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Iraq Plans to Boost Oil-Refining Capacity by 23% Early Next Year

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Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq’s refining capacity will increase by 23 percent to 760,000 barrels a day by early next year once refineries are enlarged, according to Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad al-Shamaa.

The expansions, particularly of the Daura facility in Baghdad and the Basra plant in the south, will add 140,000 barrels a day to existing capacity, he said today in an interview in the Iraqi capital. The enlargements are happening as Iraq boosts crude production capacity, he said.

Iraq’s oil-processing facilities have been running below capacity because of damage sustained since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The country plans to build four refineries at a cost of about $25 billion, including a 300,000 barrel-a-day plant in Nasiriyah and a 140,000 barrel-a-day processing plant in Karbala, both in the south, Shamaa said.

The Iraqi government plans to pay for the Karbala refinery from its own budget and is preparing to seek bids for the construction of the Nasiriyah plant as part of the contract to develop the oil field of the same name, Shamaa said.

The nation holds the world’s fifth-largest crude reserves, according to data from BP Plc that include Canadian oil sands.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kadhim Ajrash in Baghdad at kajrash@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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