Iraq Begins Rebuilding Largest Crude Refinery

Iraq Begins Rebuilding Largest Crude Refinery
Iraq Begins Rebuilding Largest Crude Refinery

Iraq began to rebuild its largest oil refinery this week, jumpstarting an effort to reconstruct the country after a three-year war with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, an announcement from the oil ministry said.

The Baiji complex should produce 70,000 barrels of oil per day upon completion, ministry spokesman, Assem Jihad, told reporters. The facility, originally constructed in 1975, is currently completely offline and refined between 250,000 and 300,000 barrels per day before it was seized by IS in 2014, Oil Price reported.

"The rehabilitation will allow the distribution of refined products for the north of the country and reduce our imports," said Jihad.

Baiji is strategically located along Highway 1, which runs from Baghdad to Rabia, a border town in the northwest of Iraq. It is only 111 kilometers from Kirkuk and, therefore, encroaches on oil concessions that have been granted by KRG to international oil companies in southeastern Kurdistan.

Despite its geographical proximity to Kurdish oilfields, the Baiji refinery is more of a strategic asset for Baghdad’s National Oil Company as opposed to Erbil.

The presence of IS in this region and control over the refinery not only hampered Baghdad’s oil production, but also threatened to spill over into de facto Kurdish civilian territory.

The New York Times cited reports from the Iraqi military that it had retaken the Baiji oilfield from IS on 16th October 2015, bringing an end to approximately six months of IS control over the refinery. Although IS no longer occupies the land, the damage to the refinery after its recapture was extensive.

Reports in early 2016 stated that it was plundered beyond repair, this corresponds with a wider IS tactic of decimating all infrastructure when forced out of an area.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints