Iraq’s oil minister is nothing if not ambitious. But the country has little to no chance of meeting ambitious end-2018 targets on refining and export capacity.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi says 50% of 350,000 b/d capacity at the Baiji refinery north of Baghdad – trashed by IS in mid-2014 – will be up and running by the end of this year.

This is a substantially more ambitious timeline than previously indicated. In addition, the 350,000 b/d capacity figure, repeated...