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Iraq’s Oil Ministry and Shell are still negotiating the delicate issues of price and feedstock before they can finalize a planned $11bn petrochemicals project.
The giant Nebras project is not likely to enter into production before the end of the decade. This comes as the OPEC producer is forging ahead with plans to expand oil refining capacity by a further 800,000 b/d by 2018.
Decades of wars and sanctions between 1980 and 2003 have decimated Iraq’s downstream industry with the petrochemicals business nearly extinct. This has created twin problems for the oil producing state. It has forced flaring of associated gas, which has no outlet, and also an over-dependence on crude oil and other liquid fuels for power generation. An Integrated National Energy Strategy formulated last year is an effort to remedy the shortcomings of the once thriving energy sector. But upstream investment and activity have, so far, been the primary driver of energy policy in post-Saddam Iraq. (CONTINUED - 1648 WORDS)