English KURDI كوردي عربي
KIRKUK, Feb. 18 (AKnews) – Disputes with Baghdad in addition to other local disputes are hindering the construction of a new oil refinery in Kirkuk, says Kirkuk official.
The refinery is one of four projects that the Iraqi Oil Ministry tendered to foreign companies for final designs late October. The four refineries to be located in Kirkuk, Karbala, Nasiriyah and Ammara will have a total capacity of 740,000 bopd.
The designs are expected to be ready soon. The oil ministry had said earlier that the designs will be ready by early 2012.
Iraq exports about 2.5 million barrels of oil each day, but it suffers from a shortage of fuel for local consumption. Refined products have to be imported from neighbouring countries to cover up the shortages. The construction of the four refineries is expected to help the country produce adequate fuel for local use.
Mohammed Khalil al-Jubouri, an Arab member of the Kirkuk provincial council, told AKnews that “there are disputes between the oil ministry in Baghdad and the officials in Kirkuk about the whereabouts of the refinery”
Kirkuk officials have been requesting that the refinery be constructed between Kirkuk city and Dubiz town to the south – a location full of oil fields and oil pipelines.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry is rejecting the construction of the refinery there due to the pipelines and oil fields. And the local officials in Kirkuk are rejecting the location set by Baghdad
“The local government has not approved Baghdad’s proposal to build the refinery near Mulla Abdullah electricity station, also close to an irrigation project”
AKnews tried to contact officials from the committee responsible for the refinery project but they said they were not authorized to speak to the media about it.
Kirkuk is of multi-ethnic background and is one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The oil wealth is one of the main factors for the tension between the regional and the federal governments. While the KRG is trying to incorporate the province into the semi-autonomous region, Baghdad is trying to extend its control over the oil-rich province.
Kurds claim the province to be historically part of the Kurdistan Region. The province was subjected to an Arabization campaign under the former dictator during which Arabs from other parts of Iraq were urged to resettle in Kirkuk while Kurdish families were forced out of the province.
By Abdullah al-Amiri