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Three supertankers filling at ABOT. The leftmost ship has just started filling; when full, the red portion of the hull will be below the waterline like the ship on the right.
MESD 823 personnel onboard ABOT, 2009
An aerial view of KAAOT just after sunrise
Iraqi sailors and marines guard KAAOT in its entirety with minimal support.
KAAOT from ground level in Feb, 2007.

Al Başrah Oil Terminal, commonly referred to as ABOT, is a strategically critical Iraqi offshore, deep sea crude oil marine loading terminal that lies approximately 50 km (31 mi) southeast of the Al-Faw Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Along with its sister terminal, the Khawr al ‘Amīyah Oil Terminal (ميناء خور العمية, alt. Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal, KAAOT), the terminals provide the principal point of export for more than eighty percent of Iraq's gross domestic product as of 2009,[1] and all of the oil from the southern Başrah refinery.

Crude oil produced for export from the southern Iraqi oilfields is carried through three 48 in (1.2 m)[2] diameter pipelines to the southern tip of the al-Faw Peninsula and then undersea to the ABOT(29°40′54″N 48°48′33″E / 29.68167°N 48.80917°E / 29.68167; 48.80917Coordinates: 29°40′54″N 48°48′33″E / 29.68167°N 48.80917°E / 29.68167; 48.80917) platform.[3][4] One 48 in (1.2 m)[5] and two 32 in (0.81 m) pipelines supply the KAAOT(29°47′00″N 48°48′25″E / 29.78333°N 48.80694°E / 29.78333; 48.80694 (Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal)) platform.[3][6][7][8]

The ABOT facilities can transfer up to 3 million barrels (480,000 m3) (Mbbl) of oil per day when all four of its supertanker berths operate at maximum capacity and has a maximum draft of 21 m (69 ft).[9] Three single-point mooring systems (SPM) were added in 2012,[10] each with a design rating of 800 thousand barrels (130,000 m3) (kbbl) of oil per day,[11] and two more SPMs are planned to be operational by 2013 to increase total loading capacity to 6.4–6.6 Mbbl (1,020,000–1,050,000 m3) of oil per day.[5]

The KAAOT facility has a shallower depth and its two berths can accommodate Suezmax oil tankers with capacities up to 1 Mbbl (160,000 m3) or 200,000 DWT and has the capacity to transfer about 240 kbbl (38,000 m3) of oil daily.[12]



ABOT was originally named Mīnā' al-Bakr Oil Terminal and was designed and commissioned into service by Brown and Root in 1974 with a design lifetime, with proper maintenance, of 20 years.[8] In 2003, the current name ABOT was adopted. The facility was constructed with four berths capable of handling very large crude carrier type vessels (VLCC) and offloading 300–400 kbbl (48,000–64,000 m3) per day through each of the berths. The ABOT suffered significant damage during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War; however, it remained in service until 1989, when Brown and Root attempted to refurbish it after the conclusion of that war. Work was stopped when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and the facility was inflicted with further damage during the ensuing Gulf War. In addition, the platform was operated under the Oil-for-Food Programme for several years thereafter with minimal maintenance.

The Mīnā' Khawr al ‘Amīyah Oil Terminal (KAAOT) was built in 1958 and had fallen into extreme disrepair and would require wholesale reconstruction to restore full capabilities as of 2007. The shallow draft of its location, however, makes a reconstruction effort of questionable economic value.[12]

Refurbishment Under Coalition ForcesEdit

In 2004, the ABOT platform was refurbished and upgraded under contract W9126G-04-D-0002, an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), cost-plus award fee with an estimated not-to-exceed value of US$800 million. The contract was between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) of Fort Worth, TX and Parsons Iraqi Joint Venture (PIJV), Houston, TX. ABOT's capacity was more than doubled to offload up to 3 Mbbl (480,000 m3) of oil per day. Practical constraints in the upstream refinery and oil fields limit actual delivery below the designed maximum.[9][13]

Despite the work conducted, the dilapidated and fragile nature of the terminal was featured in an NPR story on June 20, 2009 and again on October 4, 2010. Engineers interviewed said that "they didn't even know just how bad the condition of the pipeline is; they didn't dare run it at full pressure for fear it would burst, and they didn't dare shut down the flow to fix it for fear that the weight of the ocean would implode it"; the most recent capacity tests were conducted nearly two decades earlier in 1991.[14][15][16]

Iraq Ministry of Oil Master Plan 2007Edit

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) Master Plan 2007 included the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP) to expand the South Oil Company's export capacity from 1.75 Mbbl (278,000 m3) of oil per day (MMBOPD) to 4.5 Mbbl (720,000 m3) of oil per day by 2014.

Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP), Phase 1Edit

On July 13, 2010 Foster Wheeler AG was awarded the front-end engineering & management contract for Phase 1 of the ICOEEP,[17] Leighton Offshore was then awarded a US$733 million EPC contract with work commencing in November, 2010 for delivery in March, 2012[18] for a scope of work to include:[19]

  • Installation of two parallel, 48 in (1.2 m) outside diameter pipelines running 10 km (6.2 mi) onshore, through an onshore crossing, and then 40 km (25 mi) offshore to link with new single point mooring systems (SPM)
  • A third onshore crossing for future expansion
  • Installation of three SPMs with nameplate ratings of 900 kbbl (140,000 m3) per day along with manifolds and subsea pipelines capable of servicing VLCCs - two operational and one spare
  • Fabrication and installation of a 600 metric tons (660 short tons) subsea valve manifold
  • Dredging to bury the pipelines and to provide adequate depth for VLCCs
  • Construction of onshore metering and manifold facilities at the FAO storage facility

The "first oil ready for start-up" milestone was celebrated on February 12, 2012 with Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in attendance. The milestone marked the addition of 800 kbbl (130,000 m3) barrels per day of export capacity via 130 km (81 mi) of onshore pipelines from the Al-Zubair pumping station to the FAO storage facility where eight new crude oil storage tanks, each with a capacity of 350 kbbl (56,000 m3), were brought online with another eight tanks close to operational; these 16 storage tanks represent 25% of the 64 tanks planned for in the ICOEEP. The crude oil then flows offshore through the new twin 48" pipelines to the new 600 MT subsea valve manifold for distribution to two single point mooring systems.[20][21] Phase 1 completion will increase overall exports by 1.8 MMBOPD when both SPMs and all sixteen storage tanks are operational. In November, 2012 Leighton Offshore transferred operations of the completed ICOEEP installations.[10] On March 7, 2012, the first tanker was berthed and loaded from one of the 900,000 bpd SPMs installed during Phase 1 of the ICOEEP.[2]

Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP), Phase 2Edit

The second phase of the ICOEEP added a central metering and management platform (CMMP), brought three SPMs online, and installed a fourth SPM. The scope of work included:[22][23]

  • Central Metering and Manifold Platform (CMMP)
  • A 3.5 km (2.2 mi), 48 in (1.2 m) diameter pipeline near-shore
  • One additional single-point mooring system
  • Conversion of an existing spare SPM buoy to operational status
  • Replacement of the spare SPM buoy
  • Installation of a pig launcher

The EPC contract for Phase 2's Central Metering and Manifold Platform (CMMP) was awarded to Italy's Saipem in October, 2011 with delivery expected in the fourth quarter of 2013; other Phase 2 facilities include connecting the ABOT platform to the new pipelines via the CMMP.[5][24][25]

Iraq Crude Oil Export Facility Reconstruction Project (COEFRP), aka JICA Sealine ProjectEdit

The Iraq Crude Oil Export Facility Reconstruction Project (COEFRP) was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and includes work to add a third 48 in (1.2 m) diameter pipeline running from shore to the ABOT valve station. New pipelines will also be run from the ABOT valve station to the KAAOT valve station to supply a fifth SPM and the KAAOT loading facilities. In October, 2011, the South Oil Company awarded two contracts worth US$518 million and US$79.85 million to Leighton Offshore for delivery in January, 2013 with a scope of work running in parallel with Phase 1 that includes:[22][26][27][28]

  • A third 75 km (47 mi), 48 in (1.2 m) diameter pipeline connecting onshore facilities to the offshore valve stations
  • Two offshore valve station platforms, one at ABOT and a second at KAAOT
  • One additional single-point mooring system

Strategic roleEdit

ABOT and KAAOT are major players in Iraq's eventual economic stability and therefore are considered one of the top terrorist targets in the world due to their strategic importance.[7] The terminals maintain strict security and are guarded by both the Iraqi Navy and Marines and U.S. Forces including personnel from the U.S. Navy's Maritime Expeditionary Security Force, which falls under the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command.

While under US control, the US units enforcing the 3 km (1.9 mi; 1.6 nmi) warning and 2 km (1.2 mi; 1.1 nmi) exclusion zones around ABOT and KAAOT including Maritime interdiction operations were conducted primarily by Patrol Forces Southwest Asia a component of the U.S. Coast Guard comprising Island class cutters and US Navy Patrol craft coastal. MESD 823 as of 2009 served on board ABOT to provide security and security training to Iraqi Sailors and Marines.

