Iraq’s South Refining Company (SRC) has awarded Paris-based Axens a contract to provide a technology licence for a planned new fluid catalyst cracking (FCC) unit at the Basra Refinery in the south of Iraq.

Front-end engineering and design (feed) for the project is currently being carried out by Rome-based APS Engineering, according to a source close to the project.

“The client has chosen a technology licensor. They had a meeting in February with South Refining Company and the feed contractor, APS,” says the source.

Prokop Engineering and Technoexport, both of the Czech Republic, won the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the expansion and upgrade of the Basra refinery in 2008. The project is expected to be completed in the middle of 2011.

Iraq is planning to build four new refineries, costing $23bn with a total processing capacity of 740,000 barrels a day (b/d), which would roughly double its existing refinery capacity. In August, the US’ KBR was awarded a deal for licensing and basic engineering services for an FCC unit and solvent deasphalting unit at the planned refinery in the Missan province in the southeast of Iraq (MEED 25:8:10).  

Iraq currently has three major refineries with a combined design capacity of 700,000 b/d along with a number of smaller refineries scattered across the country. The largest of these at 310,000 b/d is the Baiji refinery in the north, followed by the 150,000 b/d Basra refinery and and the 110,000 b/d refinery at Daura in south Baghdad. Actual production is closer to 500,000 b/d, however.