Self-sufficiency for oil derivatives claimed

Iraq ‘positioned’ to lead in renewable energy market

BAGHDAD — Mudhar Saleh, the financial advisor to the Prime Minister, and Hamed Al-Zobaie, the Deputy Minister of Oil, have both highlighted significant developments in Iraq’s energy sector, focusing on the country’s renewable energy potential and strides toward self-sufficiency in petroleum products.

Saleh emphasized Iraq’s exceptional potential in the renewable energy market, particularly in solar power, due to the country’s extensive sunlight exposure. He noted, “Iraq is among the few countries blessed with an abundance of sunlight, making it ideally suited for solar energy production,” underscoring Iraq’s capability in the renewable energy realm and the importance of transitioning into renewable energy usage to comply with carbon-neutral commitments.

He highlighted the critical need for diversifying energy sources and the escalating demand for energy production, which is now double what it used to be. Saleh detailed ongoing efforts to diversify Iraq’s economy by reducing the oil sector’s dominance and moving from being an importer of petroleum products—such as gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, which are refined from crude oil and used in various sectors including transportation and manufacturing, and cost over $5 billion—to becoming an exporter.

Conversely, Al-Zobaie detailed the ministry’s phased plan for achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum products, marking significant progress in reducing imports. He confirmed that all kerosene available in the market is now produced domestically, and gasoline imports have been minimized, expected to reach zero within the current year following the inauguration of the Karbala and North refineries.

He outlined the North Refinery’s rehabilitation over seven months and its subsequent operational status, producing millions of liters of gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and heavy fuel oil daily, generating approximately $9.5 million daily based on global prices. “The importation of kerosene and diesel has ceased with the North Refinery’s activation. By this year, we aim to halt all imports of petroleum products,” Al-Zobaie stated, highlighting the refineries’ support for the development of other petrochemical industries and the modernity of the Karbala Refinery.

Iraq’s longstanding reliance on oil, which has historically trumped the exploration of renewable energy sources, means the country’s potential for solar energy remains largely untapped. Despite possessing one of the highest solar irradiance levels globally, Iraq’s energy policies have to date predominantly favored its vast oil reserves, hindering significant investment in solar infrastructure.

Iraq's ministry of industry expands solar energy system production and installation

Iraq's ministry of industry expands solar energy system production and installation