Iraq’s plans to reduce its hefty fuel import bill this year have been dealt a hard blow. Multiple sources confirm that Iraq’s newest refinery, the 140,000 b/d greenfield Karbala plant, has been taken offline. It is now highly unlikely that Iraq will manage to bring the refinery up to full capacity, including secondary units, by end-July as planned (MEES, 7 April).

An informed source says that “corrosion was found at a heat exchanger near the CDU” and that “repeated stops” are now expected as the refinery’s owner Midlands Refining Company (MORC) believes that other exchangers may also be corroded. FEED designs from 2010, delivered by France’s Technip, show that Karbala has a single 140,000 b/d CDU which means that the whole plant must be shut down until the exchangers are replaced. (CONTINUED - 803 WORDS)