Q&A: Habib Abdul-Ameer Aoda, Deputy Manager of the FCC Project at Shuaiba Refinery

A long-delayed upgrade of Iraq's largest refinery is now moving forward, promising to boost high-octane fuel production and reduce dependence on imports.
Habib Abdul-Ameer Aoda, deputy manager of the FCC project at the Shuaiba refinery in Basra, at his office in February 2023. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - The Oil Ministry has long wanted to upgrade its refineries so that Iraq can extract more value from its crude, produce higher-quality fuels, and reduce dependence on costly imports.

But one major initiative — a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) project at the Shuaiba refinery in Basra — has been plagued by a series of delays since it was conceived a decade ago.

The project finally kicked off in April 2021, with the help of a $3.7 billion Japanese loan, and is now 37% complete, according to Engineer Habib Abdul-Ameer Aoda, the deputy manager of the FCC project, speaking in a recent interview with Iraq Oil Report.

The Shuaiba refinery is currently processing just over 200,000 bpd of crude, and when the FCC is installed it will produce 4,300 cubic meters of high-octane gasoline and other refined oil products that meet European environmental specifications, Aoda said.

Completion of all 34 units, including storage and support units, is now expected in September 2025. Once fully operational, the FCC will allow Iraq to attain self-sufficiency in gasoline production and end import dependency, he said.

A full transcript of the interview is available below for Iraq Oil Report subscribers.

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