Start-up of the 50,000 b/d first phase of the Petronas-led Gharaf project in Iraq’s Dhi Qar province continues to slip on the back of customs delays, which are becoming a growing problem for the country’s upstream development.

Internally, engineers are now confident of first Gharaf oil by mid-August, from earlier deadlines of first June and then July. But, concedes one source, timetables are very dependent on the laborious customs process at the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. (CONTINUED - 1109 WORDS)