Iraq is advancing a key refinery upgrade project in Basra aimed at tackling the country’s chronic shortage of transport fuels. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on 11 April laid the foundation stone for a 55,000 b/d Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) complex at the 210,000 b/d Basrah Refinery, which will yield valuable additional volumes of diesel and gasoline upon completion in 2025.

Despite being Opec’s second largest crude oil producer, with production capacity of 5mn b/d, Iraq’s failure to develop a modern refining sector means it is heavily reliant on imports of refined products. With fuel oil accounting for some 43% of total refinery production (see chart 1), Iraq has to spend some $2-3bn annually on diesel and gasoline imports to meet domestic demand. And as the economy expands, along with the population, domestic demand is on an upwards trajectory. (CONTINUED - 1770 WORDS)