Iraq fully reopens Basra crude export terminal: shipping sources

Amman (Platts)--14 Oct 2013 1253 pm EDT/1653 GMT

Iraq has reopened all four of the crude loading berths at the al-Basra Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf, boosting the country's overall crude export capacity, shipping sources said Monday.

Two of the terminal's four jetties were shut in September to allow the installation of a jacket for a new platform in the Gulf to feed four Single Point Moorings, a key part of Iraq's broader plan to boost export capacity to handle growing production.

The temporary closure of the two jetties reduced the al-Basra Oil Terminal's export capacity to 800,000 b/d, half of its normal level of 1.6 million b/d.

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The reduced capacity at the terminal through much of September was the main cause of a big drop in Iraqi crude output and exports last month.

Overall production in Iraq plummeted by 350,000 b/d month-on-month, to 2.8 million b/d in September from 3.15 million b/d in August, according to a Platts survey of OPEC output.

In addition to the Basra terminal, Iraq can also export oil from the Gulf through the Khor al-Amaya terminal and from the first two SPMs, numbers 2 and 3, which are already in operation and currently handle a combined total of around 800,000 b/d of crude.

This is less than half their design capacity of 900,000 b/d each, mainly because of a lack of pressure in the pipeline feeding them.

The new platform being installed is a Central Metering-Manifold Platform which will hook up two more SPMs, numbers 1 and 5, to the pipeline system.

These SPMs are already in place but are currently dormant.

The CMMP will be 70 meters from the southeast end of the al-Basra terminal, and will be connected to it by a bridge.

--Faleh al-Khayat, newsdesk@platts.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@platts.com

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