Iraq’s Ministry of Oil signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Swiss firm Satarem on 10 October for the development of a 150,000 b/d refinery in Misan province. The cost of the development is estimated at $6bn. At the signing ceremony in Baghdad Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said: “Today we sign a contract for an important investment project with the participation of the private sector, which will contribute towards filling the needs of the country for oil products.”

Misan is one of four greenfield refinery projects planned by the ministry, with a combined capacity of 740,000 b/d. Total development cost is estimated at $25bn. Besides building new capacity, Iraq is planning to upgrade existing refineries as part of a strategy to raise total crude distillation capacity by 1.4mn b/d by 2019. The plan also calls for expansion of upgrading capacity: excess fuel oil is currently being blended with crude feedstock, while output of transport fuels and LPG falls short of demand (MEES, 21 June). (CONTINUED - 611 WORDS)