India has evinced interest in building refineries and petrochemical plants in Iraq and is keen to source liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its second largest oil supplier.

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily, who is leading a 28-member delegation to participate in the 17th India-Iraq Joint Commission meeting in Baghdad, expressed interest in setting up gas-based projects — including fertilizer plants — in Iraq.

According to an official statement issued in New Delhi, Mr. Moily called on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Makiri after his arrival in Baghdad on July 6 to reiterate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invitation to visit the capital.

“The Iraqi Prime Minister expressed that he was planning the visit to New Delhi in September, 2013,” the statement said.

Stating that Iraq was India’s second largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, Mr. Moily emphasised the need for deepening the relationship between the two countries by increasing economic cooperation.

Indian firms, he said, had the expertise and are willing to participate in building oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and fertilizer units in Iraq.

“India will also be interested in gas-based projects and importing LNG from Iraq,” the statement quoted him as saying.

He also offered to share knowledge and expertise in agriculture, infrastructure technology, and pharmaceuticals.

The Iraqi PM said Iraq will have great interest in sectors connected with oil and gas — especially petrochemicals, refineries and fertilizers — and both countries should start working immediately on cooperation in these sectors.

The meeting with Mr. Al-Makiri was followed by discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who also hosted a lunch in the honour of the visiting Minister.

“In the discussions with Mr. al-Mutlaq, the delegation members elaborated on the cooperation and possibilities in the oil and gas sector, and other sectors such as steel and railways,” the statement said.

India also offered to train Iraqi personnel in the oil and gas sector, and offered to exchange ideas and expertise to help make the Gulf nation’s state-owned firms more efficient and profitable.