’s oil exporting capacity took off with the inauguration of the first floating terminal in the Gulf port of Basra this week.
The new Single Point Mooring, SPM, can process 850,000 barrels per day, and is the first of five similar terminals intended to increase Iraq’s export capacity from 2.1 million to over six million barrels per day. The other four should be in use by the end of 2013.
Iraq’s export expansion plans for the Gulf include two undersea and one onshore pipeline, as well as the five SPMs for loading tankers.
Oil ministry spokesman Asem Jihad welcomed the five-terminal project, located in Al-Faw, south of Basra.
“It’s one of the largest and most important projects in Iraq, and has no precedent,” he said. “The opening of this port is part of the ministry’s plans to raise export capacity over the next few years.”
Iraq currently produces 2.9 million barrels a day, but – under deals reached in 2008 when the government awarded 15 oil and gas deals to international firms such as Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP and Total – the plan is to increase daily output to rise to 12 million barrels by 2017.
Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves, and 95 per cent of its revenue comes from oil exports, so increased production has to be linked with improved capacity to export.