According to a company executive, Iraq's Etihad Food Industries Co. will start production at a new $100 million edible oils refinery by year end, after its neighboring sugar plant shifted much of the country's imports to raw rather than white sugar.
The Babylon-based refinery neighbors Etihad's sugar unit, which started in 2015 and ramped up production faster than expected, reducing the country's dependence on white sugar imports from regional refiners.
Haidar Alnoumany, commercial director of the company said, "We began to build the infrastructure of the plant two months ago and we are expecting to start the production by end of 2016."
The edible oils plant will be able to process 3,000 tons a day with a refined oil storage capacity of 90,000 tons. Etihad said it would need to import around 1 million tons of crude edible oils a year to fulfill refining demand. Crude imports are set to start within 11 months.
Alnoumany said, "We will buy the crude (edible) oil from many origins like Argentina, Ukraine, Russia and USA."
The refinery aims to cover the needs of Iraq's trade ministry and the domestic private market.
He also stated, "The plant will process four types of oils - corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and palm oil."
Iraq's trade ministry needs around 456,000 tons a year and a similar quantity is needed for the rest of the Iraqi market, according to Etihad.