Iraq to build oil refinery in Faw with Chinese firms, plans 3 others


BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq plans to build an oil refinery at the port of Faw on the Gulf with two Chinese companies, and is seeking investors to build three more, the oil ministry said on its website on Monday. The refinery in Faw will have a 300,000 bpd capacity and include a petrochemical plant, it said. The project is considered as one of the big exportation projects in Faw city- Basrah governorate in the south of Iraq

Two other refineries, Anbar and Thi-Qar each with a 150,000-bpd capacity, are planned in Nasiriya, southern Iraq, and in the western Anbar province. A third, with a 100,000-bpd capacity, is planned in Qayara, near Mosul, the northern Iraqi city, which was taken back from Islamic State militants last year.

Iraq is OPEC's second-largest oil producer, after Saudi Arabia. Its refining capacity was curtailed when Islamic State overran its largest oil processing plant in Baiji, north of Baghdad, in 2014.

Iraqi forces recaptured Baiji in 2015, but the place sustained heavy damage in the fighting. The country now relies on the Doura refinery, in Baghdad, and Shuaiba plant, in the south. Work to rehabilitate Baiji has begun, Oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Monday, adding that a 70,000 bpd processing unit should be brought back on line in six to nine months. A second 70,000 bpd unit in Baiji should follow, he said in a statement.

Baiji was processing around 175,000 bpd when it fell into the hands of Islamic State.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Ahmed Rasheed, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Louise Heavens)