State-owned North Oil Company (NOC) is opposing plans for the construction of a new 150,000 barrel a day (b/d) refinery in the Kirkuk province of northern Iraq, one of four planned refinery projects in the country.

According to Jamal Mawloud, a member of Kirkuk’s provincial government hydrocarbon committee, NOC has been blocking the refinery project over the past two years, saying that the site is located near an earthquake zone, reports AK news agency.

“The construction of the refinery was supposed to start two years ago, but has been delayed after the NOC sent letters to Baghdad stressing that the location was volcanic and seismic,” says Mawloud.

A delegation including Mawloud and the governor of the province intends to the Oil Ministry after the Eid holidays which begin on 6 November to discuss the refinery.

The Oil Ministry says designs for the planned refineries at Kirkuk, Karbala, Nasiriyah and Missan will be completed in early-2012 (MEED 28:4:11).