Iraq’s State Company for Oil Projects (Scop), a subsidiary of the Oil Ministry, is planning a major expansion of its crude storage facilities across the country.

Five new facilities are planned, taking Iraq’s total storage capacity to more than 15 million cubic metres, according to Ali Awash, Scop’s major projects division manager.

The lack of storage is one of the most pressing issues for the country’s oil industry. There is currently only enough storage capacity to cover three or four days’ worth of production from the southern oil fields in case of disruption to the southern export facilities.

Iraq’s current storage capacity is 5.9 million cubic metres, distributed across 10 sites, Awash told delegates at the MEED Iraq Energy Projects conference in Dubai on 27 February.

Awash did not set out a timeframe for when the facilities are expected to be completed.

Eight tanks are currently operational at Al-Fao, Iraq’s most important storage facility, which serves as a staging post for oil before it can be exported through the Gulf. Another 8 tanks have yet to be rehabilitated and eight more are planned, taking total capacity to 1.4 million cubic metres.

In the meantime, Scop has developed an interim solution to bypass the Al-Fao facility by pumping oil directly to the export terminals through a new 48-inch pipeline from the Zubair-1 and 2 tank farms and a 48-inch, 105-kilometre-long pipeline to the single point moorings in the Gulf. At Zubair-2, there are four tanks in operation and another 12 tanks under construction.

In mid-January, MEED revealed that Scop was planning to change the location of the Bin Umar storage facility, after bids were submitted in October along with proposals for another facility at Nasiriyah. Commercial bids for the construction of 22 new tanks with a capacity of 1.7 million cubic metres remain unopened.

Iraq existing oil storage facilities
Location Number of tanks Tank capacity (cubic metres) Total capacity (cubic metres)
Zubair-1 10 34,000 340,000
Zubair-1 10 23,000 230,000
Zubair-2 16 58,000 928,000
Tuba 12 66,000 792,000
PS-1 12 82,000 984,000
Al-Fao 16 58,000 928,000
K-1 16 36,000 576,000
IT-1 6 36,000 216,000
IT-1A 6 58,000 348,000
K3 13 23,000 299,000
Buzurgan 5 28,000 140,000
Buzurgan 4 30,000 120,000
Total     5,901,000
Source: Scop
Iraq storage facility projects
Location Number of tanks Tank capacity (cubic metres) Total capacity (cubic metres)
Bin Umar 22 75,000 1,650,000
Nasiriyah 7 75,000 525,000
Al-Fao 8 58,000 464,000
Tuba 8 66,000 528,000
PS-1A 28 130,000 3,640,000
PS-5A 18 130,000 2,340,000
Total     9,147,000
Existing     5,901,000
Grand total     15,048,000
Source: Scop