Iraq needs billions for refineries

Sept. 9, 2011 at 8:04 AM

LONDON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The $30 billion needed for oil refineries in Iraq would boost the country's ability to produce fuel from crude, the deputy oil minister said in London.

Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Ahmed al-Shamma said at an Iraqi mining conference in London that Iraq needed roughly $30 billion in investments to build five oil refineries, Bloomberg News reports.

The refineries are planned for Kirkuk province in the north and Masyan, Ninawa, Nasiriyah and Karbala in the south.

Revisions of reserves led the country's oil minister to say there were at least 143 billion barrels of oil in Iraq. The country generates most of its federal revenue through oil and natural gas sales but lacks refinery capacity.

Baghdad is expected to release draft contracts as part of a round of bidding for oil and gas exploration blocks as early as Sunday.

The Iraqi oil minister announced last month that 41 companies qualified to bid for 12 exploration blocks expected on the auction block in January. Iraq estimates the 12 blocks up for auction could raise reserve estimates by 10 million barrels of oil and 29 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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