Q&A: Engineer Farhan Muhssin al-Fartousi, head of the General Company for Ports of Iraq

The director general of Iraq's state-run ports company discusses ongoing expansions and the resumption of Qayarah crude exports from Khor al-Zubair.
Farhan Muhssin al-Fartousi, director general of the Iraqi Ports Company. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - The Grand Fao port project in southern Iraq is advancing ahead of schedule, according to Farhan Muhssin al-Fartousi, the director general of the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI).

In an interview at his office in Basra, Fartousi said the first phase of the expansion is more than half way complete and will be operational by the end 2025, when it will have 10 berths in operation. Grand Fao is designed to be a major hub for commerce, including six berths for oil products and three for crude oil.

Meanwhile, the Khor al-Zubair port is preparing to receive crude oil from the Qayarah heavy oil field, which recently resumed production at a rate of 33,000 bpd. State marketer SOMO has already secured a buyer for 1 million barrels.

Fartousi said crude would be delivered by tanker trucks to a receiving station at Khor al-Zubair and loaded from three piers.

Iraq’s main Basra oil export infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade but work is running behind schedule and restricting Iraq’s ability to boost crude oil exports safely beyond a current capacity of 3.25 million barrels per day (bpd).

Fartousi also discussed a recent dispute with the state-run Basra Oil Company (BOC) over which state entities have primary authority over the management of exports.

A full transcript of the interview is available below for subscribers.

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