Iraq has invited energy companies and investors to bid to build and finance the first phase of a pipeline that will eventually connect the southern city of Basra with Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba. The State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), an oil ministry arm overseeing the project, said the first phase includes the engineering, procurement, construction and financing of oil and gas pipelines linking the Basra fields to a connecting energy station near the city of Najaf. The initial section of the Basra-Aqaba pipeline was planned to pass through the Haditha pumping station in Anbar province, but the presence of Islamic State militants in the desert area forced the oil ministry to change plans. The pipeline will still pass through Anbar, but it will not go as far north as Haditha. By limiting the first stage to Najaf, the ministry is also delaying construction in Anbar itself. […]