Iraq has entered the market for liquefied petroleum gas, with its first shipment ever taking place this week.
In a statement, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said that first shipment was an achievement and quoted the managing director of Basra Gas Company, Malcolm Mayes, as saying it was a "historic moment".
A report by an Iraqi media earlier this week inaccurately stated that Iraq had started exporting LNG.
Liquefied petroleum gas is used for cooking in developing nations as well as for powering internal combustion engine vehicles.
"Today, we can load and export compressed and semi-cooled liquefied gas," said Mayes this week, as quoted by Shafaq. He added that "this step allows us to triple our exports globally via tankers. We will also gain access to many global markets that use the semi-cooled liquefied gas exclusively."
Iraq has been busy trying to make the most of its hydrocarbon reserves, including associated gas, a by-product of oil extraction, both for the domestic market and for international markets.
The country is now eager to develop its natural gas reserves in addition to oil, in a bid to reduce its dependence on Iranian imports. Recently, as part of these efforts, the Iraqi government sealed a deal with a subsidiary of China's CNPC for the construction of a gas processing plant in Naserya.
Reducing gas flaring—the burning of associated gas at oilfields—is also among Iraq's energy industry priorities. Capturing the gas, liquefying it, and exporting it appears to be a viable avenue of development.
"Our strategic plan for the future is to maximise semi-refrigeration exports and eventually participate in the global LPG-trading market when we start exporting fully refrigerated LPG," BGC's Mayes also said this week, as quoted by The National.
"BGC has been working relentlessly to meet its strategic plan. By upgrading Umm Qasr Marine Terminal and installing the necessary chiller units, we were able to bring this project into fruition," Basra Gas Company's managing director also said.
"Now LPG can be loaded on both pressurised and semi-refrigerated ships, which will increase the number of vessels that our export customers can use to trade LPG produced by BGC," he added.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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