Shell nears agreement with Iraq to build $11-billion petrochemicals complex

Shell is closing in on a deal with the Iraqi government to build an $11-billion petrochemical complex in southern Iraq, news reports said on Wednesday.

The plan to move forward on a petrochemical plant follows a meeting late Tuesday in Baghdad between Shell CEO Peter Voser and Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraq government said following the meeting that it will soon sign a "heads of agreement", in which both sides would commit to early planning for the project.

"The heads of agreement will be ready for signing within weeks," the government said in a statement.

In April 2012, Iraq had signed a memorandum of understanding with Shell to carry out a technical and economic feasibility study toward establishing a petrochemicals plant.

Shell already has a presence in Iraq, where it is developing the huge Majnoon oil field near Basra. The Majnoon field produced its first oil last month and is now pumping approximately 200,000 bpd.

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