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Oil exports from Basra terminal return to normal

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The Basra Oil Company (BOC) of Iraq has announced that loading and export activity at the Basra oil terminal has returned to normal rates after an oil spill caused it to scale back operations.

Some sources had reported that the oil spill was particularly large and could take weeks to contain. The oil port at Basra, with its four berths, can support the export of crude oil by tanker at a rate of 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd), so an extended shutdown would have had a disruptive effect on the currently tight markets.

Fortunately that has not been the case, with the BOC saying that a maintenance team fixed a crude oil leak in the surplus tanks within 24 hours. It also said that operations had not been completely suspended while the repair work was undertaken.

Iraq is rated fifth in the world for both proven oil reserves and oil production, which currently stands at around 4.5 million bpd. Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, many international oil majors have returned to Iraq, such as BP, the maker of the Castrol Alphasyn synthetic gear oil, when it helped to develop the giant Rumaila field.

The BOC is planning to increase export capacity at the Basra terminal to 3.45 million bpd, but this target was pushed back earlier in the year due to delays in upgrading the pumping stations. It is unclear as to whether the oil leak and the subsequent repairs were related to ongoing work for the upgrade.

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