French oil major Total is studying plans to build a world-scale petrochemicals complex in the south of Iraq.

Total signed a preliminary agreement with the Industry & Minerals Ministry in November 2013 to carry out a feasibility study for a complex at Basra, according to AFP news agency, citing Patrick Pouyanne, president of the company’s refining and chemicals division.

No further details were announced on the project’s time frame or value.

Total is a partner at the 4.1 billion barrel Halfaya oil field in the east of Iraq, along with the operator, China National Petroleum Corporation and Malaysia’s Petronas.

The French firm is not the only international energy company looking at potential investments in Iraq. UK/Dutch Shell Group is close to signing a heads of agreement with the Iraqi government for the construction of an ethane cracker, also at Basra. Shell signed a memorandum of understand (MoU) with the ministry in May 2012 for a feasibility study focusing on a petrochemicals plant.

Iraq petrochemical projects
Company (Country) Details Status
Total (France) Petrochemicals complex at Basra Preliminary agreement signed in November 2013 for feasibility study.
Shell Group (UK/Dutch) Planned to utilise ethane from associated gas captured in southern oil fields by Basra Gas Company Memorandum of understanding signed with in May 2012. Feasibility study under way.
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (US) New facility and upgrade of existing units in Basra Letter of intent signed in June 2012 for feasibility study
STX Heavy Industries (South Korea) $3.2bn petrochemicals complex would produce ethylene, propylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from 2014 Agreement signed in 2010. No progress
ExxonMobil/Chevron (US) US oil majors held talks with government in 2007 for Basra petrochemicals plant No progress
Shell Group/Dow Chemical (US) Shell Group and Dow Chemical held preliminary talks with the government in 2007 for $2bn rehabilitation and expansion of PC-1 complex No progress
Source: MEED