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The prospect of four new oil refineries in Iraq is attracting Chinese investment to the nation that is recovering from years of civil war and low oil prices, according to a new report by Reuters.
A 300,000-barrel per day refinery and petrochemical plant in the port of Fao on the Persian Gulf has solicited offers from two Chinese firms. Plans for three other sites still need sponsors, the oil ministry announced on Monday. Two will boast 150,000-bpd capacities and will be located in the city of Nasiriya and Anbar province. The final 100,000-bpd facility will be built outside of Mosul.
Iraq’s refining capacity has been stunted since 2015, when fighting with Islamic State (ISIS) militants damaged the nation’s largest refinery, Baiji. There are currently two major facilities that are still functional: Baghdad’s Doura refinery and the Shuaiba plant towards the south.
Foreign direct investment is pouring into Iraq as the country regains stability. Last week, the Iraqi Oil Ministry picked an American oil company, Orion, to produce gas from a southern oilfield. The Nahr Bin Omar field was originally developed by state-run Basra Oil and has an average daily production of 40,000 bpd and 25 million cubic meters of natural gas. Besides Orion, the Iraqi Energy Ministry is also negotiating with Exxon and several Chinese oil companies on the development of the Nahr Bin Omar field.
Earlier in January, Iraq signed an agreement with BP for the development of oil fields around Kirkuk. The government first approached the supermajor last October, after its army retook control of Kirkuk from Kurdistan after the controversial independence referendum.
In southern Iraq, Chevron is one of the major foreign companies—alongside France’s Total and Petrochina—that could form a consortium to take over the operation of the Majnoon field from Shell, which has said it wants out of its 45 percent stake in the project.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…