Khawaldeh calls for cooperation among public and private sectors in both countries
by Mohammad Ghazal | Feb 27, 2013

AMMAN — Jordan and Iraq on Wednesday officially announced plans for building an $18 billion pipeline to export crude oil from Basra to Jordan’s port city of Aqaba.

An agreement is expected to be reached soon between the two countries to start the process of floating tenders to implement the scheme, Jordanian and Iraqi officials said Wednesday during the Basra Investment Conference, which attracted more than 250 Jordanian, Iraqi and international investors.

“Today, we are here to announce this mega-project between Iraq and Jordan, which enjoy historic distinguished ties,” Iraqi Business Council (IBC) President Majid Saadi said during the forum.

He added that the project will help enhance cooperation between the two countries and help boost the Jordanian economy, noting that Iraqi investments in Jordan in different sectors exceed $11 billion.

Stressing the importance of the project, Basra Governor Khalaf Al Khalaf said the pipeline will be used to export Basra’s crude oil production that stands currently at 2.3 million barrels per day.

“Basra’ current production of oil accounts for 70 per cent of Iraq’s total oil production…we need a gateway to export this oil and Jordan is the best option,” the Iraqi official said in remarks to the press on the sidelines of the forum.

“In 2017, Basra’s oil production will reach 17 million barrels per day. Therefore, this pipeline is crucial for Basra’s exports,” he added, stressing that both countries will benefit from the implementation of the project.

The project, which will also provide Jordan of its needs of oil, will create about 10,000 jobs in Iraq and Jordan, Khalaf indicated.

“The Port of Aqaba is a strategic location for us and we are determined to go ahead with the scheme as soon as possible,” he said.

The pipeline will generate $3 billion a year in revenues to Jordan, the governor added.

At the opening of the forum, Public Sector Development Minister Khleef Al Khawaldeh underlined the importance of the event and said it provides an opportunity for networking and looking into joint projects.

He also called for cooperation among the public and private sectors in Jordan and Iraq.

During the two-day forum, participants will also look into commercial and economic ties between Amman and Baghdad, in addition to addressing business obstacles facing investors from both countries.