Iraq’s State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP) has approached international engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms for a deal to build crude oil tanks at the planned Nassiriya and Bin Umr storage depots in the south of the country.

In the first phase of construction, SCOP plans to build 24 new storage tanks of various sizes across the two storage depots, a source close to the project tells MEED.

SCOP completed the designs at the end of November last year. The facilities will include 10 heavy crude oil tanks and two tanks for regular and light crudes. With a diameter of 91 metres and height of 12m, each oil tank will contain some 6,000 cubic metres of oil or about 370,000 barrels. The crude oil tanks will be external floating roof tanks, while the diesel and water tanks will be cone roof tanks.

The Nassiriya depot will contain five heavy oil tanks and two regular or light oil tanks. Future expansion of the depot would add another five tanks to the facility. When complete, the Nassiriya facility will be able to hold some 5 million barrels of oil, while Bin Umr will store 7 million barrels.

Contractors in Iraq say the deal could be worth as much as $120m for the construction of the tanks, and up to $250m if the scope includes the depot’s civil works and the associated pipelines.

Iraq plans to expand its oil storage capacity to 60 million barrels, from the current 6.2 million barrels, with the expansion of its five existing facilities and the construction of five new depots by 2015. Three of these are located in the south of the country, while the K-3 and IT1-A storage depots are in the north of Iraq. When complete, the facilities will give Iraq the ability to cope with possible outages at its southern export facilities. There are currently only enough tanks to store three to four days’ worth of production.