Iraq breaks ground on Karbala refinery

Iraq has started construction on a long-planned refinery in southern Karbala Province, 100 km south of Baghdad (OGJ Online, Aug. 1, 2011).

In a recent groundbreaking ceremony, Iraq’s Prime Minister Noori Al-Maliki laid the first cornerstone for the refinery, which is being built by a four-company consortium of South Korean companies led by Hyundai Engineering & Construction (OGJ Online, Jan. 9, 2014), according to a Feb. 25 release from the Iraqi Ministry of Oil.

Delayed construction on the $6.04 billion refinery resulted from political circumstances facing Iraq, particularly Baath regime policies of sabotage, Al-Maliki said during the ceremony.

The planned 140,000-b/d Karbala refinery, which will contain more than 20 processing units to produce liquefied gas, gasoline, gas oil, fuel oil, jet fuel, and asphalt meeting international standards equivalent to European production, will serve growing domestic Iraqi demand, Iraq’s Minister of Oil Abdulkareem Liaybi said.

The refinery’s production capacity of about 104,000 b/d, combined with the high-quality specifications of its product output, means that a single year’s production can cover the cost of the entire project, ministry spokesman Assim Jihad said.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil also plans to complete other projects designed to transition the country to a net exporter from a net importer of oil products, according to Jihad, including the possibility of investing in refineries outside of Iraq.

The Karbala project is part of Iraq’s longer-term plan to construct four refineries in an effort to add 750,000 b/d of refining capacity. The additional planned projects include a 300,000-b/d Nassiriya refinery as well as two additional refineries in Maysan and Kirkuk, each with a capacity of 150,000 b/d (OGJ Online, June 4, 2013).

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