Iraq increases capacity at Baiji downstream complex

27 February 2024
The Oil Ministry has brought the North Refinery back online after 10 years

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Iraq’s Oil Ministry has restarted operations at the North Refinery, which forms part of the Baiji Refinery complex, according to a statement.

The facility has come back online after 10 years.

The refinery was shut in 2014 when Islamic State fighters seized it after taking over one-third of the country’s territory.

The North Refinery facility has a capacity of 150,000 barrels a day (b/d).

Bringing the North Refinery back online has brought the Baiji complex’s total refining capacity up to 250,000 b/d, Assem Jihad, Iraq’s Oil Ministry spokesman, said.

The facility was operating at 280,000 b/d before it was attacked and damaged by Islamic State.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani’s office said: “With this accomplishment, we are getting closer to meeting the country’s derivative needs no later than the middle of next year.”

Iraq “produces four million barrels (of oil) a day, but still imports oil derivatives”, Al-Sudani said during the inauguration ceremony aired on state television.

In January 2021, Iraq’s Oil Ministry doubled the capacity at its Salah Al Din-2 Refinery, which also forms part of the Baiji Refinery complex.

The capacity was increased from 70,000 b/d to 140,000 b/d.

Iraq restarted operations at the Salah Al Din-2 Refinery in September 2018.

The refinery is one of the main crude processing facilities inside the giant Baiji complex.

Baiji is Iraq’s largest and most modern refining facility, with a nameplate capacity of around 310,000 b/d when all units are fully operational.

The Baiji complex consists of the Salah Al Din-1 and Salah Al Din-2 refineries along with the 150,000 b/d North Refinery and several small 10,000 b/d units.

Islamic State militants occupied the complex for more than two years from June 2014 until it was finally liberated in mid-2016 by Iraqi forces.

The occupation, fighting and subsequent looting caused extensive damage.

Many Iraqi sources at the time said the facility was beyond repair, and have been surprised at the speed with which Iraq has brought production back online, with no international help.

Salah Al Din-2 was repaired using existing equipment from other parts of the refinery, which made further repairs more difficult and expensive.

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