New Floating Storage Unit Inaugurated

New Floating Storage Unit InauguratedNew Floating Storage Unit Inaugurated

Khalij-e-Fars floating oil storage unit (FSU), with capacity of 2.2 million barrels of oil, was officially inaugurated on Sunday, helping expedite oil storage and export operations.

The FSU, which is reportedly the biggest oil exporting terminal of its kind, will receive 200,000 barrels of heavy oil per day (bpd) from Soroush and Nowruz oilfields. Production from Soroush and Nowruz oilfield currently stands at 75,000, which is mainly exported to China, Japan, and India.

Unloading, storing, and exporting crude oil at the production point will significantly reduce costs, Mohammad Ranjbar, the FSU manager, was quoted by Shana news agency as saying during the inauguration ceremony on Sunday morning. The new FSU is capable of exporting one million bpd of oil.  "It can export one third of Iran's oil," he noted.

Floating facilities are a major means of oil export in the world, especially the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Up to now, crude oil produced in the Nowruz and Soroush fields in the Persian Gulf were exported via Sourena, Iran's first floating oil terminal. Sourena was operating for 13 years prior to construction of Khalij-e-Fars FSU by the Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) and a South Korean company, Samsung. The project was carried out at a cost of more than $250 million.

Samsung's deputy managing director said the company wants to continue cooperation with the IOOC. Samsung will also assist Iranian experts to maintain and repair the FSU if needed.

Until a final decision is made by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)'s board of directors, Sourena FSU will remain operational to back up Khaije-e-Fars FSU, Ranjbar noted. However, it can be utilized to store and export crude oil from Esfandiar oilfield.

"The long-standing Sourena unit will be put out to tender," managing director of the IOOC told reporters at the inauguration ceremony.  Sourena FSU consists of five oil storage tanks, of which the largest has a 250,000 barrel capacity, and the smallest can store up to 120,000 barrels of crude. It is also capable of receiving and offloading crude simultaneously.

A total of 250,000 barrels of oil was being stored in the Khalij-e-Fars FSU over the past months, until it reached full capacity, and officially went on stream on Sunday.

Iran holds the world's fourth-largest proved crude oil reserves and the world's second-largest natural gas reserves. It holds nearly 10% of the world's crude oil reserves and 13% of OPEC reserves. About 70% of the country's reserves are located onshore, with the remainder mostly located offshore in the Persian Gulf.