Iraq’s 7,000 km pipeline problem


Iraq will need to build some 7,000 km of new pipeline if it is to meet its target of exporting more than 10 Mbpd by 2017, according to David Stanley, Chief Executive of the Penspen Group.

Speaking at the Iraq Future Energy 2010 Conference in Istanbul, Stanley underlined the need to repair and reinforce Iraq's two existing major export routes, the Iraq-Turkey pipeline in the North and Basra Terminal in the South. He also said the war-torn country would have to reinforce the 'Strategic Pipeline' network and build new pipelines to Banias, Aqaba and possibly Yanbu.

The upgrades, extensions and new pipelines required to export the 10 million bpd the government hopes to achieve, will cost an estimated US$12 billion excluding other supporting infrastructure. But given Iraq's enormous reserves, the investment would easily pay for itself. Experts estimate that Iraq's existing reserves could bring in US$180 billion dollars a year for several decades to come.

"The immediate activities will focus on preventing any further decline in the principal existing pipelines, after which a range of options such as additional pumping stations, flow enhancement and looping, can deliver early capacity growth within the framework of developing the fully upgraded export system," said Stanley. "The financial and economic justifications for this investment of up to US$12 billion are absolutely compelling."

He added, "The most likely constraint on achieving these targets is the availability of adequate numbers of educated and trained oil industry engineers and technicians."

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