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Iraq’s Basra Oil Company is working on expanding the daily capacity of the Amaya oil export terminal in Basra to one million barrels, a deputy oil minister told media over the weekend. Amaya’s current capacity is 250,000 bpd. An earlier announcement from February had pegged the increased capacity of Amaya at 1.2 million bpd.
Initially, the terminal’s capacity will be boosted by installing new pipelines and pumps, and by building new storage tanks. Eventually, within a few years, the capacity will reach its final target size of 1 million bpd.
Separately, the minister, Karim Hattab, said that the Basra Oil Company will increase output from the Leheis oil field, one of the longest-producing in Iraq, to 120,000 bpd from its current output of 100,000 bpd.
OPEC’s second-largest crude producer has been in the crosshairs of observers of the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut deal, widely seen as the most likely cheater in the deal as it depends on oil revenues for the survival of its economy. Although slow to comply with its reduction quota of 210,000 bpd, Iraq has not so far given reason to believe it actually plans to evade its obligations.
It has, however, benefited from a recent decision by OPEC’s number-one, Saudi Arabia, to reduce oil exports to the U.S. EIA data quoted by Bloomberg reveals that in the first week of June, Iraqi oil exports to the U.S. reached the highest in five years, also exceeding—by a pretty wide margin—Saudi exports for the first time in the same period.
Overall exports of Iraqi crude are also growing despite the production cut agreement. In May, the country shipped 3.262 million bpd abroad, versus 3.253 million bpd in April. Still, both figures are substantially lower than the export rates for January and February: in the latter month, shipments of crude abroad hit 3.85 million bpd.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.