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Basra is Going to Resume Export Soon

Source: Reuters 2/14/2006, Location: Middle East

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Tankers waiting to load at Iraq's southern Basra oil terminal are facing delays of at least a week due to a backlog of vessels waiting to berth. Operations at the terminal were disrupted for much of last week after poor weather conditions halted loadings. There are currently 7 tankers in anchorage waiting to berth and commence loading operations, a port agent said.

A total of 12 vessels are expected to load about 18.7 million barrels of crude oil over the next 15 days, he said. The current flow rate at the terminal is at 70,000 barrels per hour.

The terminal has been trying to clear a backlog of oil exports caused by months of power cuts, insufficient storage and bad weather.

Iraqi crude oil exports fell in December to 1.08 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest level since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. They rose marginally to 1.11 million bpd in January, according to data compiled by Reuters.

Iraq has also recently pledged to supply 1.57 million bpd of Basra Light crude oil for the first half of this year.

Earlier this week, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi said the country was committed to meeting its export target as it implemented new security measures to protect the Iraq-Turkey pipeline.

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