The Jordanian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Hala Zawati, yesterday stated that Iraq has completed its preparations for the construction of a pipeline to transport about one million barrels of oil per day (bpd) from the Iraqi city of Basra through the port of Aqaba, on Jordan’s Red Sea coast. The project is estimated to cost $18 billion.
MP Jamal Gammoh, head of Jordan’s Lower House Energy Committee, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Iraqi and Jordanian parties are working to accelerate the preparations for the oil pipeline, which will be of great economic and developmental gain to both countries.
Gammoh added that the importance of the oil pipeline has been highlighted by the agreement recently signed by Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq on the extension of the pipeline to Egypt. Such an accord will be the foundation of the project during the next phase. Hence, under the agreement, the differences in transport costs and specifications – which will make up about $16 of the total cost of each barrel of crude oil – are to be deducted.
Gammoh also explained that the pipeline is expected to reach Egypt through the Red Sea from the city of Aqaba. As such, the pipeline will service Egypt’s oil needs, in addition to granting Iraqi oil a new export opportunity.
Zawati indicated in a press statement that the Iraqi Council of Ministers’ approval of the pipeline project would be followed by the signing of an agreement between Jordan and Iraq. At this point, the pipeline project will be extended from Basra to Jordan’s Zarqa oil refinery, passing through the Kingdom to the port of Aqaba and then international markets.
The Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals, Saleh Al-Jubouri, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed in February that Jordan will be supplied with 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, and that this constitutes seven per cent of Jordan’s needs under the agreements signed by both countries.
By sealing the pipeline’s deal, Jordan is attempting to meet its needs for crude oil, which is currently imported from Saudi Arabia at international prices by ship and then transported by tankers from Aqaba to the country’s sole oil refinery in Zarqa, east of Amman.
Iraq’s ambassador in Amman, Safia Al-Suhail, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed in an earlier statement that among the reasons that have led to delaying the implementation of the pipeline project was the unstable security conditions in areas through which the pipeline will pass.