* To help exports from Maysan
* Chinese firm close to winning contract to build
* Expected to operate from 2014 to handle increased output
* New, larger pipeline to replace current one from Ammara
BAGHDAD, Jan 22 Iraq plans a pipeline to link
southern oilfields in Maysan province to major export storage
depots and China Petroleum Pipeline (CPP) is close to winning
the $650 million contract, a senior Iraqi oil official said on
"This project will expand oil export capacity from producing
oilfields of Maysan and Halfaya, and other small fields. It will
definitely remove all exports constrictions," the chief of
state-run Maysan Oil Co., Ali Maarij, told Reuters.
The line will carry oil produced from these fields to al-Fao
storage depots and then to offshore terminals in the Gulf, he
He added that CPP was close to winning an engineering and
construction contract to build the 300 km (186 miles) 42-inch
China's CNPC, France's Total and Malaysian state
company Petronas are developing the Halfaya oilfields, and the
2.5-billion-barrel Maysan complex is run by China's CNOOC
and state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
Maarij said current production from oilfields developed by
foreign firms and other small fields has reached around 230,000
barrels per day (bpd).
The export pipeline is scheduled to be operational at the
start of 2014 to start handling a planned increase of output to
reach around 400,000 bpd, Maarij said.
It will replace an existing outdated 28-inch pipeline
currently shipping crude from the southern fields in Ammara to
crude storages near the city of Basra.
Export infrastructure, rather than production, is the main
hurdle to the OPEC member country keeping exports steady,
forcing Iraq to review its final production target of 12 million
(Reporting by Aref Mohammed; writing by Ahmed Rasheed; editing
by Jason Neely)