First Iraq-flagged oil tanker in 3 decades leaves port

An oil field is seen in Kirkuk, Iraq October 18, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2018
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First Iraq-flagged oil tanker in 3 decades leaves port

BAGHDAD: An Iraq-flagged tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil has set sail for the US, the first such trip in nearly three decades, the oil ministry said Saturday.
Iraq, which has been ravaged by a series of wars since the 1980s, is the oil cartel OPEC’s second biggest producer with 153 billion barrels of proven crude reserves.
“The Baghdad left Basra on Friday night headed for the United States. It is the first time since 1991 that Iraq is running its own oil tankers,” oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.
Basra, in southern Iraq, is an oil-rich province.
Under late dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq went to war with Iran between 1980 and 1988 and invaded Kuwait in 1990, before being expelled by a US-led coalition.
Since an American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country has been blighted by long periods of chaos, culminating in a three-year battle against Daesh insurgents.
Infrastructure in Iraq, which depends on oil for 99 percent of revenues, was devastated but authorities have been looking to boost oil and gas output.
The country has leased four tankers and is expected to obtain three others at a later date.
In May, Iraq exported 3.49 million barrels of oil per day, according to the oil ministry.


Aramco boosts oil export capacity from the west

Updated 3 min 24 sec ago
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Aramco boosts oil export capacity from the west

  • Move will allow Yanbu to handle extra 3 million barrels daily
  • Exports crude from oilfields in the east of the Kingdom

LONDON: Saudi Aramco has completed a major upgrade of its port at Yanbu that will allow it to handle an extra 3 million barrels per day of crude oil.
It comes amid a global supply crunch that has led to calls for increased output from Middle East oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia.
The terminal, which is located south of Yanbu on the west coast, consists of a tank farm and offshore facilities to receive, store and load Arabian Light and Arabian Super Light Crude.
“The successful startup of the Yanbu South Terminal is another milestone in reinforcing Saudi Aramco’s goal to be the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals producer,” said Abdullah Al-Mansour, executive head of pipelines, distribution and terminals at Saudi Aramco.
Yanbu is one of Saudi Arabia’s key petroleum shipping terminals and the country’s second port after Jeddah, located about 300 kilometers to the south. Crude flows from oilfields in the east of the country through pipelines that terminate in Yanbu, before being loaded onto supertankers and being transported around the world.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo on Tuesday urged oil companies to increase capacity and boost investment as spare oil capacity shrinks worldwide.
The global oil sector needs about $11 trillion in investment to meet future oil needs in the period up to 2040, Barkindo said.
Earlier this week Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that the Kingdom was the world’s energy “shock absorber” and pledged to continue to offer a cushion to global supply interruptions.
His remarks coincided with mounting concerns among energy-importing nations about the recent rise in the oil price and increased pressure from the US for the Kingdom to boost production.
“We could have another unanticipated, unplanned disruption. We’ve seen Libya, we’ve seen Nigeria, we’ve seen Venezuela and we have sanctions on Iran. These supply disruptions need a shock absorber,” Al-Falih told the CERAWeek event by IHS Markit.
“The shock absorber has been, to a large part, Saudi Arabia. We have invested tens of billions of dollars to build the spare capacity which has been two to three million barrels over the years.”