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New export facility loads first oil

Iraq's new single point mooring filled its first tanker Thursday, kicking off a new phase of record exports and easing bottlenecks in the oil sector.
Tugboats position a single point mooring (SPM) buoy in the Basra Gulf in January 2012 as Iraq expands its export capacity. (ALI ABU IRAQ/Iraq Oil Report)

The tanker ship Maersk Hirado had been in the Gulf more than a week on Thursday at 3 p.m. when it began loading oil from Iraq's first new export facility to open in decades.

A half hour later pumping stopped, recalling the fears of the past months when the SPM launch was delayed due to technical issues and ongoing testing.

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