Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 15 Jul 2008

From MNF-I, Al Doura Refinery Looking for Alternative Energy Sources.

BAGHDAD — In the Doura district of Baghdad, security is improved near one of Iraq’s older oil refineries.

Al Doura refinery, a rusting relic of Saddam’s pervasive neglect of oil infrastructure, wouldn’t seem to be the likely bastion of wind and solar energy for Iraqi leadership.

Dathar Al Hasan Taheen, directorate general and general manager of Midland Refinery Company for the Ministry of Oil, has many responsibilities at al Doura. Most of his hours are spent trying to keep the refineries under his charge producing diesel and gasoline to feed the nation’s growing thirst for petroleum products.

His other principle challenge is getting enough crude oil from the Basra oilfields of southern Iraq. For his refinery operations to operate efficiently, he must have abundant supplies of raw crude to generate refined products.

The directorate general deals with all too common pipeline flow disruptions - spurring from maintenance neglect, insurgent attacks and common thievery. He also manages daily logistical issues associated with trucking gasoline to Baghdad area petrol stations.

“Going green isn’t just a trend in the U.S. and other western nations,” said Taheen. “I am an oilman so I should be interested in all types of energy. We think we are a little behind in researching and developing alternative energy sources; we are an oil producing country but this is no reason not to look toward the future.”

Of particular interest is tapping into wind and solar energy sources. With the assistance and mentorship of engineers from the Gulf Region Division, Taheen thinks he has a plan that can be implemented.

“The people of Iraq need more power and what Dathar Taheen is proposing is going to supply more power,” said Gary Vogler, GRD energy sector engineer who worked with Taheen since 2003. “If the electricity is directed to the refinery there will be more power on the grid for the rest of the population. Also, in the rural areas that have little or no connectivity to the grid, the solar panels and wind farms he wants to bring to Iraq could help satisfy these isolated pockets’ quest for power.”

With Vogler’s assistance, and guidance from officials with Multi National Force – Iraq’s Energy Fusion Cell, Taheen is assembling a team of resource professionals that can assist his move from the drawing board to implementation.