Shell Reaches a Deal With Iraq to Create Petrochemicals Plant

Jan 28, 2015 10:00 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

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Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has reached a deal with Iraq to create a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra, Iraqi Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi said on Wednesday.

During a press conference in Baghdad, Esawi said the Nibras complex, which should come on line by 2021, would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the entire Middle East.

"The Nibras complex will be one of the largest (foreign) investments (in Iraq) and the most important in the petrochemical sector in the Middle East," Esawi said, according to Reuters.

A Shell spokesman confirmed to Reuters that Iraq's cabinet authorized the deal on Jan. 13.

"Shell has been working with the Iraqi ministries of industry and minerals and jointly with the ministries of oil and transport to develop a joint investment model for a world-scale petrochemical cracker and derivative complex in the south of Iraq," Esawi added.

Shell signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nibras ministry for the project in 2012. 

The factory's anticipated output was not immediately clear, though Reuters reports that the deal is supposedly worth $11 billion.

Shell agreed earlier this month to pay a Nigerian fishing community more than 8 million as compensation for its part in the worst oil spill in Nigeria's history. The oil giant said a big remediation operation will occur within the next couple of months after an initial clean-up phase is completed.

Shell didn't say how long or how much this operation will cost however. The agreement did end a three-year legal battle between the two, according to Reuters.

Shell shares were down 0.6 percent to 2,178.50 pence per share on Wednesday morning. 

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