UK-based international oil company BP is considering a project to expand the capacity of Iraq’s Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, according to BP’s regional president for the Middle East, Michael Townshend.

Speaking to MEED he said that the expansion of the facility may be necessary if there are further delays to the Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP).

“We’ve been discussing CSSP for ten years,” he said. “It’s important but I’m not going to hold my breath.”

BP operates the Qarmat Ali plant and gives some of the water to local refineries, which give some to the Zubair oil field as well.

Water from Qarmat Ali is injected into Rumaila to boost production as the field matures.

About 1.3 million barrels of water a day are being injected into the field, according to Townshend.

Whether or not BP goes ahead with the new Qarmat Ali expansion depends on how rapidly the $4bn CSSP, a large-capacity water pipeline from the sea, progresses.

“For Rumaila I try not to worry too much about the CSSP – we have plans to increase [the capacity of] Qarmat Ali,” said Townshend. “We can just add on another plant if necessary. This could be added next year potentially”.

Previous projects

The Qarmat Ali plant has already been expanded once, in a $125m upgrade that added a unit which increased its capacity by 1.3 million barrels a day.

The client for the upgrade project was a joint venture of BP, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company.

China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of CNPC was awarded the main contract for the project in September 2011 and the project was completed in April 2015.

Turkey’s Tekfen Construction was project management consultant on the project.\

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