Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT)

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The al-Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT), formerly known as Mina al-Bakr, was built in 1975 by the Iraq National Oil Company. It lies some 50 kilometres off the Iraqi coast.[1]


As of mid-2011 ABOT had an effective export capacity of about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, handling about 80 percent of Iraq's exports.[2]

However in September 2010 Iraq’s cabinet approved a $733 million deal to build a new oil export terminal, with a capacity of 1.8 million bpd, at the site.[3] Over 2012 two single-point mooring systems came on stream, each with a capacity of 900,000 bpd. Two further systems were due to come on stream in 2013, bringing total export capacity out of the south to 4.5 million bpd.[4]

Impact of conflict

The terminal's infrastructure has been badly damaged by years of war and instability.[5] Major expansion work was stalled by the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980. The terminal was heavily damaged in the fighting and exports did not resume until the war ended in 1988-9.[6]

The Basra terminal suffered further serious damage during the second Gulf War in January 1991 and exports were halted completely. Iraq managed to start repairs at ABOT in the 1990s, but it was only possible to export around 400,000 bpd through the terminal. By 2003 its capacity reached some 1.3 million bpd.[7] During the US-led invasion the terminal was captured by US Navy Seals in a night-time amphibious attack in the war of 2003.[8]


  1. "Al Basrah Oil Terminal, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, 26 April 2007.
  2. "Iraqi Oil Industry, IAS Group, March 2011.
  3. "$733m Contract Awarded for Basra Oil Terminal", Iraq Business News, 28 September 2010.
  4. Will Iraq be the next oil superpower?”. Petroleum Economist, 12 December 2012.
  5. "Aging Oil Terminal Vital To Iraq's Economy", NPR, 20 June 2009
  6. "Iraq’s Oil Export Outlets, Middle East Economic Survey, 30 November 2009.
  7. "Iraq’s Oil Export Outlets, Middle East Economic Survey, 30 November 2009.
  8. "Task Forces Bolster OIF, OEF Maritime Security, WhisprWave, 16 February 2006.