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Iraq Seeking Investors to Bolster Oil Export Pipeline Network

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq is seeking investors to help expand a network of oil pipelines that will enhance crude exports from OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

The Arab nation is working on a new link from oilfields in the south to the K3 pumping station at Haditha in the north, and building pipelines to ports in Jordan and Syria, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Shamaa said today in London.

The government is seeking an unspecified amount of funding for the project as it seeks to bolster production to 8 million barrels a day by 2018 from 3.4 million barrels. The north-south pipeline will have a capacity of 2.25 million barrels a day and the pipeline from Haditha to Aqaba in Jordan will have a capacity of 1 million barrels a day.

The timing of construction “depends on the response from investors,” Shamaa said in an interview. The government hopes to complete financial backing for the project by the end of next year, he said. Plans include construction of a second export pipeline through Syria with a capacity of 1 million barrels once unrest in the neighboring country ends, he said.

Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said Dec. 9 that the pipeline to Jordan will include a capacity of about 150,000 barrels to the refinery in Zarqa. About 500,000 barrels would be available to sell overseas, Shamaa said today.

The Iraqi oil ministry will own the pipeline from Basra to Haditha in a so-called “engineer, procure and construct,” or EPC, contract. The stretch from Haditha to Jordan will be owned privately under a 20-year concession.

Building a pipeline to Syria can’t be discussed until civil unrest in the country ends, Shamaa said.

Iraq began pumping crude through the “strategic pipeline” from Basra to Haditha, used to serve refineries and power generation facilities, al-Luaibi said.

The nation surpassed Iran to become the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries earlier this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net; Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net; Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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