State oil marketer Somo has tendered to import gasoline over 4Q 2023 and 1Q 2024, with MEES learning that volumes have been set at the same level as under the previous Q2-Q3 tender. The tender was due to close on 1 September as MEES went to press. The move comes amidst ongoing commissioning setbacks at Iraq’s new 140,000 b/d Karbala refinery with the facility taken offline earlier in the summer (MEES, 9 June).
Iraqi authorities were banking on Karbala to slash the country’s need for gasoline imports, but these setbacks mean its import tab will remain elevated well into 2024. A Somo source says the firm is being conservative in its approach as the government cannot risk widespread long-term gasoline shortages - acute gasoline shortages last week were a significant cause for concern. Gasoline accounted for 68% ($836mn) of Somo’s $1.23bn fuel import bill for Q1 2023. (CONTINUED - 144 WORDS)