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Iraq ‘halts’ Basra Light oil loading after pipeline leak

SINGAPORE, July 15, (RTRS): Iraq has suspended Basra Light crude oil loading at two export terminals in the country’s south after a pipeline leak, four shipping and trade sources said on Monday.

One of the sources said the suspension at the Basra Oil Terminal and the smaller Khor al-Amaya terminal took place on Sunday and there were 15 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Suezmax tankers in the queue. A VLCC can load up to 2 million barrels and a Suezmax has capacity of 1 million barrels.

The outage could lengthen the waiting time for ships to load at the two terminals, including Iraq’s main oil export port, after the country sold more oil that it can export from the south. There was around an 11-day delay to load Basrah Light crude before the outage, data from port agents showed.

It remained unclear how long the pipeline repair would take, the sources said. “It’s a small leakage and they’re working on it,” a second source said. VLCC and Suezmax tankers that had suspended oil loading include New Frontier, Jiaolong Spirit, Ioanna and 17 February, according to a trade source and Thomson Reuters Eikon data. Iraq was expected to export 3.64 million barrels per day (bpd) of Basra Light and Heavy in June, but actual loadings were only 3.175 million bpd. This month the producer is expected to load 2.155 million bpd of Basra Light. The loading of another Iraqi export grade, Basra Heavy, was unaffected, sources said

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