Iraq’s long-delayed $6bn, 140,000 b/d Karbala greenfield refinery received its first crude feedstock on 25 September according to an Oil Ministry statement. Previously, Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael said that first crude was scheduled to enter the new facility on 15 October (MEES, 19 August) and the refinery is critical for Baghdad’s efforts to address this year’s ballooning fuel imports bill (MEES, 22 April). Mr Ismaael had said that the project will help “reduce import needs by 60%” when fully operational next year. The first phase is expected to be commissioned in November at 60% of nameplate capacity, that is to say around 84,000 b/d.