Iraq plans to boost southern oil refining capacity before 2018 end

Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi talks to journalists during a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Baghdad ( Iraq plans to boost the refining capacity of its southern oil fields before the end of the current year, its oil minister said in a statement on Tuesday.

Jabbar al-Luaibi said his ministry’s strategy is to drive up the refining capacity of the southern refineries to 280.000 barrels per day before the end of 2018.

He made the statement inaugurating a second phase of the installation of a fourth refining unit in Basra, with a capacity of 70.000 barrels per day.

Iraq is OPEC’s second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia.

The country’s crude oil exports for March stood at 107.05 million barrels, a daily rate of  3.45 million barrels.

Those yielded revenues worth USD6.418 billion, according to the oil ministry’s monthly statistic.

The monthly count still does not include production from oil-rich Kirkuk province, which was halted after the military standoff between Iraq and Kurdistan Region in 2017 that followed the region’s controversial poll on independence.

While Iraq had concurred to OPEC’s decision to slash members’ production to scale up prices, it seeks to increase exports to secure sufficient cash to address financial demands imposed by the three-year war against Islamic State militants and consequent damage to infrastructure and economy.


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