* Southern exports jump to 2.11 mbpd so far in April
* New SPM platform exports four cargoes this month
* Iraq to have world's biggest growth in oil export capacity
By Alex Lawler
LONDON, April 16 Iraq's oil exports from its
southern ports have jumped by 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) in
April, according to shipping data tracked by Reuters, a sign
shipments are heading for another post-war record.
Exports from the Basra oil terminal, Khor al-Amaya, and a
new Gulf outlet have averaged 2.11 million bpd in the first 16
days of April, the data showed. Iraq said its southern exports
averaged 1.92 million bpd last month.
Iraq is expected to provide the world's largest expansion in
oil export capacity in 2012 as new outlets open. Its supply to
the world market had been held back for years by a lack of port
capacity after decades of war and sanctions.
Oil began loading from a new floating single-point mooring
(SPM) platform in the Gulf - the first of several - on March 8.
So far in April, the facility has exported four 2 million-barrel
shipments, more than in all of March.
The extra port capacity is allowing Iraq to sell more of its
increasing oil output. Oil companies such as BP and ENI
have been working to boost production in Iraq, which
holds the third-largest reserves in the Middle East.
Until the new Gulf outlet came into operation, industry
sources said companies were having to keep a lid on output at
the southern oilfields, because shipments were at the limit of
Iraq exports the bulk of its crude from southern ports.
Shipments of crude by pipeline from the Kirkuk field in northern
Iraq to Ceyhan in Turkey usually amount to 400,000 bpd and are
expected to remain stable around that level.
If shipments from the south are sustained at around 2.10
million bpd for the rest of April, Iraq will be on course to
ship about 2.5 million bpd.
That would exceed April's total of 2.32 million bpd, which
Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) said was the
country's highest since 2003, the year of the U.S.-led invasion.
Shipments from the north are sometimes disrupted by
technical problems and sabotage, although industry sources say
this rarely cuts tanker shipments significantly because vessels
are able to keep loading using oil stored at the Turkish port.
Kurdish militants on April 5 claimed responsibility for
blasts on a Turkish oil pipeline that temporarily cut off the
flow of oil from Kirkuk.
(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by Jane Baird)