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Maintenance at Basra Terminals Leads to Some Delays

Source: Reuters 12/18/2015, Location: Middle East

Maintenance work taking place at loading terminals in Iraq's key southern oil hub of Basra is leading to some shipment delays, a trade source familiar with the matter said.

Iraq, OPEC's second largest producer, plans to export about 3.4 million barrels per day of Basra crude from its southern oil terminals in January, up 17.2 percent from the previous month, trade sources said earlier this week, citing a preliminary loading programme.

"It is a maintenance of two to three days at the SPMs (single point mooring terminals) only," the source familiar with the matter said, referring to the loading zones. "Delays in loading should not take longer to get resolved.

A separate trade source pointed to a build up of tankers. Ship tracking data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed at least 15 tankers were anchored around various loading terminals in Basra - some waiting for days.

In November, shipping and port sources, pointing to full onshore storage, said up to 20 supertankers were held up in Basra, with vessels experiencing loading delays of up to 12 days.

The bottlenecks, which included Iraq, helped freight rates to spike in recent weeks to more than $110,000 a day, their highest level since 2008.

"We expect crude oil exports out of Basra to remain firm going forward ... and support crude tanker earnings," Arctic Securities analyst Erik Nikolai Stavseth said this week.

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