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Project for building oil refinery in Kirkuk approved by oil ministry

Project for building oil refinery in Kirkuk approved by oil ministry
Permission for building an oil refinery has been given by the Iraqi government in Kirkuk. The project value shall be around $5 billion.
Asim Jihad, oil ministry spokesperson, stated, “The oil ministry has given approval for a new refinery to be built in Kirkuk."

Baghdad’s decision to build a huge refinery in Kirkuk comes after the Black Force of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) seized control of the North Oil Company in the city of Kirkuk in early March, stopping the oil export for several hours before it resumed.

The Kurdish force, backed by all Kurdish parties in Kirkuk, seeks to force Baghdad to implement an agreement between the Kirkuk governor and Baghdad reached in January, notably in opening an oil refinery in the multi-ethnic Kirkuk.

After several days of force deployment, Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al Abadi met with a PUK politburo delegation led by the party’s first deputy Kosrat Rasul Ali, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed (the wife of Jalal Talabani) and the party’s Kirkuk officials. 

They subsequently announced they had reached an agreement regarding the problems of the North Oil Company.

According to Point 6 of the January agreement, the oil ministry should "help the Kirkuk province to begin expanding the Kirkuk oil refinery and its work with Barham company to install a new refinery."
Some other large companies in the Kurdistan Region have submitted their proposals to the Iraqi oil ministry, including Faruq Holding, owned by Faruq Mala Mustafa, who is very likely to receive the project. If he does, he will be borrowing a $1 billion loan from a Chinese bank. 

Faruq Mala said, “The project has not been officially given to anyone. We will talk about it after it is announced.”
The oil minister had earlier said that the plan to invest in Kirkuk’s oil infrastructure had long been pursued, but the situation in Kirkuk and Iraq was not helpful at this stage. Jihad told the local media about two weeks ago that the oil ministry had tried to set up a refinery in Kirkuk, but due to the city’s security and political situation, no company was ready to go to Kirkuk.

Rebwar Taha, an Iraqi MP from the PUK, told, “The Iraqi oil ministry has given the go-ahead for a modern refinery to be built which will cost $5 billion. The project will be implemented in phases and might take 3 to 5 years to finish."

“Kirkuk has a refinery that is 65 years old, refining only 30,000 oil barrels per day," Taha who represents Kirkuk in the Iraqi parliament added. "It cannot fulfil Kirkuk’s demands. This is while Kirkuk is Iraq’s second biggest oil city. This is why we have asked for the refinery’s production rate to be increased to 70,000 barrels a day so that oil from Kirkuk is no longer taken elsewhere under the pretext of refining it."

Building this refinery will create hundreds of job opportunities for the people of Kirkuk, especially for the graduates of the mechanical and other technical departments at Kirkuk University.
“Some companies have submitted their proposals via Baghdad, the Iraqi government and the oil ministry," Rebwar Talabani, head of Kirkuk’s provincial council, told.

The North Oil Company produces nearly 160,000 barrels of oil daily, from which 20,000 barrels of oil are transported through tankers to Dora Refinery in Baghdad order to fulfil the fuel demands of Al-Quds power station just north of Baghdad.

In addition, 30,000 more oil barrels are used to account for internal needs. The remaining 110,000 oil barrels are exported. Half of it is sold by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the other half by the Iraqi government.

As per the agreement between Iraqi government and Kar Group, Kalak Refinery near Erbil, which is owned by Kar Group, receives 40,000 barrels of oil every day from the North Oil Company in order to refine it for the Iraqi government.
Updated 01 Jun 2017 | Soruce: Rudaw | By S.Seal
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