Iraq braces for major decline in lucrative fuel trade

Heavy fuel oil exports have become a major revenue stream for Iraq, but new international regulations are projected to lower demand drastically.
The ship MT Baghdad, owned by the Al-Iraqia Shipping Services & Oil Trading (AISSOT) company. (Source: AISSOT)

New international shipping regulations are about to disrupt a heavy fuel oil (HFO) trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Iraq, creating additional urgency for the Oil Ministry to upgrade its outdated refining infrastructure.

Iraq currently exports about 55,000 barrels per day (bpd) of HFO, a byproduct of crude oil refining, which can be used to power large, industrial engines. But beginning in January 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is raising the standards for HFO that is burned in ships, drastically altering the market.

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