Reeling from Shell’s decision to suspend 12 years of on-off talks to build the long-hoped 1.5mn t/y Nebras ethane cracker in Basra (MEES, 16 February), Iraq’s cabinet on 27 February decided to “advance investment procedures” at the proposed 300,000 b/d Fao refinery at Iraq’s southern tip on the Shat al-Arab waterway. The project, for which state-firm South Refineries Co (SRC) and a subsidiary of China’s CNCEC signed a provisional deal in early 2022 (MEES, 7 January 2022), is slated to become the basis for an integrated 3mn t/y petchems facility.

The plant is planned as part of a broader ‘Fao Grand Port’ project for which Iraq’s finance ministry is to acquire the land and then “allocate the necessary land for the refinery project and future expansions.” The finance ministry is to retain a 20% stake in the project which will be managed by SRC in return for a fee. (CONTINUED - 222 WORDS)