Iraq’s Postwar Oil Exports to Restart
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq’s first postwar oil exports are set to restart on Sunday as tankers load crude at the Turkish oil terminal Ceyhan, a senior Iraqi oil official said Thursday.
``Exports from Ceyhan are fixed for this Sunday _ we’ve received all the documents and the tankers are supposed to be there to lift oil early Sunday,″ Mohammed Al-Jibouri, the head of Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Iraq’s oil pipeline from the northern fields of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Ceyhan will start pumping Sunday once the tankers start taking on crude, he said.
The pipeline stopped pumping during the U.S.-led war on Iraq, when shipping was stopped and the Ceyhan storage tanks filled to their capacity of 8 million barrels.
``Hopefully on Sunday when exports begin we will start pumping oil again,″ al-Jibouri said.
But he couldn’t say at what rate the pipeline _ which has been beset by technical and communication problems _ would be pumping.
Full restart of Iraq’s oil exports, around 2 million barrels a day before the war, have been delayed due to damage caused by looters.
Exports from Iraq’s southern oil fields through the offshore terminal Mina al-Bakr are set to restart on June 28. Al-Jibouri said officials there were ready to start loading the oil on Tuesday, but that purchasers weren’t ready to take the shipments yet.
ChevronTexaco will take 2 million barrels of Basra Light from Mina. The crude is destined for one of its refineries in the United States.
Cepsa and Repsol was to take 1 million barrels each of Kirkuk from Ceyhan, and Turkish refiner Tupras will take 2.5 million barrels.
Al-Jibouri said although it wasn’t clear whose oil would be loaded first from Ceyhan, it was most likely to be the Tupras shipment.
Oil companies Eni and Total S.A. were expected to take Kirkuk crude shipments on June 25 and June 26, respectively.