More Conflict Brewing in Iraqi Oil Refineries | RefinerLink

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More Conflict Brewing in Iraqi Oil Refineries

By James Anders

May 18, 2015

Volatility in Iraq threatens refinery production.


Iraq has had its share of turmoil over the past year with ISIS occupying the country. Given its history, the Iraqis need a commodity like oil to fuel their economy, but as soon as there is any hint of stability, conflict strikes the nation once again. Take a look at Rumaila, for instance.


Rumaila has always been at the core of Iraqi oil production, so the industry was sent in disarray when ISIS infiltrated the area, sending workers from international refineries back to their respective countries. After the insurgents left Rumaila, companies immediately sent their engineers back to resume operations.



Investors are also finding new opportunities just north of Rumaila. West Qurna, another field with recoverable oil and gas reserves, is currently under contract to restore two compressor stations that had previously been affected by civil unrest.


A tremendous portion of Iraq's total number of barrels filled derives from refineries further south of the country. Out of the average 2.98 million barrels per day (bpd) produced, around 1.4 million of those barrels are from Rumaila fields, thus the area is a crucial factor in crude oil production. Another major component of the energy industry is Iraq's major industrial center, Baiji.


The Baiji refinery is the biggest in the country and was one of its primary economic drivers, however the constant turmoil around the area has prevented it from ever returning to its former glory. Israel National News claims that the Baiji refinery used to produce 300,000 bpd, exceeding expectations of every other plant.


Operations were suspended starting last June, and now that IS jihadists have penetrated the perimeters of the facility, people are unsure if the plant would have any more "material benefit" if the group seized total control of it.

Back in mid-April, it seemed like Iraqi security forces had a handle of the situation when they had cleared the facility of IS group militants, but present circumstances demonstrate just how unpredictable everything can be.


The U.S. have retaliated with thousands of air strikes in hopes of ending the violence from the IS group. Should the situation worsen, there will be no hesitation in calling an air strike on the refinery.

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