Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East

Iraq starts production trials at its long-awaited Karbala oil refinery


Iraq has started trial operations at its newly developed Karbala oil refinery south of the capital Baghdad, industry sources said.

According to the trading sources, refinery officials have started roping in regional traders to sign off-take agreements as the country did not have sufficient storage facilities to store refined product domestical­ly.

Earlier this year, the country’s oil minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar announced that after several delays, production at the country’s long-awaited refinery is likely to begin before 2022 end.

The Karbala refinery project, for which constructi­on started in February 2014, will have a production capacity of 140,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), the minister has said.

The planned 140,000 bpd refinery will produce liquefied gas, gasoline, gas oil, fuel oil, jet fuel, and asphalt meeting internatio­nal standards equivalent to European production to help meet the growing domestic demand.

The Karbala project is part of Iraq’s longer-term plan to construct four new refineries in an effort to add 750,000 bpd of refining capacity. The other three new refineries are to be at Nassiriya, Maysan, and Kirkuk.

According to industry reports, the Karbala refinery will use state-of-the-art refining processes and automated control to maximise the production of liquefied gas, petrol, gas oil, fuel oil, jet fuel and asphalt. The products from the refinery will meet the latest internatio­nal standards, serving growing domestic demand for oil in Iraq and helping the country to reduce import of refined fuels.

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