(This is a few days old, but a good story emailed to us from Shirl.)
Iraq set to take its place on the world stage
Posted 3/8/2012 6:30 PM by Emerging Money
_Iraq has started loading oil from a long-awaited new floating Single Point Mooring (SPM) platform, with the average loading rate into the tanker Maersk Hirado coming in at 22,000 barrels per hour.
Iraq's oil exports have been held back by a lack of loading capacity in the Gulf after decades of neglect of infrastructure caused by war and economic sanctions. The opening of its new platform -- built by Australian construction firm Leighton -- had been held up for weeks, with officials blaming poor weather.
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The new terminal is the first of four planned, each of which will ultimately have a capacity of 850,000 barrels per day, adding 3.4 million barrels of export capacity to make way for a doubling of Iraq's oil production in the next few years.
For now, the South Oil Company says the first platform will increase its exports by 300,000 barrels per day.
Iraq said this week it had increased total output to above 3 million barrels per day for the first time since 1979. Iraq's output last month was just 2.65 million bpd, with production held back by a lack of export capacity. Its exports have been slightly more than 2 million bpd.
The Iraqi government aims to more than double its oil output in the next few years and has set a long-term goal of 12 million bpd, which would rank it alongside Saudi Arabia and Russia as one of the world's oil superpowers .
By that point, Iraq will probably be added to the world's mutual funds and ETFs as well, making it a factor in portfolios like MES ( quote ), which tracks stocks in the Persian Gulf region.
by Simon Watkins for Emerging Money
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