Shell, Iraq ink deal for petrochemicals complex

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has entered a preliminary agreement with Iraq to construct an $11-billion grassroots petrochemicals complex in the country’s southern province of Basra, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals (MIM).

The proposed 1.8 million-tonne/year complex, which would become the world’s fourth largest, will include an ethane cracker for processing currently untapped resources from the region, MIM said.

Recently signed at ministry headquarters in Baghdad by Hans Nijkamp, Shell’s vice-president and country chairman in Iraq, this latest agreement follows a memorandum of understanding for the project Shell and the ministry signed in 2012, MIM said.

A firm timeline for construction and commissioning of the proposed complex was not disclosed.

While Shell made no direct mention of the Iraqi project in its latest quarterly earnings presentation to investors on Jan. 29, Ben Van Beurden, the company’s chief executive officer, did indicate Shell continues to evaluate petrochemical-related ventures, despite the recent cancellation of its proposed Al Karaana complex in Qatar (OGJ Online, Jan. 14, 2015).

“We’re working hard to reach [final investment decisions] on three new chemicals projects, with a total of 2.7 million tpy of capacity,” Van Beurden said.

Whether the company actually will take FID on any of the three unidentified projects, however, remains uncertain, added Van Beurden.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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