Cost for new Iraq refineries seen at $20 bln

Filed on June 26, 2010

BAGHDAD - The estimated cost of building four new refineries in Iraq to add some 740,000 barrels per day of refining capacity is more than $20 billion, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al Shahristani said on Saturday.

Shahristani gave the estimate to reporters at a conference in Baghdad with oil company executives at which Iraq’s Oil Ministry laid out its plans for the new refineries.

He said the ministry would have a clearer idea about the eventual cost of the four new refineries after receiving design and feasibility studies.

The conference is the first step before inviting companies to tender for the refineries.

Iraq has eight oil refineries with a capacity of 659,000 bpd. It produces about 453,000 bpd of refined products and uses 589,000 bpd, according to the OPEC website, although Shahristani said last year that Iraq had attained self-sufficiency in refined products.

Iraq plans to boost its refining capacity to 1.5 million bpd in the next five years by building the four new refineries and overhauling existing ones.

It wants to build one of the new refineries in Nassiriya, southern Iraq, with a capacity of 300,000 bpd, a second one in the northern oil city of Kirkuk with a capacity of 150,000 bpd, a third at Maysan in the south, with 150,000 bpd in capacity, and the fourth in Kerbala with 140,000 bpd of capacity.

Years of war, sanctions and underinvestment have ravaged Iraq’s ability to produce enough fuels such as gasoline and diesel to meet growing domestic requirements, forcing it to buy imported fuel to plug the gap.

Baghdad has signed a series of deals with global oil companies and aims to boost its crude output to 12 million bpd from 2.5 million bpd in six to seven years.

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