Iraq petrochemicals industry has a bright future?

Just found a fascinating article on the potential for chemical industry growth in Iraq. It is very difficult to get accurate information out of this country, so the report by the Global Arab Network, quoting the Iraqi National Investment Commission is well worth reading.

It describes the country’s existing oil and chemical infrastructure and points out the projected requirement for millions of new homes – a key driver for chemical-industry production. With the West now pulling out, stability will be the key to future developments.

Here is a list of plants in Iraq according to the free ICIS plants and projects database:


Basrah Petrochemical Complex Iraq Basrah Caustic soda 6500 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical Complex Iraq Basrah Chlorine 6000 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical Complex Iraq Basrah Ethylene 132000 tonne/year Operating Thyssen Rheinstahl Technik GmbH
Basrah Petrochemical Complex Iraq Basrah Polyethylene high density 30000 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical Complex Iraq Basrah Polyethylene low density 60000 tonne/year Operating
State Company of Fertilizers Southern Region Iraq Khor al Zubair Ammonia 350000 tonne/year Not known Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd – (MHI)
State Company of Fertilizers Southern Region Iraq Khor al Zubair Ammonia 350000 tonne/year Not known Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd – (MHI)
State Company of Fertilizers Southern Region Iraq Khor al Zubair Urea 560000 tonne/year Not known Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd – (MHI)


State Company of Fertilizers Southern Region Iraq Khor al Zubair Urea 560000 tonne/year Not known Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd – (MHI)



Here are some excerpts from the report:

“The southern oil regions are anchored by Basrah and the ports. In Basrah, the State Company for Petrochemical Industry (SCPI) operates the country’s largest petrochemical processing facility, plus a fertilizer company. However, much of the infrastructure of the plants is now outdated. Throughout the 1990’s, the Basra complex lacked access to new technology, spare parts or investment. Investment is needed to transform the Basra complex into a state-of-the-art facility.

“Existing infrastructure makes Basra an obvious location for the industry to expand. In addition, Iraq’s primary deepwater port is nearby at Umm Qasr. Basra is also linked by rail and expressway to Baghdad, with the Al Daura Refinery and northern Iraq.

“The demand for petrochemical products in Iraq is substantial. The range of possible products that could be produced in Iraq will find a ready market, whether it be fuels, lubricants, plastics, fertilizer or chemicals in both international and local markets.

“Examples of growing demand are below:

Production needs (PVC pipes, gaskets and injection moldings)

The Iraqi National Investment Commission believes that the construction industry will be booming for years to come. For example, the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing estimated a domestic need to build three million new homes by 2015. In addition, the World Bank estimated that Iraq will need $18 billion in infrastructure projects before 2007. With this high level of construction happening in Iraq, PVC pipes and other plastic building components will be in high demand.

“The Ministry of Oil plans to double refining capacity by the end of 2010, which points to a sizeable increase in demand for soft and hard plastics used in refinery facilities.

“Product packaging

As domestic production of foodstuffs and other products increases and diversifies, product packaging will have to meet this increased demand. Boxes, crates, packaging, film, tape and additional products made from plastics and other derivatives will be in demand.

“Agriculture

There is great potential to increase production in the agricultural sector. As agricultural production expands, the need for fertilizers will need to keep pace. There are also export opportunities for fertilizers. Agricultural plastic film used to increase crop yield can also be produced in the Basra petrochemical complex; demand for the product should grow in tandem with demand for fertilizer.

“Basic Plant and Port Infrastructure

A large petrochemical complex in Basra includes several plants, producing propane, butane, liquefied natural gas, ethylene, high- and low-density polyethylene, chlorine, PVC, and hydrochloric acid. The seven-unit complex is operational and an independent review identified the potential for ISO 9000 quality control certification.

“Basra offers significant port capacity for exports and would allow for industrial clustering as has occurred elsewhere in the world. Basra’s location and superior access to crude oil suggest such a strategy.

“The plant will be assisted by the implementation of plans by the Ministry of Transport to develop a huge deep-water port to the south of Basra with a design capacity of 100 berths, for which bids have been issued. The new port will greatly increase access to the Gulf. The project includes a rail link to Khor Zubayr, and a highway and underwater tunnel along the border with Kuwait; plans to further develop Khor Zabayr and Umm Qasr ports are also underway.”

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