18 June 2013 10:42 [Source: ICIS news]
(recasts with additional quote in seventh paragraph)
LONDON (ICIS)--Petrochemical sector growth will be part of the newly introduced Integrated National Energy Strategy that aims to push Iraq to the forefront of energy markets, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Rowsch Nuri Shaways, said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Iraq Petroleum 2013 conference in London, Shaways said: "We hope for Iraq to become a main exporter and producer of oil.
"Ease of production, relatively low production cost, unutilised oil fields, the possibility to export product in case of conflict in the region are Iraq's strengths," he said.
"Iraq possesses all [the] ingredients for energy growth, provided a stable political environment is ensured."
Despite having the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the world, Iraq has largely failed to meet its targets to increase its oil production, because of political setbacks and poor infrastructure.
Around 300 delegates have gathered at the Iraq Petroleum 2013 conference, along with senior figures from Iraq's national government and the international energy markets.
Chairman of the Advisory Commission to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Thamir Abbas Ghadhban, said: "We are looking at increasing our gas production, our ethane production. There is a good possibility for Iraq to become a petrochemical exporter."
"Development of hydrocarbon markets is key to Iraq's economy. Asian markets will be our main focus," he added.
Companies that have bid and won contracts in 2009-10 are targeting an increase in oil production capacity to, ultimately, 14m bbl/day, he said.
The immediate target is to hit 4.5m bbl/day by 2014. Ninety per cent of Iraq's annual budget currently relies on the country's oil revenue.
An increase in oil supply from Iraq could push oil prices downward in the coming years.
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