Jordan on Tuesday formed a committee tasked with paving the way for the construction of a pipeline to carry Iraqi oil to the kingdom, Information Minister Taleb Rifai told reporters.
"The council of ministers decided to set up a preparatory committee to execute the pipeline project in Jordan in coordination with Iraq," Rifai said at the end of a weekly cabinet meeting.
The committee, including experts from the finance and energy ministries and the central bank, was asked to "prepare a feasibility study of the project and a memorandum of understanding" with the Iraqi government and the firm which will be selected for the job, he said.
Jordan depends on Iraq for all of its oil needs and will import five million tonnes of crude in 2001 under an agreement between the two countries, up from 4.8 million tones in 2000.
The oil is transported by tanker trucks across the desert from Iraq to the Jordanian refinery at Zarka, northeast of Amman.
Under the new plan which has been under discussion between Baghdad and Amman in recent years a 750-kilometer (465 mile) pipeline will feed Zarka at an estimated cost of $350 million.
Jordan and Iraq have been discussing means to finance the pipeline.-AFP.
(c)--Agence France Presse.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )