…Refinery to hit full capacity by July
Iraqi oil minister, Hayan Abdel Ghani, has confirmed that Iraq’s new Karbala refinery, located south of Baghdad, would begin commercial production of fuels in the middle of March.
According to Argus, the fuels from the facility will help Iraq cut its refined product imports by an estimated 60%.
Reuters quoted a source at the facility yesterday saying however that the refinery would reach full 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity by July this year.
The source said start of production will see the refinery doing test runs at 60% of capacity.
Karbala, Iraq’s first new refinery in decades, is designed to produce gasoline, LPG, jet fuel, gasoil, fuel oil, and asphalt.
The new refinery is not expected to affect Iraq’s crude oil exports as OPEC’s second-biggest producer could either raise its oil production or cut processing rates at other refineries, the source told Reuters.
Iraq’s exports from the southern port of Basra averaged 3.24 million bpd in December, per data from state-owned marketer SOMO seen by Reuters.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia, raked in more than $115 billion in oil revenues in 2023, according to figures released by the country’s oil ministry last week.
That figure stems from crude oil exports of 1.209 billion barrels last year—or an average of 3.320 million bpd. As OPEC’s second-largest crude oil producer, producing 4.5 million bpd in Q3, Iraq relies on oil revenues for nearly all of its export income.
Iraq’s oil revenues fell in 2020 to just $42 billion, according to Al-Monitor, as Saudi Arabia and Russia’s oil price war collided with the start of the pandemic, tanking crude oil prices. In 2021, Iraq’s oil revenues rebounded to $75.6 billion.
Iraq is home to the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves, holding 145 billion barrels.
Meanwhile Iraq oil ministry has said that Iraq’s oil revenues in 2022 exceeded $115 billion.
“The total revenue from the export of crude oil for the year 2022 amounts to more than US$115 billion,” minister for oil, Hayan Abdel-Ghani was quoted saying
The country exported more than 1.2 billion barrels in 2022, averaging 3.3 million barrels per day. Iraq said in October 2022 that it had dismantled the largest oil smuggling network in Basra Governorate. The smugglers stole and smuggled the oil by making holes in crude oil export lines in the Zubair oilfield.
Oil & Gas Middle East reported that some of the accused are senior officers from the Energy Police Forces tasked with protecting the oil infrastructure.
The medium said however that the smuggling didn’t stop Iraq’s oil revenues from reaching what was a four-year high after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices higher.
As OPEC’s second-largest crude oil producer, generating 4.5 million bpd in Q3, oil revenues account for nearly all of Baghdad’s income.