A stable Iraq offers potential for 'one or two crackers'

12 November 2003 16:45  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNI)--Iraq has become an "intriguing opportunity" for petrochemicals investment and could potentially attract investment in one or two ethylene crackers, Robert Bauman, vice president for polymers at Nexant Chem Systems said here Wednesday.

The timing of any petrochemicals investment in Iraq is the key issue, he told CNI, "but if the country stabilises, we assume that at least one or two crackers could be built."

When the country stabilises, perhaps next year, the first focus for investments will be oil "and after that, petrochemicals," Bauman said. "But it might be five years before [the crackers] are built."

And, he said he believes those crackers would focus on the export market.

Bauman told delegates here at Nexant ChemSystems’ annual Latin American seminar that Iraq, which has a modest petrochemical industry, "has fast become an intriguing opportunity".

About 70% of existing gas is associated, and the country has a strong gas demand for power, he said.

Bauman expects many petrochemicals players to be interested in investing in production in Iraq. "My guess is that ExxonMobil would be one of the ones most interested," he said.

US-based ExxonMobil originally assessed opportunities to build petrochemicals capacity in Iraq when it was considering investing in Saudi Arabia, he said.

By: Anna Jagger
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