Overload hits Iraq refinery, production shut down
Baiji (Iraq), August 13, 2010
Iraq's state-owned North Refineries Company said production at its Baiji oil refinery north of Baghdad had completely shut down due to an electrical fault. North Refineries Company has a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).
A senior official at the firm, who declined to be named, said on Thursday the fault had been caused by an overloading of the refinery's grid.
"We had a total shutdown at the refinery at midday, and it is expected that we will be back at work either today or tomorrow after fixing the electrical fault," the official told Reuters. "The company will have big losses for today."
The official said the firm had lost 11 million litres of gasoline, 7 million litres of benzene and 4.5 million litres of kerosene as a result of the shutdown.There were also losses in production of other oil products.
Iraq has eight oil refineries with a capacity of 659,000 bpd. It produces about 453,000 bpd of refined products and uses 589,000 bpd, according to the Opec website.
Years of war, sanctions and underinvestment have ravaged Iraq's ability to produce enough fuel such as gasoline and diesel to meet growing domestic requirements, forcing it to buy imported fuel to plug the gap.
The country has said it plans to boost refining capacity as part of a $50 billion plan to revamp its investment-starved energy sector.-Reuters