Dec 5 2012
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, December 5, 2012
Iraq’s refining capacity will surge to 750,000 barrels a day from the current 600,000, said Oil Ministry Undersecretary Ahmad al-Shamaa.
But the surge in refining output will still fall short of meeting the country’s domestic needs. Iraq currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars on fuel imports from neighboring states, particularly Iran.
Some of Iraq’s major refineries churn out much less than their capacity due to shortages of crude.
Iraq’s oil production is the highest in 30 years but it lacks the means to transport the crude to some of its refineries lying far away from producing oil fields.
Shamaa said his ministry was constructing new pipeline network and installing new pumping stations to increase the flow of crude oil to the refineries.
In a few years, Iraq will need to refine more than 1.5 million barrels of oil a day to meet its domestic needs for fuel. However, exports will still surge as more giant fields, currently developed by foreign majors, will start producing.
Shamaa said there were plans to build four more refineries in Iraq to propel refining capacity to 1.5 million barrels a day in four years.
“I hope then we will be able to meet the country’s needs and have surplus for export,” he said.