Iraq today starting using a new offshore oil loading system called Single Point Mooring, officials say, a development that could dramatically increase oil exports for the resource-rich country, reported Reuters.
Iraq's export efforts have been hampered by weak infrastructure, but the new Austrian-built terminal will boost output by 300,000 barrels per day, officials with the state-owned South Oil Company told Reuters.
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The terminal that began operation today is one of four that together would increase Iraq's oil exports by 3.4 million barrels -- about double its current capacity, said Reuters.
Iraq has the world's fourth-largest known oil reserves.
The Zawya business publication described the terminal as a floating buoy that could service tankers moored farther away from the Gulf's coast.
The Associated Press said the new system was pumping 20,000 barrels per hour.
Zawya quoted Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani saying the move will "strengthen" efforts to boost exports, a main source of revenue for Iraq's struggling economy.
The new comes a few days after Iraq produced over three million barrels of oil in one day for the first time in over 30 years, according to Zawya.