Iraq Looks to Foreign Investment To Boost Oil Capacity

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Technip, a French company specializing in the management of energy producing installations, received a “significant contract” in the second phase of the oil refinery project in the Iraqi province of Karbala, in what seems to be an actual manifestation of Iraq’s desire to rely on foreign investments in order to remedy the shortfall experienced by its refineries in satisfying domestic needs for petroleum derivatives.

Technip issued a statement in which it said that the Iraqi State Company for Oil Projects awarded it a “significant contract for project management consultancy services for the engineering, procurement and construction phase of the Karbala refinery.”

In a statement obtained by Al-Monitor, the French company characterized the contract as a “prize” awarded by Iraq, following the company’s execution of the Karbala refinery’s basic engineering design, which was initiated in 2010 and had an output goal of 150,000 barrels per day.

Technip describes itself as a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry, employing more than 36,000 people working on projects in 48 countries around the world.

Iraq suffers from chronic shortages in oil derivatives resulting from its refineries' inability to satisfy local consumer needs, particularly for mineral oil and gasoline, which forces it to import these derivatives from neighboring countries, notably Iran.

The Deputy Oil Minister for Downstream Refineries Fayadh Nima said that Iraq’s refineries now produced approximately 800,000 barrels per day.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, he said, “Iraq has three main refineries and 10 smaller ones, which produce around 800,000 barrels per day.” He emphasized that his country’s needs surpassed the output capacity of these refineries combined.

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