Iran to build refinery in Syria

28 September 2017

Tehran looks to play a larger role in reconstruction efforts

Iran plans to design and build a 70,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) capacity refinery in the war-ravaged western Syrian city of Homs, according to various reports.

The refinery, for which the capacity is expected to be increased to 140,000 b/d would be developed by a consortium of Iranian, Venezuelan and Syrian companies, according to Mansour Bazmi, acting chief of Tehran-based Research Institute of Petroleum Industry, in comments first reported by state broadcaster Press TV.

Iranian firms would design different units of the facility, and provide required parts and equipment, he added.

The refinery is expected to produce gasoline and gas oil and its funding would come from international financial institutions, according to reports.

It is unclear whether the refinery is a greenfield project or an upgrade of the existing 110,000 b/d refinery at Homs, which according to reports suffered damages to parts of its facility in a rocket attack during the ongoing civil war.

The Homs Refinery built in 1959 is one of two refineries in Syria - the other being the Raqqa Processing Plant - and had planned for an estimated $70m upgrade before the civil war, according to data by MEED Projects.

The Homs Refinery had been built to process crude from Syria’s Al-Thayyim, Al-Ashara and Al-Ward fields besides using crude feedstock from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field through the Banias pipeline. Al-Thayyim and Al-Ward were captured in 2014 by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), which profited from exploiting Syria’s oil and gas assets to fund its war economy.

Syrian armed forces with the help of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) re-captured Homs in June. Iran’s involvement in building a refinery signals a possible larger role in the reconstruction of Syria after the end of the civil war.

Earlier, Iranian firm Mapna signed a $155m contract to restore power in Syria’s most populous city, Aleppo, which was re-taken by IRGC-backed government forces at the end of 2016.

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