Iraq has inaugurated its second floating crude oil export facility in the Gulf, which will enable it to expand export capacity from the south of the country.

Vessels can now load crude oil from two offshore single-point moorings (SPMs), built by Australia’s Leighton Offshore, at the same time. The first 900,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) SPM was opened after brief delays in February 2012.

The SPMs add to the 1.8 million b/d export capacity from the Basra Oil Terminal. However, pumping and storage capacity at the onshore Al-Fao storage facility, which supplies oil to the SPMs, limits capacity. When all four SPMs are in place by 2015, Iraq’s southern oil export capacity will rise to 4.5 million b/d.

Four new 240,000-barrel crude oil storage tanks have also been opened at the Zubair oil depot, according to the Oil Ministry, which plans to build a total of 12 new tanks.