By Sgt. Raymond Quintanilla, USD-S Public AffairsDecember 20, 2010
BASRA- Iraq -- The South Refinery Company, an Iraqi Government-owned oil company in Basra, has gained the attention of United States Division-South for its ingenuity and resourcefulness in repairing parts of its facility that had been inoperable for decades.
Brig. Gen. Randal Dragon, the deputy commanding general for support with the 1st Infantry Division and United States Division-South, and Barry Kountz, senior oil advisor with the Basra Provincial Reconstruction Team paid a visit to the SRC to see the refinery's progress firsthand.
Without any American assistance, the Iraqis repaired the refinery's industrial wastewater treatment facility, which had been out of commission for more than two decades.
Abdl Husain Qasim, the director general for the oil company, said he and the company's senior engineer started working on solutions eight months ago to resolve the wastewater problem, which had been forgotten during years of war.
"We found that most of the pumps were not working," said Qasim. "Five pumps were idle and all the spare parts were depleted."
Qasim said that the majority of the parts needed to make the repairs were manufactured through the skillfulness of the company workers and the use of their machinery.
"We repaired all of the pumps," Qasim said. "We were successful in completely separating the oil from the water, channeled the oil back to the tanks for processing crude oil, and the wastewater is very clear, free of oil content."
"To this day, we are not encountering any problems with the wastewater treatment facility."
Kountz commended them for their resourcefulness.
"This was a total Iraqi-manned project. They took the initiative to assess the problem and fix the problem on their own," said Kountz of the second largest oil refinery in Iraq.
The repairs made to the facility allowed the company to avoid an $18 million fine that would have been imposed by the Ministry of Environment.
The company has also gone the extra mile the last several months by cleaning up areas outside its boundaries.
The SRC produces liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene, benzene, gasoline, and has a lube oil refinery, which produces a variety of lube oil.
The company is preparing for the future with new installation plans being discussed, said Qasim.
"We currently have signed contracts and plans to install a Maysan refinery," said Qasim. "We are also studying and discussing the installation of the largest refinery in the Middle East."