Kharg Oil Terminal to Have Iran-Made Loading Arm

Kharg Oil Terminal to Have Iran-Made Loading Arm
Kharg Oil Terminal to Have Iran-Made Loading Arm

Engineering work on the first marine loading arm for use in Kharg Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf is in the final stages, head of the research and development department at the state-run Iranian Oil Terminals Company said.

"The loading arm is an essential piece of equipment for loading crude oil. It is the first mechanical loading arm to be built in Iran," Mehdi Hassani was quoted as saying by Shana on Saturday.

It is in the test stage and is expected to be installed on the eastern platform of the huge Kharg terminal within two months.

A loading arm is made up of steel pipes and connects a crude or chemical tanker to a cargo terminal. It allows for faster transfer of oil or other products and is especially used for hooking up larger vessels.

Hassani described the loading arm as a strategic apparatus. "The arm will mark a turning point in Iran's oil industry if it successfully passes the operational tests."

All the current mechanical arms at the Kharg terminal are made by European companies, Hassani said without providing details.

"A lot of effort in repair and maintenance was invested in designing the loading arm," said the official.

Iran is pressing ahead with plans to raise crude production and exports following the lifting of international sanctions in January.

Currently the third-largest producer of OPEC behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Iran is equipping the Kharg terminal, its largest and the most important oil loading facility, to be able to better compete in the international market awash with huge unwanted inventory.

------- Pivotal Role

The Kharg terminal, which was once the world's largest crude terminal before the Iraq-imposed war in the 1980s, plays a pivotal role in achieving Iran's oil export policy.

Eight large vessels can simultaneously berth at the terminal, and ship-to-ship crude transfer operations were launched in June to accommodate the steadily growing demand for Iranian crude.

In February, three international vessels loaded 4 million barrels of crude for destinations in Europe in what was the first major shipment of Iranian oil to European buyers after the tightening of the UN, US and EU restrictions in 2012. The shipments were ordered by French oil and gas company Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Russia’s Lukoil.

Iran was made known that it wants to boost crude production to 5.8 million barrels per day within five years, including 4.8 million bpd of heavy crude and 1 million barrels of condensate — a type of light, sweet crude extracted from gas fields in the Persian Gulf. Exports are also expected to cross 2.8 million bpd by 2021.

Under the sanctions regime, oil production dropped to around 2.5 million bpd, with exports at slightly above 1 million barrels.