Iraq says pipeline to Jordan, Egypt open for investment

Iraq had denied reports that it would fund a USD-multi-billion project to construct an oil pipeline to Jordan and Egypt, saying the project would be financed by the executing companies on an investment basis, an Iraqi news agency reported on Sunday.

The Iraqi Media Network quoted a government official as saying there is no change in an agreement reached between Iraq and Jordan regarding the pipeline and that several international firms have already been shortlisted for the mega project.

“We are still sticking to the plan to carry out this project through investment not direct financing. We have already received bids from some international consortiums,” said Thamer Al Ghadban, head of the consultants’ committee in the Iraqi cabinet.

“There is no change whatsoever in the agreement about this pipeline project, which is based on a contract signed between the oil ministry and a consultancy company..this company is preparing studies for the project on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis.”

Ghadban, who was reacting to reports by Jordan’s Al Ghad newspaper that Baghdad has decided to finance the pipeline project, said funding would totally come from the investors while Iraq would pay “a commission to investors to be agreed upon later.”

He said Jordan would benefit from the project by getting commission fees for the passage of the pipeline through its territory as well as cheap oil and gas supplies.

“This is a purely investment project. Several consortiums have already bought project documents and expressed interest in undertaking the project. So there is no change in the Iraqi government’s position,” he said.

The 1,680-kilometre double pipeline will pump one million bpd of crude and nearly 258 million cubic feet of natural gas from Basra on the Gulf to Jordan’s Aqaba Port.

In September, the US Wall Street Journal said Iraq has shortlisted 12 international companies to build the USD18-billion oil export pipeline.

It said Lukoil of Russia, Mitsui of Japan, Larsen &Toubro and Go Gas of India, Italy’s Saipem and China National Petroleum Corp were among the shortlisted firms.

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