Kharg Oil Terminal

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The Kharg oil terminal, located on Kharg Island at the head of the Persian Gulf about 25 kilometers (km) off the coast of Iran and 483 km north of the Strait of Hormuz, is the principal sea terminal for Iranian oil,[1] with the head of the terminal's eastern platform, Seyed Ibrahim Hosseini, saying in late 2006 that over 90 percent of Iran's crude oil exports came through the Kharg terminal.[2] In 2009, Iran exported and swapped 950 million barrels of crude oil via the Kharg terminal.[3], and in addition , about 200,000 barrels of crude was refined at Kharg for export as products. As of 2011, the facilities at Kharg were managed by the Iranian National Oil Company.[4]

It has loading facilities for oil tankers, a large oil refinery, and military bases.[5] The island has two port installations; the eastern platform is situated 1,100 meters from the island's coast and is about 1,840 meters long and 40 meters wide, while the western platform is located 1,455 meters from the island's coast and allows three vessels, weighing between 200,000 and 500,000 tons, to berth.[2]

Crude oil is transferred from oil fields in Gachsaran and Ahvaz into the oil tanks of the terminal, from where it is then pumped into oil tankers.[6]

History and development

Construction of oil installations on Kharg Island began in 1956; within 20 years, Kharg had three large oil terminals - Kharg, Sea Island, and Darius - and by the mid 1970s it had a major gas terminal, called Khemco. In 1975, the Kharg terminal could accomodate 10 tankers of up to 200,000 dead weight tonnes (DWT) each; Sea Island could serve up to three vessels of between 200,000 and 500,000 DWT; while Darius could handle tankers up to 160,000 DWT.[7]

Once the world's largest offshore crude oil terminal, Kharg Island facilities served as an important base for the Imperial Iranian Navy prior to Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution and to the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Naval Corps (IRGNC) after 1979. Kharg Island had been the base of Iran's hovercraft fleet and the launching pad for Iran's occupation of the Abu Musa and Tunbs Islands, near the Strait of Hormuz, in the late 1970s.[1]

The oil terminal was the target of heavy bombing by the Iraqi air force during the Iran-Iraq War, especially between 1982 and 1986, during which most of the terminal's facilities were destroyed. The island was situated in the middle of Darius oil field, which was also destroyed in the bombing. Nevertheless, Kharg continued to be an important base for the IRGNC operations during the war.[1] After the ceasefire in 1988, Iran began rehabilitating its damaged oil export facilities, concentrating especially on Kharg.[8]

Reconstruction proceeded with difficulty, however; before the war, Kharg's offloading capacity was about 14 million barrels per day (bpd) while in 1993 after partial reconstruction, that capacity was 2 million bpd. In 2007, offloading capacity had reached 5 million bpd, with a storage capacity of about 16 million barrels of oil.[7]

Iran had begun by mid-2006 a $218 million expansion program to raise the terminal’s storage capacity to 22 million barrels, with the immediate aim to increase storage capacity to 10-15 days worth of exports, and in the longer term to 30-35 million barrels.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Kharg Island", Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Iran exports over 90 percent of its crude oil via Kharg Island" Payvand News, 4 November 2006.
  3. "Photos: Oil Facilities in Kharg Island, Persian Gulf" Payvand News, 21 October 2011.
  4. "KHÂRG ISLAND" The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies, Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  5. "Kharg Island" Leth Agencies, Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  6. "We are in economic war conditions: oil minister", 7 January 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "The A to Z of the Petroleum Industry" by M. S. Vassiliou. Scarecrow Press, 2009.
  8. "Iran - Industry" Encyclopedia of the Nations, Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  9. "Oil" Petropars, Retrieved 25 January 2012.