Iraq’s new and much-awaited $6bn, 140,000 b/d greenfield Karbala refinery began commercial operations on 3 April with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani attending an inauguration ceremony at the new facility with Oil Minister Hayan Abdulghani and other officials.

The Ministry did not disclose current production levels and types of products, but Karbala’s initial output is believed to be dominated by straight-run products, including fuel oil. MEES understands that the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) and Continuous Catalytic Reforming (CCR) units which will enable high yields of middle distillates and gasoline are due online in May (MEES, 10 March). Iraq also intends for the refinery’s reformate and isomerization units to be brought online by the end of May, which will enable Karbala to produce on-spec gasoline. (CONTINUED - 151 WORDS)