Oil Infrastructure Reconstruction on Track
Since Saddam Hussein's fall in April 2003, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has worked hard to return Iraq's oil industry to levels of production it once enjoyed. The work is nearing completion.
Officials from USACE's Gulf Region Division met Saturday with members of the media to discuss progress on several oil rehabilitation projects throughout Iraq.
"Our mission is to serve the people of Iraq by repairing, rebuilding and enhancing existing oil system components throughout the country to restore oil production capacity to pre-war levels," said Navy Capt. Rich Fritzley, GRD's sector lead for oil.
The total oil industry reconstruction program has several goals before the Corps of Engineers will be satisfied their work is complete, Fritzley said. The first goal is to increase crude oil production capacity to 3 million barrels per day. Other goals are to increase natural gas production capacity to 800 million standard cubic feet per day and to increase cooking gas production to 3,000 tons per day.
"Our budget for all projects is just over $1.7 billion, and we've spent $1.2 billion as of November," Fritzley said. "I feel very confident that when we finish this project in May 2007, we will have achieved our goals."
GRD's oil reconstruction program is comprised of 186 individual reconstruction projects, Fritzley said. Of that number, 96 have been completed. The remaining 90 projects are set to be finished by May.
Reconstruction projects have already had a giant impact on Iraq's oil industry, Fritzley said. As of last month, he explained, crude oil capacity is only 500,000 barrels per day below its goal of 3 million per day. Natural gas capacity is 200 standard cubic feet per day off of its goal of 800 standard cubic feet. Cooking gas production is still 1,600 tons per day behind its production goal of 3,000 tons.
Fritzley told reporters the production shortfalls, especially concerning cooking gas, would be remedied as more and more production facilities are rehabilitated and come on-line.
The effort to boost cooking oil production to 3,000 tons per day is itself a $136 million project that has been under way since February. It is scheduled for completion in May, but Iraqi citizens should see more cooking oil coming their way over the next few months, Fritzley said.
Fritzley described some of the key projects that will continue to get Iraq's oil industry up and running.
One of them is a $71 million project to install pipelines across the Tigris River, plus three canal crossings. The project was completed in June.
"Completion of this project was critical to restoring Iraq's oil export capacity, as well as helping to ensure continuity of crude oil supply to national refineries," Fritzley said.
Other key projects include rehabilitating oil wells, refurbishment of the oil export terminal near Basrah, repairing gas oil separation plants, compressor stations, water injection facilities and training oil workers.
Source: Multi-National Force-Iraq
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