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Last Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani officially inaugurated the Karbala oil refinery, 9 years after its construction began, in a move aimed at strengthening the oil product refining sector, which the country spends billions of dollars annually to import from neighboring countries.
Al-Sudani said during a speech from the Karbala refinery, "Iraq must invest its wealth in an optimal investment that covers its needs, and be an influential and active country in the gas, oil and petrochemicals market," noting that the opening of the refinery is the largest refining project the country has witnessed in 4 decades.
Many questions arise about what characterizes the Karbala refinery, the production capacity and the derivatives that it will provide to the local market.
The newest in the countryIraq has about 12 refineries with a refining capacity of more than one million barrels per day, and the government confirmed that the new Karbala refinery is the most important and newest, and it is located in Karbala Governorate, about 40 kilometers away from its center, and the area of the refinery is approximately 6 million square meters.
Iraq had signed a contract with a consortium of Korean companies led by Hyundai to establish the Karbala refinery at a cost of $6.5 billion in 2014, and its completion was delayed for various reasons, the most important of which was the financial crisis that hit the country in 2014 coinciding with the decline in global oil prices, according to the official spokesman for the Ministry of Oil, Asim Jihad.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Jihad confirmed that the ISIS invasion of large areas of the country in the summer of 2014, and then the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in 2020, were among the reasons for the delay in completing the project.
For his part, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, the economic advisor to the Prime Minister, says that the Karbala refinery is the latest technology and the highest value in terms of taking into account environmental conditions, pointing out that all the operating refineries in the country have become “worn out” and operate with low refining capacity.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Saleh indicates that Iraq annually imports oil derivatives worth between 3 and 4 billion dollars, which is considered shameful for Iraq, which exports more than 4 million barrels of oil per day, and then imports oil derivatives from countries that obtain Iraqi oil, and considered The completion of this refinery is the real starting point for the government program aimed at diversifying the oil sector.
refining capacityThe official spokesman for the Ministry of Oil said that the new refinery falls within the European (Euro 5) classification, and is environmentally friendly and takes into account public health and safety conditions. He pointed out that the Karbala refinery depletes a barrel of oil by an estimated 80% and converts it into high-quality products, while the refineries operating in the country do not exceed their capacity to filter 50% of a barrel of oil, which causes the production of black oil residues.
And he added that the refinery's production will cover nearly 60% of what the country imports from oil derivatives, especially since the refining capacity reaches 140,000 barrels per day, in addition to that it generates electric power - through 4 generation oceans - with a capacity of 200 megawatts, 60 megawatts of which go to the grid. The rest of the electrical energy produced is used to operate the refinery, which will be staffed entirely by Iraqis.
And the Prime Minister estimated - during the inauguration of the refinery - that with the start of actual operation, Iraq would save 3 billion dollars annually that were going to import various oil derivatives such as high-octane gasoline, diesel, and others.
The director of the Petroleum Products Distribution Company, Hussein Taleb, had revealed earlier that the daily domestic consumption of fuel amounts to 31 million liters, of which 16 million liters are imported in hard currency to meet the country's needs.
production quantitiesThe new Karbala refinery works on refining light and heavy oil, which is compatible with the quality of the Iraqi oil produced, as about 20 types of oil derivatives will be produced, which is confirmed by the economic advisor to the Prime Minister, who added that the Karbala refinery includes 33 operational and service units with large production capacities, It also includes an integrated warehouse, a station for pumping products to external warehouses, and gas filling plants.
As for the types and quantities of oil derivatives, Saleh revealed that the refinery will produce daily 9 million liters of high-quality gasoline (95 octane), 4 million diesel, 3 million kerosene, 750 tons of liquid gas, 1,000 tons of asphalt, 360 tons of solid sulfur and 8 million sulfur. heavy fuel.
Ambitious projectsOn the background of the opening of the refinery, a spokesman for the Ministry of Oil confirmed that they are working diligently to develop the refining industries sector, revealing that his ministry had announced a few days ago about investment opportunities in the refining sector in the governorates of Maysan and Dhi Qar (south), Nineveh (north) and Wasit (east). Its operational capabilities will range between 30 and 150 thousand barrels as refining capacity, indicating that with the completion of these refineries, the country will achieve self-sufficiency and will export the surplus product abroad.
The “Iraqi oil” projects do not stop at this point, as Jihad revealed another project underway in cooperation with the Japanese company “JGC” to invest and refine the oil waste resulting from the southern refineries in Basra, according to what is scientifically known as the co-factor cracking project. FCC” (FCC), which will treat oil waste from refineries and turn them into high-value oil products.
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