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Iraq To Upgrade Qayyara Refinery; Funding Authorized For Basra Water Project; Iraq And Saudi Arabia to Expand Transport Links

On September 6, Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar announced the ministry’s plans to build new refining units at Qayyara refinery south of Mosul. The plan to expand Qayyara is a part of Baghdad’s larger efforts to increase the country’s refining capabilities to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd). Qayyara’s current processing capacity is  30,000 bpd and planners seek to increase that to 100,000 bpd. The minister’s announcement follows a days-long fire at the refinery complex earlier this week that has since been extinguished.

On September 6, Prime Minister Kadhimi, in a meeting with the Ministers of Oil, Construction and Housing, Water Resources and the Governor of Basra, directed his Cabinet to appropriate funds for the construction of the al-Bada’a canal in Basra from  the 2020 budget. Kadhimi also gave instructions to allocate funds for the water project associated with the canal from the 2021 budget. The canal is one of several in Basra province that supply the city with fresh drinking water from Tigris. The city, located in Iraq’s hottest and one of its most polluted provinces, is currently in the throes of a water distribution crisis that necessitates restrictive rationing, and  enhanced funding for the al-Bada’a project seeks to relieve some of the challenges Basra faces. On September 8, Basra governor Asaad al-Eidani stated that Kadhimi had made a “courageous and practical decision” by appropriating further funding for the project’s completion.

On September 6, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Transport said the ministry had put together a special team tasked with expediting the opening of the Arar border crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The spokesman also said Transport Minister Nasser Hussein al-Shibli and the Saudi ambassador to Iraq Abdulaziz bin Khalid Al-Shamroukhi discussed the possibility of establishing maritime shipping lanes between the two countries as well as air routes between Iraqi airports and Saudi Arabia’s Dammam Airport. On September 9 the head of the Border Ports Authority met the Saudi ambassador and confirmed that Iraqi border crossings would be opening to Saudi commercial traffic in the coming days, adding that the two nations would work to develop infrastructure and personnel at Iraqi ports to facilitate increased commerce.

On September 7, the director of the oil and natural gas department at the Jordanian Ministry of Energy announced the resumption of crude oil shipments from Iraq, which were halted in August as a result of the pandemic. The Jordanian official said trucking of the agreed-upon 10,000 bpd will restart this month and continue through November, after which the two countries will discuss potential renewal for a further year.

Source: ISHM: SEPTEMBER 3 – SEPTEMBER 10, 2020


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