Jordan to Conduct Feasibility Study on Pipeline with Iraq

In Amman, Jordan the Council of Ministers decided on October 12th to start conducting a feasibility study on constructing an oil pipeline linking the Kingdom with its oil-rich eastern neighbor, Iraq.

Minister of State and Government Spokesperson Asma Khadr told reporters following a weekly cabinet session that the study will be conducted in line with a recent understanding reached between energy officials of both countries.

A source at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources told The Jordan Times that the pipeline would link Jordan's sole refinery in the industrial city of Zarqa with the Iraqi oil pumping station in Haditha, 260 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.

Negotiations between Amman and Baghdad to construct the pipeline started a few years ago but were halted following the US-led war on Iraq.

The source said the pipeline might be constructed on a build-operate-own (BOO) basis. "However, such technical matters will be decided later on," he said.

The pipeline will be constructed with an expected capacity to transport 350,000 barrels of crude a day.

Before the war, Iraq used to supply Jordan with all its oil needs, amounting to 5 to 6 million tons annually. The Kingdom now relies on Arab Gulf countries to secure its oil needs.

Also, the cabinet approved the minutes of meetings recently signed by Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon to include Iraq in a gas pipeline designed to carry Egyptian gas to Jordan and later to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Europe.

The pipeline originates from Al-Arish gas fields and extends to Taba on the Egyptian side, then stretches to Aqaba where the first stage ends. From there it extends to the northern parts of the Kingdom where the second stage, implemented on a build-operate-own-and-transfer (BOOT) basis, concludes. The proposed inter-regional pipeline will extend to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and the rest of Europe.