Hyundai building $6.5 billion refinery in Iraq’s Karbala

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By Shaymaa Adel

Azzaman, February 23, 2014

South Korea’s Hyundai is to start building a giant refinery in the southern religious city of Karbala capable of refining 140,000 barrels per day, the Oil Ministry said.

The ministry’s spokesperson Isam Jihad said representatives from Hyundai and Iraqi authorities will lay down the foundation stone for the $6.5 billion refinery on Saturday and the Korean firm will start construction immediately afterwards.

“The Ministry (of Oil) and Hyundai will sign the contract for the construction of the refinery and lay down the foundation stone on Saturday,” Jihad said.

He said: “The refinery which Hyundai at the head of a consortium South Korean firm will implementing is going to cost $6.5 billion.”

“The refinery is one of the largest and most important oil industrial project in Iraq’s history,” according to Jihad.

Domestic demand is rising in Iraq while refining capacity has remained stable, forcing the country to rely on costly fuel imports mainly from Iran.

The new refinery is part of the government’s plan to expand downstream oil projects and increase refining capacity to meet domestic demand.

The refinery in Karbala is one of four such projects which on completion are expected to add around 740,000 barrels per day to Iraq’s refining capacity, which is currently estimated at around 750,000 barrels.