(AFP, BAGHDAD) - Iraq has opened two new oil refineries in the north of the country, with an initial joint capacity of 10,000 barrels a day, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The refineries in Biji, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Baghdad, were built by the industry ministry and Iraq's Military Industrialisation Organisation, project director Hadi Jalub told the weekly Alef Ba.
"If this project had been carried out by a foreign company, it would have cost more than nine million dollars, but we did it for a third of the amount and in a shorter time," he said.
President Saddam Hussein ordered the construction at the end of 1998 and the refineries opened earlier this month, said Jalub.
In mid-June, the Iraqi leader called for 10 more oil refineries to be built around the country to meet domestic demand, running at an estimated 510,000 barrels a day.
Iraq, under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, has been exporting crude since December 1996 to finance imports of essential goods under a deal agreed with the United Nations.
© Agence France Presse 2000
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