Japan’s foreign affairs minister Motegi Toshimitsu during an unannounced visit to Baghdad on 21 August, said his country intends to extend a low-interest ¥32.7 billion ($300 million) loan to Iraq. The amount constitutes the third tranche of $1bn in Japanese financing for the $4bn Basrah Refinery upgrade for which Japan’s JGC is lead EPC contractor.

In late March, Iraq’s parliament passed the long-delayed 2021 federal budget that unlocked approval for the JICA loan (MEES, 9 April). The revamp of the 210,000 b/d Basrah Refinery is essential as almost half of Iraq’s current refinery output is fuel oil (see chart). (CONTINUED - 186 WORDS)