by Omar Obeidat | Feb 24, 2013

AMMAN – Jordan and Iraq are expected to sign commercial and legal agreements this month to build a double pipeline to supply the Kingdom with crude oil and natural gas, a well informed Iraqi business leader said Sunday.

Iraqi Business Council (IBC) President Majid Saadi indicated that a tender to construct the $18 billion project is expected to be floated in March, saying that international giant developers from the US, Canada, China and Germany are interested in building the pipeline.

Jordanian officials could not be reached to comment on Saadi’s remarks.

Describing the project as “the largest economic event in the Arab world in 50 years”, Saadi explained that the pipeline will run from Iraq’s southern oil-producing region, Basra, to Anbar province and then to Jordan’s port city of Aqaba for exportation.

The feasibility study for the 1,680-kilometre pipeline to export 2.25 million barrels per day through Jordan will generate an estimated $2-$3 billion a year of revenues for the Kingdom, he added.

In addition to securing the Kingdom’s oil needs, 120,000-150,000 barrels a day, Saadi told reporters that the mega-project is expected to create around 10,000 jobs in Iraq and over 3,000 opportunities for Jordanian engineers and workers.

The double pipeline may include extending a sub-line to Jordan’s sole refinery in Zarqa, according to Jordanian and Iraqi officials.

Saadi made the remarks at a press conference to announce arrangements to launch the Basra investment forum that will be held in Amman between February 27 and 28.

The event will focus on the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline, according to organisers, who said that over 250 Iraqi, Jordanian and international investors are expected to take part in the forum, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

In an interview with Al Rai Arabic daily last week, Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Jawad Abbas said the project may include the possibility of constructing another refinery in Aqaba, some 320 kilometres south of Amman, with a capacity of refining 300,000 barrels per day, in addition to the possibility of establishing a special port in the city for the purpose of exporting Iraqi oil.