Iraq, holder of the world’s third- largest crude oil reserves, plans to build four new refineries with a total capacity of 750,000 barrels a day as the country seeks to raise its fuel production to meet local demand.

The cabinet approved one plant to be built in the Kirkuk province in the north and another in the Maysan province in the south, Asim Jihad, spokes-man for the Oil Ministry, said in a telephone interview on Monday. Each refinery will have a capacity of 150,000 barrels a day.

The government also approved plans to build a 300,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Nasiriyah, which will export refined products when it is completed, and a 150,000 barrel-a-day plant in Karbala, Jihad said. International oil companies can bid on contracts to build the plants.

“The refineries will meet demand in the local market,” Jihad said. “Excess supply from the three smaller refineries will be exported.”

Iraq has struggled to alleviate shortages of gasoline, kerosene and diesel across the country because of attacks against the country’s oil pipeline network and a shortage of spare parts.

(Gulf News)