Iraq’s downstream plans face further delays as the Oil Ministry pushes back the deadlines for two major projects to 2014.

The deadline for the planned Nasiriyah Integrated Project has been delayed by more than a month to 23 January, in response to requests from bidders for more time.

The bid round, which covers the joint development of the Nasiriyah oil field and a 300,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) integrated refinery in the south of Iraq was expected to be held on 19 December.

The 13 prequalified consortiums are now due to submit participation fees by 1 December. The project’s final tender protocol and contract, originally to be published on 15 November will be released on 10 December.

Commercial proposals are also yet to be submitted for the Karbala refinery, the second-biggest downstream project in the country. The Oil Ministry held meetings with three bidding consortiums in London in mid-November for a technical review of their proposals, which were submitted in May.

The consortiums are led by:

The 140,000 b/d refinery is one of five new downstream facilities planned by the government to increase its refining capacity by more than 700,000 b/d by 2019.

The designs for all five have been completed, but so far only Karbala and Nasiriyah have moved on at all. The Oil Ministry signed an agreement in mid-October for a third facility in the Missan province with Switzerland-based Satarem. The project is still some way off engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids, however.