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Japan to Provide USD 871 Mln for Iraqi Oil Refinery

Source: KUNA 11/22/2011, Location: Middle East

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Japan would provide loans of about JPY 67 billion (USD 871 million) for Iraq's four new projects in the areas of oil, communication and health. Noda made a pledge during his talks with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, according to a joint statement released after their talks here. Of the total, about JPY 42.4 billion (USD 551 million) will be used for the Basra refinery upgrading project with an aim of improving the quality of refined products and reduction of the supply-demand gap of oil products. JPY 2.

7 billion (USD 35 million) will go to upgrade engineering services to introduce modern process for Baiji refinery. Other projects include establishing new hospitals in suburban areas in such cities as Basra, Kirkuk and Karbala. The loans will be also used for communications network development project for major cities including Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.

During the talks, the two leaders recognized that Iraq's reconstruction process would be accelerated through implementing the four projects and the Japan-Iraq bilateral economic relations, including in the field of energy, would be further strengthened, the statement said.

Noda hoped that the Iraqi government and its people will continue their efforts to improve security and reconstruct the economy, while promoting national reconciliation.

In light of securing a stable energy supply for Japan, Noda appreciated Iraq's offer to provide additional crude oil to Japan in case of emergency. Sharing the view that Iraq will be a reliable liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading partner with Japan, Noda and Al-Maliki welcomed the contract of the South Gas Utilization Project is to be signed, with Al-Maliki expressing expectation that a considerable portion of LNG from this project should be shipped to Japan as soon as practicable. The two also renewed their determination to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the energy sector and the importance of promoting cooperation and dialogue especially regarding upstream business including the Gharraf, East Baghdad and Nassiriyah oil fields.

Sharing the view that the strengthening of economic ties is the driving force of the Japan-Iraq comprehensive partnership, Noda and Al-Maliki affirmed commitment to working together to further promote trade and investment between the two countries. While welcoming the contribution of Japanese companies to improve Iraq's infrastructure, Al-Maliki expressed his high expectation that Japanese firms and business people will expand their business and investment in his country.

In order to facilitate Japanese companies to expand their abilities to work on large-scale projects, the two leaders also agreed to start discussions on an innovative financial scheme which could involve Japanese export credit agencies, which requires sufficient collateral, such as crude oil, so as to reduce financial risk.

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