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Rise in production: Iraq oil refinery expands

Refinery now produces 10,000 barrels daily
March 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Najaf oil refinery expanded its production capacity Saturday by about 10,000 barrels per day, or roughly half of what it had producing. The refinery, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, was built in October 2006 to help meet central Iraq's increasing demand for petroleum products, including kerosene. It had been producing about 20,000 barrels per day.

Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, pledged further expansions across the country, including new refineries in Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

Iraq has the world's third-largest known crude oil reserves, with an estimated 115 billion barrels. Together, the new refineries will be able to refine more than 450,000 barrels daily.

Iraq's government is working to shore up lagging production caused by infrastructure that has been damaged or destroyed since the war began in 2003. Insurgents frequently attack pipelines, trying to rob the government of oil revenue.

The nation's three main refineries are now running at roughly half the 700,000-barrel daily capacity they maintained before the war.

The shortfall has forced Iraq to turn to imports from neighboring Iran, Kuwait and Turkey.

Iraqi lawmakers are considering an oil law to divide the country's oil and gas profits among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds - a benchmark sought by the United States to achieve national reconciliation.

 

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