BAGHDAD, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Iraqi and Japanese companies are in talks to expand oil export capacity from southern Iraqi ports, though there was no word on pending northern deliveries.
Iraq's South Oil Co. and the Japan International Cooperation Agency are in talks on a contract to expand oil exports from around 2.2 million barrels per day to about 5.8 million bpd, the Platts news service reports.
The project includes building a 45-mile oil pipeline to terminals in the Persian Gulf. The closing day for the bid is Friday and contracts should be announced by June, Platts added.
The Friday deadline, however, is in doubt because Japanese investors are at odds over the route for the pipeline.
Oil ministry officials told Platts on condition of anonymity that there were no new exports from oil fields in the Kurdish provinces of Iraq.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry in a January deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government paved the way for the resumption of oil exports starting in February.
The agreement called for about half of the petroleum products produced in the Kurdish provinces to be used for domestic demand with the rest exported through Turkish ports on the Mediterranean Sea.
Oil flowed for just four months after it started in June 2009 because of legal disputes between the Kurdish government and Baghdad.
Platts added that it wasn't clear why exports didn't resume nor was there any indication when they would begin.