Shell Global Solutions, a division of the UK-Dutch oil major, Shell Group has signed an agreement with the Iraq’s South Refineries Company (SRC) for the provision of technology licences for the Basra refinery.

Shell will provide a license for a sulphur recovery unit and visbreaker unit, according to a 2 August press release. The visbreaker unit will increase the yield of heating oil and diesel, while the sulphur recovery unit will help the refinery meet global standards for vehicle emissions.

“We expect the technology to spearhead the revamp of the Basra refinery, which is likely to lead to its best in class status,” says Hanna al-Jadaa, Project Director at SRC.

The deal marks Shell’s entry into Iraq’s downstream sector. It is already involved in upstream oil production at the Majnoon oil field and in 2008 signed a heads of agreement for the capture of flared gas in Iraq’s southern oil fields.

SRC plans to launch engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tenders for a new fluid catalyst cracker (FCC) unit at the refinery in early 2012. France’s Axens will provide a technology licence (MEED 3:6:11).