Iraq sets sights first in gas, then petrochemical sector
Iraq plans to build on its nascent gas sector to power a new petrochemicals industry, looking to foreign firms to invest $35-50 billion from 2017-2023, a senior official told Reuters. Mohammed Abdullah, a deputy minister with responsibility for companies, said the ambitious plan was to produce 10 million tonnes of petrochemicals a year during that period.
“The amount of investments which we could attract from this field to the country could reach $35 billion to more than $50 billion,” Abdullah told Reuters in an interview. “This is our current view and that could be revised upwards in the future,” he said. Abdullah said the ministry was in negotiations with Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Phillips Chemical to invest in some of the mooted projects.
Shell is in talks to build a petrochemicals factory that will cost at least $8-10 billion in the southern oil hub of Basra, Abdullah said, adding the firm had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ministry. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co is interested in rehabilitating a petrochemical factory in Basra and in building a new one, Abdullah said, without elaborating on the details.
Iraq in November signed a final $17 billion deal with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi to capture flared gas at southern oilfields, which is meant to help harness more than 700 million cubic feet per day (mcfd) of gas being burned off. It will handle 2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2017 officials say.
The gas projects will be used as feedstock for the petrochemicals industry and should also help to boost the country’s patchy power supply, officials say.
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