OPEC oil producer Iraq will launch ‘Nibras’ project for the construction of the region’s largest petrochemical plant within a few days, its manager was quoted on Monday as saying.
Hussein Ali told the official Alsabah Arabic language daily that the project, a joint venture with the Royal Dutch Shell, could cost nearly $8.5 billion and would have a production capacity of around 1.8 million tonnes per year.
Ali said Nibras, based in the Southern oil hub of Basra, would generate net earnings of nearly $1.4 billion per year and that Shell would own 49 percent of its shares.
He noted that the project was signed in 2015 but was blocked by cash shortages and internal conflicts, adding that it would turn Iraq into a global petrochemical producer.
“We are now in the process of issuing ownership documents…this process could be completed within two weeks…the project is fully supported by the cabinet and I expect its foundation stone to be laid within a few days,” Ali said.
He told the paper that Nirbas would allow OPEC’s second largest oil producer to tap its massive gas resources and that it would generate scores of other projects in Basra.
The Iraqi Oil and Industry Ministries will control 51 percent of the project, believed to be the world’s fourth largest petrochemical complex.
Officials have said the project will be completed within 5-6 years and will generate total revenues of around $90 billion during its 35-year operational period.
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)