Iraq - Next Petrochemicals Hot Spot?

map : http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/6804.htm

Having recently read the excellent analysis of 'The Journey of Post-War Hydrocarbon Development in Iraq' by Ann-Marie Carberry of Contax Partners, I wonder whether Iraq is a likely future hotspot for petrochemicals development.

Iraq has substantial oil reserves, together with very significant amounts of associated gas. Much of the gas is currently flared (estimates indicate that as much as 60% is flared).

Very recently, the International Energy Agency identified Iraq, UAE and Angola as centres of supply growth in oil and gas supplies.

Now the government has recognised and is fully committed to developing the oil and gas industry. This means huge new investment and a complete rebuild of the infrastructure, including ports and transportation networks.

However Iraq also has significant internal needs for petrochemicals as it rebuilds housing and other buildings destroyed during the years of conflict.  Current production capacity is limited - the Basrah Petrochemical Complex has a small cracker and associated downstream plants but there is nothing of the same scale as new plants in nearby GCC Countries.

As with other Middle Eastern countries, developing a petrochemicals industry also brings jobs - an essential requirement for post-war stability in the country.

The challenges will be significant. EPC costs will be higher due to the security risk and lack of skilled labour locally. Lack of infrastructure will make projects more difficult to implement.

However with abundant gas and a need to develop, there is clearly potential for those who wish to develop this region and market

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