Kharg Oil Terminal Reports Heavy Tanker Traffic

Kharg Oil Terminal Reports Heavy Tanker Traffic
Kharg Oil Terminal Reports Heavy Tanker Traffic

The star of Iran's Kharg Oil Terminal is rising as a growing number of international vessels set sail for the Persian Gulf port to carry crude during the second quarter of the current Iranian fiscal year that started in March.

"A total of 925 oil tankers berthed in Kharg terminal during the first four months of the year," Mohammad-Mehdi Bonjari, managing director of Bushehr Province Department of Ports and Maritime Organization was quoted as saying by IRNA on Sunday.

The period roughly corresponds to the second quarter of 2016.

The ships included 295 with a storage capacity of above 1,000 tons, of which 240 were supertankers that berthed at Kharg for "the first time" during the said period.

"Since the lifting of sanctions [in January], oil tankers under the flags of France, Spain, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy and South Korea, among others, have docked at the key oil port," the official said.

Many customers of Iran's oil were barred from purchasing its crude after international economic restrictions were ramped up against Tehran in 2011 due to the dispute over its nuclear program.

Under the punitive sanctions, production was significantly curtailed and exports fell to just above 1 million barrels per day as some Iranian and foreign tankers were reportedly forced to reflag to continue moving Iranian crude.

But foreign tankers poured into the Persian Gulf shortly after the scaling back of nuclear-related embargo in mid-January. In the first major oil transaction with international buyers, three foreign vessels loaded 4 million barrels of Iranian crude to refineries in Europe as per the order of French oil and gas company Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Russia’s Lukoil.

------- Huge Storage Capacity

"Kharg is the most important Iranian terminal and the biggest volume of oil is exported from this strategic port," Bonjari added. According to official reports, more than 90% of Iran’s crude is shipped from Kharg Island which has a crude storage capacity of about 28 million barrels.

The official said more than 35 million tons of crude oil and its byproducts were loaded and offloaded at Kharg in the four-month period, showing a 60% rise compared to the same period last year.

Kharg terminal's eastern platform, known as Pier T, can accommodate eight vessels while four tankers can simultaneously dock at the western platform.

Once the world’s largest offshore crude oil terminal and the main marine terminal for Iranian oil, Kharg Island’s facilities were decommissioned during the Iraq-imposed war (198o-88) following heavy bombardments by the enemy forces.