ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq will reduce its petroleum products imports by 25 percent while crude oil refineries are being repaired following the Islamic State (IS) war, an Iraqi oil minister said on Monday.
In a statement published on the Oil Ministry’s website, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said the country would cut down its imports of petroleum products without providing a specific date for the reduction.
Luaibi explained that Iraq was producing more oil products by processing natural gas liquids and adding more production units at refineries in the central and southern parts of the country.
Production at the Seeniya, Hadeetha, Qayara, and Kirkuk refineries have recently restarted as Iraq seeks further investment for refinery projects in other provinces including Nineveh and Anbar, Luaibi said.
Following Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s “final victory” announcement over IS last December, the government said its focus was now on rebuilding its economy, calling on foreign investments for major projects.
The Iraqi government has also started reviving its largest oil refinery, the Baiji refinery complex (north of Baghdad) which once produced up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).
When IS emerged in 2014, the militant group overran Baiji causing severe damage to the refinery. Iraqi forces eventually recaptured it in 2015.
The three years of war with IS as well as a significant drop in international oil prices has contributed to Iraq’s failing economy.
Iraq also plans to fulfill an agreement signed with Iran late last year to swap oil from fields in Kirkuk to the border province of Kermanshah in western Iran via tanker trucks. According to Iraqi officials, the transfer has not begun due to security concerns.