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Hyundai E&C clinches $2.45b plant deal in Iraq

Hyundai Engineering & Construction has clinched a $2.45 billion deal to build a seawater processing facility in Iraq, marking its first overseas contract this year, officials said.

The South Korean builder on Wednesday signed a letter of intent with the state-run Basra Oil Co. for a 49-month project to build a seawater supply plant in the southern state of Basra.

Once completed, the facility will be capable of supplying 5 million barrels of fresh water per day, contributing to increasing crude oil yields and financial expansion in the Middle East state, according to officials.

The related negotiations were steered by Vice Chairman Chung Jin-haeng, who accompanied a government envoy’s visit in January and April this year, marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Iraq.

“The latest deal reflects the Iraq government’s deep trust in Hyundai E&C’s technology for large-scale plant construction, as displayed in the ongoing oil refinery plant project in Karbala,” the company said in a release.

“(Hyundai E&C) will play a key role in building oil refineries, electric facilities and residential buildings in the country.”

Construction site of an oil refinery in Iraq’s Karbala (Hyundai E&C)
Construction site of an oil refinery in Iraq’s Karbala (Hyundai E&C)

Despite wars and tensions in the region, the firm has contributed to a long-term partnership with country, it added.

The Korean builder first set foot in Iraq back in 1977, starting with a sewage construction project and later expanding onto thermal power plants, railways and oil refineries -- in projects worth around $7 billion.

It is currently leading a $6 billion worth joint venture project to build an oil refinery in Karbala, some 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, along with other Korean companies such as GS Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Engineering.

By Bae Hyun-jung (