Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    Can Iraq Finally Become a Global Petrochemicals Powerhouse?

    Iraq has long had plans to become a major player in the global petrochemicals market, using its vast oil and gas resources to produce high-value products and generate significant revenues. The Nebras Petrochemical Project (NPP) in the south of the country has been a key part of these plans, with talks taking place last week to move the project forward after years of delays.

    The NPP was first proposed in 2015, with Shell signing a deal to build the $11 billion complex in Basra. The project aimed to produce 1.8 million metric tonnes per year of various petrochemicals, making it the country’s first major petchems plant since the 1990s. However, Shell faced numerous challenges, including logistical problems and the pervasive corruption that has plagued Iraq’s oil and gas industry.

    Iraq’s reputation for corruption, as highlighted by Transparency International, has hindered the progress of foreign companies in the country. Shell signed the NPP deal during a period when Iraq lost billions of dollars in cash compensation payments, which were likely bribes and corruption payments. This environment made it difficult for Shell to move forward with the project.

    Despite these challenges, Iraq has the potential to become a global petrochemicals powerhouse. The country has vast oil and gas reserves, and the NPP could help it capitalize on these resources. By producing high-value petrochemical products and utilizing the gas currently being flared, Iraq could generate significant revenues and establish itself as a major player in the Middle East.

    However, it remains to be seen whether Iraq can overcome the obstacles that have hindered its petrochemicals ambitions in the past. The recent talks to ratify a final concept for the NPP are a positive step forward, but more progress is needed to bring the project to fruition. If successful, Iraq could finally realize its potential as a global petrochemicals powerhouse.

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    – Transparency International: [insert URL]