Anglo-Dutch major Shell has inked a Heads of Agreement with the Iraq government for to build a $11 billion petrochemicals complex in southern, oil-rich Basra. Iraq’s Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi said Wednesday at a press conference that the Nibras facility would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the entire Middle East. It is scheduled to come online within 5-6 years.
Esawi said, “The Nibras complex will be one of the largest (foreign) investments (in Iraq) and the most important in the petrochemical sector in the Middle East.”
The project will encompass the development of a cracker and derivative facility. It will be the first major petrochemicals project in Iraq since the early 1990s. The facility will use ethane feedstock from gas captured by the Basra Gas Company, which is a Shell-led consortium.
The $11 billion project has been in the planning stages since feasibility studies started 3 years ago.
At the present time, Iraq has three petrochemical facilities: Musayeb near Baghdad, Khor al-Zubair in the south and the Baiji refinery in the north (which is Iraq’s largest). Each of them is operated by State Company for Petrochemical Industries.
A spokesperson for Shell told Reuters news that the Baghdad government have Shell permission to start the project on January 13. “Shell has been working with the Iraqi ministries of industry and minerals and jointly with the ministries of oil and transport to develop a joint investment model for a world-scale petrochemical cracker and derivative complex in the south of Iraq,” he said.