Baiji Refinery Partially Re-Started

Iraq restored partial operation at its largest oil refinery on Monday after a two-day shutdown due to a bomb attack, Reuters reports.

“We have restarted production operation at 50 percent of the original capacity on Monday,” Abdul-Qader Saab, the refinery’s deputy manager, said.

The militants planted explosives at a kerosene and benzene production unit at the northern refinery in the town of Baiji [Bayji, Beiji], a former al Qaeda stronghold 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad.

“We need at least 45 days to fix the production unit,” Saab told Reuters.

Iraq does not export any oil products as it uses all of its production for power generation and domestic consumption.

The country’s capacity to refine fuels like diesel and gasoline has been limited by under-investment and it has been forced since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to buy imported fuels to meet the growing gap between supply and domestic demand.

“We expect a shortage in oil products needed domestically during the next 45 days. We are in charge of supplying 11 provinces,” Saab added.

Baiji, which normally operates at about 70 percent of its 310,000 barrel-per-day capacity, produces 11 million litres of gasoline, 7 million litres of benzene and 4.5 million litres of kerosene a day.

(Source: Reuters)

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