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Closing Hormuz will halve Iraq oil exports: Baghdad

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 | 16:30
Iraq could lose more than half of its oil-exporting capability if neighboring Iran shuts the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping lane, Iraq’s planning minister said Monday, adding no immediate alternatives would make up the shortfall.
Of the average 2.165 million barrels of oil per day that Iraq exported last year, about 1.7 million bpd went through Basra export terminals to the Gulf via Hormuz.
“Today we are trying to look for alternatives to export Iraqi oil,” added Ali al-Shukri.
He said Iraq could rely on exporting more crude by trucks and could increase the export capacity of its northern pipeline which transfers oil from the northern oilfields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to 1 million bpd from a current 400,000 bpd.
But, he said: “These two hasty solutions which we could depend on will not meet our exporting abilities.”
The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has come under sabotage attacks many times since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and frequently breaks down due to technical faults that require years to fix.
Last year, Iraqi and Jordanian officials said the two countries had agreed in principle to build a pipeline to supply Jordan with crude oil in the coming decades.
Shukri said longer-term plans that could be considered would be to invite foreign firms to rehabilitate an oil pipeline between Iraq and Banias in Syria that has been idle for decades.
But unrest in Syria makes it unlikely there will be any immediate interest in reviving that pipeline.
Source: Daily Star
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