Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq is considering options to export crude from its southern terminals should Iran block the Strait of Hormuz, transit point for about two-thirds of its production, Planning Minister Ali Youssef Al-Shukri said.
Iraq is considering three alternative routes, including from the east through Syria and Lebanon, and from the north through the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean, he said today in an interview in Baghdad.
“The Iraqi government is worried about the issue of closing the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. The Cabinet entrusted the ministers of planning and trade and other government institutions to draft a study for alternatives to the southern export route, he said.
Iraq will lose the capacity to export 1.7 million barrels of crude a day if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said on Feb. 8. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to international sanctions on its energy industry.
Iraq has awarded 15 licenses for drilling rights to foreign companies since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Arab nation is the third-largest oil producer in OPEC, pumping 2.75 million barrels a day in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
--Editors: Randall Hackley, Rob Verdonck
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