Iraq has resumed oil exports of about 1 million barrels a day through its southern Basra terminal after completing repairs to pipelines sabotaged by insurgents, an official from a U.S.-based shipping company said Monday.
Mohammed Hadi, head of operations for Norton Lilly International’s Baghdad operations, told The Associated Press by telephone from Jordan that pumping had resumed Sunday morning.
“Crude oil is being loaded onto one tanker at the rate of 42,000 barrels an hour, or about 1,008,000 barrels a day,” Hadi said. “Two other tankers are waiting for loading, and another two are in the anchorage area.”
Coalition officials confirmed that pumping had resumed and said tankers were being loaded.
The state-run company that markets the oil reported “that crude is being loaded onto tankers at the offshore terminals,” said Dominic d’Angelo, a coalition spokesman in Basra.
Iraq rushed to repair a second, larger pipeline also damaged in the attacks. Iraqi oil officials said repairs were unlikely to be completed before June 25.
Another southern export terminal, Khor Amaya, was still out of commission, Hadi said, with a single tanker waiting for loading.
Analysts and traders said halting exports costs Iraq about $65 million in lost oil revenue daily — money on which the nation depends for reconstruction efforts after the June 30 handover of sovereignty.
Oil traders said a continuation of attacks could prompt refiners to look elsewhere for necessary supplies.
At least 1.5 million barrels a day move through the lines that are the country’s main conduit to outside markets. A third, smaller line linking the oil fields of the northern city of Kirkuk with the Turkish port of Ceyhan has been halted since an attack last month.
Iraq has the world’s second-largest oil reserves. But years of war, U.N. sanctions and mismanagement have left Iraq with dilapidated and obsolete oil facilities, and Iraqis have failed to restore crude exports to prewar levels of more than 2 million barrels a day.