Iraq has awarded a contract to the US company Oliver Wyman to prepare a financial and economic study for a $17-billion project to build a 1,200-km rail line across the Arab country, a senior Iraqi official was quoted on Wednesday as saying.

Nasser Al-Asadi, transport adviser to Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, said the ‘Development Road’ project, which also includes the construction of a parallel motorway, will link Faw Port in South Iraq with Europe via Turkey, adding that a 2,000-metre bridge would be constructed at the border with Turkey.

“This massive project is divided into two parts: the first is the economic part and the second is the engineering part…we have made progress in the engineering part and have contracted with Oliver Wyman Company to prepare a study on the financial and economic part of the project,” Asadi told the official Iraqi News Agency.

He also said the Transport Ministry intends to issue an international tender for a consultant to oversee the designs of the project.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)