Iraq’s Baiji Refinery Restarts Amid Security Concerns

Once Iraq’s largest refinery, war-damaged Baiji has restarted after four years offline. It will help ameliorate Iraq’s chronic products shortfall and facilitate production increases at Kirkuk. But ongoing instability means another lengthy shutdown is just an attack away.

Partial operations at Baiji refinery commenced this week for the first time since Islamic State (IS) overran the plant in June 2014 inflicting catastrophic damage ( MEES, 26 September 2014 ). Prior to 2014 Baiji had 310,000 b/d nameplate capacity and produced around a third of Iraq’s gasoline and diesel before the IS takeover.

The restart follows the rehabilitation of the 70,000 b/d Salahuddin-2 unit, oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said on 9 September.

The start-up of Sahahuddin-2 takes theoretical capacity of the six refineries under North Refineries Company (NRC) to 180,000 b/d versus 420,000 b/d pre-2014 when Baiji’s other two units were operational. NRC says it is prioritizing rehabilitation of the 70,000 b/d Salahuddin-1 unit to be followed by the larger 170,000 b/d Baiji North unit with the ultimate aim of raising NRC throughputs to 350,000 b/d. (CONTINUED - 1328 WORDS)

DATA INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

chart IRAQ’S GASOLINE BALANCE (‘000 B/D): DESPITE OUTPUT RISING TO A 4-YEAR HIGH OF 69,000 B/D IN Q2 THE COUNTRY REMAINS RELIANT ON IMPORTS TO MEET 50% OF DEMAND
chart DIESEL IMPORTS ARE MORE MODEST, HAVING EASED FROM 32,000 B/D FOR 2017 TO 25,000 B/D FOR 1H18 BUT ARE STILL RELIED ON TO MEET 20% OF DEMAND
table FEDERAL IRAQI REFINERIES ('000 B/D)