Jordan OKs construction of oil pipeline from Iraq
AMMAN - Jordan has given the green light for the construction of a pipeline that would bring oil from southern Iraq to its port of Aqaba, a government spokesman said Tuesday.
In 2013, the neighbouring countries agreed on the idea of the 1,700-kilometre (1,000-mile) pipeline to run from Basra to the Red Sea port at a cost of $18 billion.
But plans for the pipeline -- which would run across Iraq -- were then put on hold after the Islamic State jihadist group in 2014 swept across large parts of the country.
Jordan's cabinet late Monday approved a framework agreement to be signed by both countries to build the pipeline to export Iraqi crude and provide resource-poor Jordan with oil, government spokesman Mohammed Momani said.
Momani did not give a timeframe for its construction.
Jordan relies on imports for 98 percent of its energy needs. It currently consumes 134,000 barrels per day and imports most of its oil from Saudi Arabia.
Oil-rich Iraq, which declared victory against IS nationwide in December, is seeking to boost production and exports to fund its reconstruction after years of war.
In 2013, an Iraqi official said his country would pump 850,000 barrels per day down the pipeline to Jordan, which would be enough to cover Jordan's needs and export the rest via Aqaba.
Iraq sits on one of the world's largest oil reserves -- 153 billion barrels by Baghdad's own estimates.
Iraq delivered oil to Jordan for preferential prices under the UN oil-for-food programme during the rule of late dictator Saddam Hussein.