The Iraqi government are set to reveal large-scale investment opportunities in its refining industry.

Rebuilding and expanding Iraq’s antiquated refinery infrastructure is an urgent task for the Iraqi government, which plans to increase its refining capacity from 600,000 barrels per day to 1.5 million by 2017.

With the world’s third largest proven reserves of oil and gas, Iraq currently has eight refineries, producing approximately 890 million barrels per day, with five more in the pipeline. These have the potential to produce LPG, gasoline, kerosene and ATK, gas oil, heavy gas oil, sulphur, blown asphalt, fuel oil and electrical power.

Abbas al-Hussaini, chief executive officer of Symexco, remarks: “Iraq is looking to enlist private companies to build new refineries with the combined ability to process 740,000 barrels per day of crude oil, which would enable it to become a net fuels exporter.”

“Iraq has an abundance of raw materials, an educated workforce and an unrealised gas sector and this conference provides a crucial tipping point for international investors to meet decision makers and key figures in the Iraqi administration to engage in building Iraq’s economic future,” he adds.

This month Iraq’s oil output exceeded three million barrels per day, a figure which has not been achieved for over three decades. Iraq will take over the OPEC presidency (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) this year.

Iraq’s 2011 GDP growth was almost 10%, according to the Central Bank of Iraq, and growth is expected to grow five fold in the next five years.

Iraq deputy Prime Minister for energy, H.E Hussein Al-Shahrestani will announce the investment opportunities at the Iraq refinery 2012 conference in London on 17 -18 April. The conference will outline major incentives for foreign investment, including discounted oil and acreage.

“We plan to double our domestic refining capacity to reduce our reliance on imports of refined products,” says Al-Shahrestani. “In April at the conference, we will be sharing our future strategy for energy and how we wish to partner with global industry leaders to ensure Iraq takes its rightful place as one of the leading producers of oil and gas.”