Iraq looking for private sector investment in refineries


Iraq deputy oil minister Ahmed al-Shamma has said he would like to see the private sector increase its role in refining activities within the country

Speaking at the Iraq Refinery 2012 conference in London, UK, Shamma said, "[Iraq] is looking to gradually privatise its oil refineries and to attract investment in new plants around the country to meet the fast rising domestic demand for fuel."

Aside from boosting its oil production, the country has pushed ahead with a downstream expansion in an attempt to end costly fuel imports, Shamma noted.

"Through improvements at existing refineries, Iraq is aiming to increase its capacity to 610,000 bpd by the end of 2012 from 567,000 bpd in 2011," he said.

Iraq has plans in place to build modern and complex refineries at Kerbala, Missan and Kirkuk, each with a capacity of about 150,000 bpd, and a facility in Nassiriya with a capacity of 300,000 bpd.

With a combined refining capacity of 750,000 bpd targeted from the four proposed plants in 2013, the country used the event in London to promote private investment in these refineries.

The deputy oil minister said some of the products from the Nassiriya refinery would be available for export and infrastructure was being put in place in southern Iraq to facilitate this.

A few years ago, the Iraqi Parliament approved a law allowing private investment in oil refineries and amended the law that gave investors a 5 per cent discount on crude oil in addition to other incentives and a guarantee to buy the products at international prices, while allowing investors to export surpluses.

"We have provided all the facilities to make it easy for investors," Shamma emphasised. "There are four jetties being built for jet fuel, fuel oil, gasoline and gasoil.

"There's a hurry to get [these] refineries built," he added. 

Domestic demand for fuel has been rising rapidly in Iraq as it has in other major regional oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia.

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