Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects (Scop) has reportedly awarded France's Technip a €20m ($25.2m) front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the construction of a new refinery in Karbala.

Potentially adding to the growing gas demand in the Middle East region, according to Technip the refinery will have a total capacity of 140,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) and the project will include 18 process units, utilities, offsite facilities, infrastructure and a power plant.

In a story purported by MEED news agency, it’s suggested that the refinery is expected to produce liquid petroleum gas, gasoline, jet fuel, diesel oil, asphalt and fuel oil, mainly for the domestic Iraqi market.

For its part, Technip expects to complete the FEED in the first half of 2010.

Scop, the engineering arm of the Oil Ministry, is also believed to be close to awarding FEED contracts to Foster Wheeler for the Nasiriyah refinery and to the US' Stone & Webster for the Kirkuk and Missan refineries, MEED says.

Iraq's four existing refineries, at Daura, Basra and the twin facilities at Baiji in the north, have a total refining capacity of just under 600,000 bpd, while demand stands at about 570,000 bpd, according to the US' Energy Information Administration.