War-torn Iraq, a major buyer of oil products, is seeking nearly 50 per cent more gasoline in a fuel tender for the second half of the year, trade sources said on Monday.
Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) has issued a tender to buy 1.3 million tonnes of gasoline, around 500,000 tonnes of gas oil and 150,000 tonnes of kerosene to cover needs in the second half of the year, traders said.
The tender is closing on May 25. The fuel is to be delivered into Iraq's Khor al-Zubair terminal in Basra.
For the first half, the country, grappling with continuous violence hampering its efforts to rebuild infrastructure, had sought 880,000 tonnes of gasoline and 230,000 tonnes of gas oil. But it ended up buying much less than its contracted volumes due to logistical problems.
'It is a contingency plan, they don't get the full volume in the end,' one trader said.
Another trader said the terminal can import only around 18,000 tonnes at once, which limits the imports, even though the domestic demand is much higher.
'Their refineries are in bad shape, there's strong demand inside. Occasionally I hear fuel shortages, queues in petrol stations,' one gasoline trader said.
Years of war and under-investment have forced Iraq to rely on imports for its fuel needs, making it one of the biggest buyers of gasoline and gas oil in the region.
The country's oil industry has been frequently attacked by militants. Baiji refinery, the country's largest, was shut for two days in February after a bomb attack.
In March, officials said part of the restarted unit was operating at a total capacity of 170,000 barrels per day