Baiji Refinery

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Baiji, located roughly 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, is Iraq's largest refinery[1] and supplies 11 Iraqi provinces with refined petroleum products.[2] It was built in 1982[3] and is part of a complex that includes a thermal power plant, also the largest in the country, which is a major contributor to Baghdad's electricity supply.[4]

Baiji is operated by the the North Refineries Company.[5] According to the IEA in 2012, Baiji, like other refining infrastructure in Iraq, was in urgent need of upgrading.[6]


According to a leaked US diplomatic cable, the "design capacity" at Basra in 2009 was 310,000 barrels per day (bpd), accounting for 40 percent of the country's overall design capacity. However the distinction is highlighted between "design capacity" and "operational capacity", noting that the BOR has an operational capacity of approximately 75 percent of its design capacity, largely due to difficulties in acquiring spare parts for maintenance, damage caused by unreliable electricity supplies, the long-term effects of the sanctions period, and a shortage of highly skilled workers. As of early 2009 total operations capacity was approximately 65,000 bpd (or 10%) lower than design capacity.[7]

As of mid-2011, the Baiji refinery was functioning at about 70 percent of its 310,000 barrel per day (bpd) capacity, according to Arab News.[8] However other press sources estimate total capacity at the lower figure of 300,000 bpd.[9] However this could be a result of a lack of clarity over production levels and "design capacity".

On 22 November 2011 the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a loan of $35 million for Iraq to upgrade engineering services to modernise the Baiji refinery,[10] and on 28 November US-based firm Honeywell announced it had obtained a contract to upgrade the refinery's control and process system.[11]


The refinery was heavily damaged during bombing in 1991 Gulf War.[12] In the years following the 2003 invasion Baiji's supply chain, especially a pipeline carrying crude oil from the supergiant Kirkuk field, was the subject of repeated attacks by insurgents and organised crime syndicates. The refinery itself was also targeted, and production was interrupted on numerous occasions.[13] Baiji was shut down again in late February 2011 when insurgents detonated several bombs, killing two people and damaging several units.[14] The attack halted the production of around 150,00 bpd of petroleum products,[15] but production levels returned to normal in early March 2011.[16]


  1. "All units at Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery re-started", Arab News, 25 June 2011.
  2. "UPDATE 2-Iraq Baiji refinery says restarts partial operation", Reuters, 28 February 2011.
  3. "Iraq's Baiji refinery 'back to normal'", France 24, 4 March 2011.
  4. "Bayji [Beiji]", Global Security, retrieved 14 December 2011.
  5. "The biggest 25 refineries in the Middle East", Arabian Oil and Gas, retrieved 14 December 2011.
  6. "Iraq Energy Outlook", IEA, 12 November 2012.
  7. "Iraqi Refineries Present And Future", Wikileaks, 8 January 2009.
  8. "All units at Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery re-started", Arab News, 25 June 2011.
  9. "Baiji refinery’s capacity reach 300,000 barrels per day – ministry", Iraqi News, 21 March 2011.
  10. "[ Japan to provide USD 871 mln for Iraqi oil refinery, network projects", Kuwait News Agency 22 November 2011.
  11. "Honeywell Has $360 Mln Of Contracts In Iraq - Executive", Wall Street Journal 28 February 2011.
  12. "Bayji [Beiji]", Global Security, retrieved 14 December 2011.
  13. "Iraq Pipeline Watch" Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, 27 March 2008.
  14. "[ Iraq's 310,000 b/d Baiji refinery shut after bomb attack", Platts 26 February 2011.
  15. "Bombing Damages Iraq’s Largest Oil Refinery", New York Times, 26 February 2011.
  16. "Iraq's Baiji refinery 'back to normal'", France 24, 4 March 2011.