The North Oil Company (NOC) is hindering the construction of a refinery in the oil-rich disputed province of Kirkuk, a local official said on Wednesday.
The refinery is one of four projects that the Iraqi Oil Ministry tendered to foreign companies for final designs late October. The four refineries to be located in Kirkuk, Karbala, Nasiriyah and Amara will have a total capacity of 740,000 bopd.
Jamal Mawloud, a member of the hydrocarbon committee in Kirkuk province, told AKnews that the NOC has been blocking the progress of the refinery project in the region for two years on grounds that the location of the project is volcanic and near the earthquake zone.
"The construction of the refinery was supposed to start two years ago but has been delayed after the NOC sent letters to Baghdad stressing that the location was volcanic and seismic," Mawloud told AKnews, "but the NOC director was not precise in his letters. There are several specialized committees who visited the area and confirmed its suitability."
Mawloud said a delegation including him and Kirkuk governor will visit Baghdad, after the Eid al-Adha holidays to discuss the issue with the Oil Ministry.
A spokesman for the Oil Ministry told AKnews that the designs of the refineries will be completed in early 2012 and will be reviewed before the construction is put out to tender.