On April 30, 2009 the Iraqi Navy assumed control of the Khawr al ‘Amīyah Oil Terminal[29] and on July 26, 2011 they assumed control of ABOT as well.[30][31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Montgomery, Darryl L. (2009-10-10). "U.S. Sailors, Coast Guard Protect Iraq's Economy". American Forces Press Service. U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Leighton Delivers First Oil In Iraq" (PDF). The Wave. Leighton Offshore (1). March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Global Mosaic Pseudocolor, JPL WMS Server". OnEarth. NASA. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2012. is the tiled version of the global 15m Landsat 7 derived WMS Global Mosaic, visual. This is the visual style, which uses color derived from the red green and blue spectral and brightness from the panchromatic band.
  4. ^ "Mina Al-Bakr". Port Directory. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "The Sealine Project – Iraq". LYE Asia Pacific. 2012-01-02. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  6. ^ "Khor Al Amaya". Port Directory. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Cheng, Paul Y.; Singhal, Mansi; Bharat, Saurabh; Khoo, Cheng; Haskins, Lucy (January 18, 2008). "Global Oil Choke Points" (PDF). Global Equity Research, Energy & Power, Integrate Oil Sector View. Lehman Brothers. pp. 28–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project". Unaoil. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012. The Crude Export Facility of Southern Iraq currently exports approximately 1.8 MMBOPD from the KAAOT and ABOT offshore terminals. The oil is transported from onshore facilities to the offshore terminals through two 48 inch export pipelines for ABOT and one 42 inch and two 32 inch pipelines for KAAOT. The KAAOT terminal has previously suffered damage and so the majority of the oil is exported through the ABOT terminal. The current export facilities and pipelines were built in the 1960s and 1970s and designed for a 20 year life, with the proper maintenance.
  9. ^ a b Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (2006-04-26). "Al-Basrah Oil Terminal, Basrah, Iraq" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  10. ^ a b "Leighton Offshore Successfully Completes Iraq Operations and Maintenance Project". Leighton Offshore. 2012-11-08. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  11. ^ "Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Quarterly Report to the United States Congress, October 30, 2012" (PDF). Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction: 82. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 17, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Christopher R. Hill (2009-11-10). "Southern Iraq Oil and Gas Situational Assessment, Part 3: Help from the USG and Oil Companies Still Needed". Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  13. ^ "[Iraq] Oilfields and Facilities". University of Texas library. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  14. ^ Aging Oil Terminal Vital To Iraq's Economy : NPR
  15. ^ Sutherland, JJ (2010-10-04). "Iraq Raises Oil Reserves Estimates 25 Percent". The two-way, NPR's News Blog. National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  16. ^ Al-Maliky, Tammam (May 6, 2011). "Iraq bullish on Fao storage, south export expansion". Iraq Energy News. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  17. ^ FWNAC (February 17, 2012). "Foster Wheeler Contract Announcements February 14, 2012 through January 10, 2005" (PDF). Foster Wheeler AG. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  18. ^ "Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project Phase 1" (PDF). Leighton Offshore Current Projects. Leighton Offshore. September 26, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Smith, Christopher E. (2010-10-25). "Iraq's SOC lets EPC contract to Leighton". Oil & Gas Journal. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  20. ^ "Prime Minister opens first phase of the escalation of energy export". South Oil Company. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  21. ^ "Foster Wheeler-Managed Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project Achieves "First Oil Ready for Start-Up" Milestone" (Press release). BusinessWire. February 12, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  22. ^ a b Smith, Christopher E. (2011-10-14). "Iraq's SOC lets contract for Sea Line project". Oil & Gas Journal. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  23. ^ "Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOOEP) - Phase 1 - Variation Order 02". BEKK Solutions. 2012-11-28. Archived from the original on 2013-08-11. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  24. ^ "Saipem Wins Contract for Basra Oil Export Expansion Project". iraq-business news. October 19, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  25. ^ "ICOEEP Overview Map". Foster-Wheeler Energy, Ltd. ICOEEP Engineering. BEKK Solutions. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  26. ^ "Iraq Crude Oil Export Facility Reconstruction Project" (PDF). Leighton Offshore. November 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  27. ^ Oday al Auoraishi; Gary Vogler. "Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion heightens country's security". Oil & Gas Journal. PennWell Corporation. 110: 2012-05–07. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  28. ^ "Leighton Chooses Lamprell for Iraq Crude Oil Export Facility Reconstruction". Subsea World News. 2012-02-14. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  29. ^ Simmons, D. Keith (2009-04-30). "Iraq Assumes Control of Oil Terminal from Coalition Forces". web site. US Navy. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  30. ^ Slovensky, Andrew (July 26, 2011). "A folded U.S. flag". United States Forces - Iraq. Retrieved February 9, 2012. UMM QASR, Iraq—A U.S. sailor salutes Iraqi Maj. Gen. Ali Hussein Al-Rubaye, head of the Iraqi Navy, after handing him a folded U.S. flag during a ceremony held aboard the Al Basrah Oil Terminal, July 26. (Photo by Pvt. Andrew Slovensky) 110726-A-JX739-139
  31. ^ Slovensky, Andrew (July 26, 2011). "Al Basrah Oil Terminal". United States Forces - Iraq. Retrieved February 9, 2012. UMM QASR, Iraq—(Front right) Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command deputy commander, and (front left) Iraqi Maj. Gen. Ali Hussein Al-Rubaye, head of the Iraqi Navy, arrive aboard the Al Basrah Oil Terminal for a ceremony turning over responsibility of the security for the platform to the Iraqi Navy, July 26. (Photo by Pvt. Andrew Slovensky)