* Shell may build dock in Iraqi waterway
* Speed up delivery of oilfield equipment
By Aref Mohammed
BASRA, Iraq, Jan 2 Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L)
may build its own dock in Iraq's Shatt al-Arab waterway to speed
up delivery of heavy equipment to the supergiant Majnoon
oilfield which the oil major is developing with a Malaysian
The head of the General Company of Iraqi Ports, Salah
Kudhair, told Reuters the company had given initial approval to
a proposal by Shell to build a 25 metre quay to ship equipment
from the Umm Qasr sea port to Majnoon through the waterway.
That would be faster, safer and much easier than
transporting the materials by truck.
"Shell asked to build its own dock on the Shatt al-Arab at
their own expense and we gave them an initial approval," Kudhair
said in an interview in the oil hub city of Basra.
Shell has started conducting a survey and suggested a joint
management committee should run the dock.
The Shatt al-Arab, a waterway formed by the confluence of
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, empties into the Gulf below
Iraq's port city of Basra and is Iraq's only shipping outlet.
Oil industry sources confirmed the proposal had been
"Shell is looking at a number of potential options to
mobilize equipment later in the year, and this is an initial
survey to assess the feasibility of using Shatt al-Arab," one
source said, asking not to be identified.
Shell, Europe's largest oil company, and Malaysia's Petronas
[PETR.UL] won a contract in 2009 to develop Majnoon, one of the
world's biggest oilfields.
The contract was one of a series awarded by Iraq to foreign
firms that could one day more than quadruple its oil output
capacity to 12 million barrels per day, rivalling oil power
Neglect, under-investment, combined with red tape,
corruption and bureaucracy have left Umm Qasr port, near Basra,
ill-equipped to deal with the demands of oil majors trying to
pour tonnes of equipment into Iraq.
A second industry source said Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), which is
developing Iraq's West Qurna Phase One oilfield, another
supergiant, was watching Shell's proposal for a dock in the
Shatt al-Arab closely.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Michael
Christie and Erica Billingham)