Iraq Plans Major Pipeline Revamp To Enhance Export Flexibility

Iraq is dangerously dependent on its Basra export terminals. A pipeline through Jordan is the key alternative, with Iraq now reverting to the originally-planned route.

Federal Iraq has the capacity to export up to 3.8mn b/d from its southern offshore terminals. It is pushing close to this ceiling, with a record 3.63mn b/d in December, although volumes have been lower in 2019 due to Opec cuts. Baghdad also exports around 100,000 b/d of crude oil produced in the northern Kirkuk province through the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region’s 1mn b/d export pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port. Clearly these volumes are dwarfed by southern exports, which account for as much as 97% of the whole.

With Iraq intent on pushing through production capacity gains at its major southern fields, Baghdad is in dire need of boosting export capacity to ensure it can maximize future revenues. Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban told MEES in Baghdad this week (see p7) that he intends southern export capacity to reach 6.5mn b/d “within let us say 5-10 years, at the latest 10 years.” Capacity gains will be incremental, and the next target is 4.5mn b/d “within the next few years.” (CONTINUED - 1117 WORDS)