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.
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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.
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.