Citigroup May Fund Iraq-Jordan Pipeline

By John Lee.

Forty companies are reported to be bidding for contracts to build and finance the new pipeline from Haditha to Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba (pictured).

Nateq Balasem Khalaf, deputy director general of the state State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), told Bloomberg that Citibank is among the bidders, adding that other interested banks and companies are from Russia, South Korea, Japan, Italy, China, Egypt, Jordan, and Germany.

The new crude pipeline would carry 1 million barrels a day, including 150,000 barrels a day for Jordan’s domestic consumption, and the rest for export, while the gas pipeline would transport 252 million cubic feet a day, of which 100 million cubic feet would be exported to Jordan.

SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC) is advising the government on ways to build new routes to export oil currently shipped via pipeline to Turkey and by sea through the Persian Gulf.

Khalaf said that the government plans to build and finance a separate section of the network itself to Haditha from Basra, for which it will ask for bids from pipeline suppliers by the end of the year.

Citigroup, a U.S. lender scaling back in some emerging markets, plans to open offices and branches in Iraq to benefit from an estimated $1 trillion of infrastructure spending there, Mayank Malik, the bank’s chief executive officer for Jordan, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories, said in a June 27 interview.

Iraq will start operating its third offshore export facility for crude by the end of the year and plans to upgrade its two onshore terminals at Basra and Khor al-Amaya, Khalaf said. The government is building 16 crude-storage tanks in the southern port of al-Faw, each with a capacity of 58,000 cubic feet. Four are operational, another four are to be completed by the end of July and the rest by year-end, he said.

Iraq is on track to increase crude exports to 3.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2013, Khalaf said. The country produced 3.15 million barrels a day to 3.2 million barrels a day on average in June, according to an e-mailed Oil Ministry statement on June 29.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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