On 11 September the Basra Oil Terminal shut down two of its loading jetties for metering and maintenance. But exporters were not told about the shutdown until the 11th hour, and when they were finally informed, they were told different things by different parts of the Ministry of Oil, MEES learns.

The episode highlights two critical realities within the Iraqi oil industry: first, it underscores the need to diversify its export routes, presently heavily reliant on southern export terminals – a reliance that is only set to increase over the short-to-medium term with the Basra upgrade. This need to diversify is the oft-cited reason behind the decision to move forward with the 1mn b/d Iraq-Jordan pipeline leading to a new export terminal at Jordan’s Red Sea port of ‘Aqaba. But the incident also highlights the incoherence that plagues the Iraqi oil industry. (CONTINUED - 752 WORDS)