Iraq seeks investors for Anbar refinery project
Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
Iraq’s Ministry of Oil (MoO) has invited investors to submit proposals for the construction of a 70,000 bpd capacity refinery in Anbar Province near the city of Haditha. The deadline has been set for June 14 for the facility to be constructed on either a build-own-operate (BOO) or build-own-transfer (BOT) basis.

Locating a refinery in Anbar will enable the supply of fuel to much of the remote western region.

NewsBase Research (NBR) data shows that while Iraq had a nameplate refining capacity of 900,000 bpd in 2016, the average refinery utilisation rate was around 50%, producing 448,900 bpd that year.

Iraq current produces around 4.3 million bpd of crude oil. Decades of war, sanctions, and political and economic upheaval have left a large part of Iraq’s downstream industry in need of significant investment. The Doura and Shuaiba refineries – near Baghdad and Basra respectively – remain operational, but Iraq is heavily reliant on product imports.

The MoO said recently that the country was seeking to raise its refining capacity to 1.5 million bpd by 2021. Of that, 500,000 bpd would be exported. To that end, Baghdad has announced plans to build and refurbish several refineries and gas-processing plants with the intent of reducing oil product imports by 25%, without a specific deadline. There is also a push to attract around US$4 billion in funding for petrochemical projects.

In January, Iraq announced that it would build a 300,000 bpd oil refinery at Al-Fao, backed by two Chinese companies. Another refinery with a 150,000 bpd capacity is planned for Nasiriya, and a 100,000 bpd facility is slated for Qayara near Mosul in the north-west.

Work to rebuild the Baiji refinery complex in north-central Iraq began last year. The complex, once capable of processing up to 300,000 bpd, was overrun by Islamic State fighters in 2014.

It is reported to have suffered extensive damage both during the militant occupation and during the fight to retake it. Baiji is around 110 km southwest of the Kirkuk oilfields. Once current repairs are completed, the refinery is anticipated to have a capacity of 70,000 bpd.

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