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Q&A: Hossam Hussein Walli, director general of the South Refineries Company

An expansion of Iraq's largest refinery is re-starting after a two-year delay, but other projects are in limbo because high crude prices are squeezing margins for the state-run company.
Hossam Hussein Wali, director general of the South Refineries Company, in his office at the Shuaiba refinery on Oct. 27, 2020. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - The expansion of the 210,000 bpd Shuaiba refinery in Basra been delayed further by issues relating to entry visas for some contractors, with startup of a new 70,000 bpd processing units not expected before December 2022.

Work stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and has now resumed, but progress appears to be slow. The expansion is a crucial if Iraq is to ease reliance on imports of lighter end products like gasoline.

In an interview at his office in the Basra headquarters of the state-run South Refineries Company (SRC), Director General Hossam Hussein Walli discussed not only the Shuaiba expansion but also the status of other refineries in southern Iraq.

The company’s plans to expand or build new refineries have been stymied by financing challenges that have arisen because of a sharp increase in the price of crude feedstock, combined with limits on the price of fuel sold into Iraq's subsidized market.

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

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