Baghdad plans to sign energy contracts worth tens of billions of dollars with Riyadh, the state newspaper Al-Sabaah reported, citing Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar.
Baghdad is discussing a partnership with Saudi Aramco to explore and develop natural gas fields in Iraq’s western desert, it said.
It added that the Iraqi government is also in talks with Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power to build water desalination plants and solar energy stations in Iraq. The two countries are also discussing joint petrochemical projects.
The talks focused on establishing long-term relationships that allow Iraq to benefit from Acwa Power’s flexibility in implementing low costs and high-efficiency projects.
He explained that the Ministry of Oil and the Saudi SABIC Company have been in “intensive and positive” talks since April, which led to a special memorandum that will be presented to the Iraqi government.
The government is expected to discuss the Saudi company’s participation in an investment in the Nibras petrochemical project in Basra under an agreement between the Energy Ministry and Royal Dutch Shell to establish a petrochemical complex with a capacity of 1,800 tons annually.
The minister hoped there would be a clear law regulating and protecting Saudi, Emirati, and foreign companies operating in the country.
The Iraqi National Oil Company signed agreements with major international energy companies, including the French Total, the UAE’s Masdar, and the Norwegian Scatec.
The contracts will provide revenues and added profits to the Iraqi market and offer thousands of job opportunities.
The minister noted that it is natural for Saudi companies to be interested in a country such huge as Iraq.
Saudi Arabia sees that the sustainable development plans in the two countries fall in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its institutional frameworks.