Baghdad To Open Second Gulf Port
Iraq plans to resume crude exports from a second Gulf oil terminal under the U.N. oil-for-food program, an Iraqi official said on March 13th.
Fa’iz Shaheen, undersecretary of the Iraqi oil ministry, said that: “Khor al-Amaya oil terminal will be ready for exporting Iraqi oil under the oil-for-food deal.”
Shaheen indicated that the terminal, which suffered severe damage during both the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and the 1991 Gulf War, would soon resume international crude shipments.
The port, one of Iraq’s largest in the Gulf, has four loading terminals, two of have already been repaired and will soon begin shipments.
Shaheen said that reopening the facility, which will be able to handle 600,000 b/d of oil exports, should ease congestion at the existing Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr.
Baghdad is currently allowed to sell oil through only two outlets under the oil-for-food program – Mina al-Bakr and the Turkish port of Ceyhan. – and a third export route would require the approval of the Iraq sanctions committee.
Reports have abounded in recent months that the Iraqi-Syrian pipeline, closed since 1982, had been reopened with at least 100,000 b/d of Iraqi crude flowing into Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had in late February said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to put the line under U.N. control.
Iraqi officials continue to deny that the Syrian pipeline is in use, leading some analysts to speculate that Baghdad had been hoping to secure U.N. approval for Khor al-Amaya instead.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)