Iraq Business News (en)

Majnoon Oil Output to Almost Double

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 3:48am

By John Lee.

Iraq reportedly plans to increase production at the Majnoon oilfield from 240,000 bpd now to 450,000 barrels within three years.

Ahmed Abdul Razzaq, the head of a committee in charge of developing the field, told Reuters that the Basra Oil Company (BOC), which will take over operations from Shell, is studying proposals from three oilfield services companies to boost output at the field in southern Iraq.

(Source: Reuters)

Upstream Law and Regulation in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 3:48am

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The following is an abridged version of the Iraq chapter of Upstream Law and Regulation: A Global Guide, published by Globe Law and Business, which summarises the upstream regulation and the key concerns in over 30 important and emerging oil and gas jurisdictions.

Globe Law and Business offers IBN readers a 20% discount off the normal price. Please enter the code “IBNGLB” on the website checkout page to receive the discount.

Introduction

Iraq’s upstream petroleum sector witnessed three unprecedented interrelated developments post-2003: an opening to foreign direct investment; the offering of the most prized petroleum fields in a rather short period of time; and formulation of the basic model for long-term service contracts.

In the previous edition of this chapter I argued that if things go as planned and contracted, Iraq might become a major contributor to the world petroleum market; a magnet for foreign investment through the involvement of international oil companies, specialised service companies and other related activities; and could introduce a new but significant element in the legal and governing framework, with possible wide and lasting implications for the relationship between host developing countries and international oil companies. However, reality seldom coincides with expectations; and this is exactly the case at the end of April 2017.

This chapter discusses the long-term service contracts for upstream petroleum development in Iraq. Due to the need to limit the extent of the analysis, the corresponding matters in the Kurdish region of the country are excluded, though a few references to the region are made. The analysis is based on the model contracts and, for verification purposes scanned copies of the signed contracts were consulted.

However, because of non-disclosure commitment, no formal references will be made to any signed copies of these contracts. Also this chapter does not address matters relating to subcontracting, or to contracts for front-end engineering and design, engineering, procurement and construction or other types of contract. Finally, limitations of space has prevented the use of data, statistics, annexes, maps and charts that are available on matters covered by this chapter.

Part 2 provides an updated review of petroleum upstream activities in Iraq with regard to exploration, development and production. Because of the importance of exports, a few paragraphs are also included on the expansion and diversification of export outlets.

The complexities, components and interconnections of the petroleum legal regime are addressed in part 3. This part elaborates on three major issues: petroleum law and relevant provisions, government take and payment to and privileges of international oil companies.

Part 4 sheds lights on the main features of and new development in Iraq’s long-term service contracts. Further insight is provided in Part 5 on critical current issues: the legality of concluded contracts, the situation of international oil companies who concluded contracts with the Kurdistan regional government, the reduction of production plateau targets and the renegotiation of contracts and the current status of IOCs’ involvement. The chapter ends with a few conclusions.

:

Conclusions

  • The fiscal terms of the signed service contracts indicate Iraq has, undoubtedly, made good deals, though cost recovery modalities proved to be hard to cope with under a low oil price environment. Moreover, if cost control is not properly monitored and professionally audited, costs could escalate to unprecedented levels. Accordingly there is an urgent need to bridge gaps in skills and capacity through a number of measures comprising specific crash-course programmes, short-term training, professional development and specialised capacity-development education. It is vital to create a special unit within the Ministry of Oil to ensure good management of the Training, Technology and Scholarship Fund in collaboration with other entities within the sector and outside it.
  • Considering the importance of upstream petroleum and the number and long duration of the service contracts, it would be advisable to formulate a national strategy pertaining to local content. The suggested strategy could involve creating a specialised agency with a clear mandate, auditing, monitoring and verification procedures, and institutional and legal frameworks.
  • All international oil companies who signed the service contracts asserted, initially, a satisfactory internal rate of return despite what they considered to be tight fiscal terms. But the wide deviation between the bid and final remuneration fees would lead one to question the validity of the companies’ economic model and its main assumptions. Such unexplained but significant deviations could make one suspicious of the companies’ integrity and conduct.
  • The prolongation of the contract period coupled with reduced plateau targets had in fact relived the IOCS from what was contracted and thus reduced the fiscal and work requirements. Moreover, the above has come with an increase in the IOCs share in the remuneration fees at the expense of the Iraqi state partners.
  • Finally, the degree of uncertainty surrounding the legality of all the long-term service contracts agreed by the Ministry of Oil and all the production sharing contracts agreed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, remains technically high.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

EU contributes $59m for Iraq Stabilization

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 3:48am

The European Union has contributed an additional US$ 58.96 million (EUR 50 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings the European Union’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 73.8 million (EUR 64 million).

Based on priorities identified by the local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair public infrastructure, provides grants to small businesses, boosts the capacity of local government, promotes civil engagement, and provides short-term employment through public works schemes.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“The tasks facing Iraq are enormous. Stabilizing newly liberated areas so people can return home is at the very top of the list of the country’s urgent priorities. We very grateful to the European Union for this very generous contributionit comes at exactly the right time.”

European Union Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Ramon Blecua said:

The EU continues its support in stabilising the liberated areas by improving the political, humanitarian, security and development dimension. This is a pre-condition for reconciliation, for the return of the many internally displaced who are eager to come back and for the longer-term stability in Iraq.

“This package will finance fast-track initiatives and at the same time strengthen the Government’s strategic coordination mechanisms so as to ensure a common approach to clearance of explosive hazards. At this critical juncture, it illustrates very well that EU – a key partner – stands at the side of the Iraqi people and authorities who have shown courage and resilience in their fight against Da’esh.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)

IBBC welcomes Guests at House of Lords

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 3:48am

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its bi-annual Council Meeting on 30 January, followed by a Reception & Dinner for IBBC members and guests.

Both the meeting and the reception and dinner were hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The Meeting was Chaired by IBBC’s Deputy Chairman Alistair Kett of PwC and discussed at length the current state of Iraq and presented over 30 members present with a detailed brief of events in the last six months.

The Council also discussed future events and the progress of IBBC’s Sector Tables. Several exciting new developments were reported, including the launch of a new Iraq Britain Business Council website, which is expected to go live in the coming weeks and the development of the Young Executives Network.

The Council Meeting was followed by a Reception & Dinner hosted by Baroness Nicholson in the House of Lords, where the 80 guests present were privileged to hear from Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade & Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth and Minister of State at the Department for International Development.

After dinner, Ambassador Jon Wilks, her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq, gave an address to members, which highlighted his vision for UK-Iraq relations. The Ambassador spoke at length about the need for a coordinated and fruitful relationship between business communities of both countries to enhance the encouraging signs of stability witnessed in the last six months since the defeat of Daesh.

The Ambassador also touched upon the critical need to redevelop infrastructure in the newly liberated areas and the pivotal role of the private sector to facilitate further economic growth. Ambassador Wilks reaffirmed the Embassy’s longstanding commitment to promote trade and investment with the support of organisations such as the Iraq Britain Business Council.

Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC said:

“2017 has been an exceptional year for IBBC both in the volume and quality of attendees to our conferences in UK and Dubai, the very well attended and successful trade missions to Baghdad and Basrah and for the number of International and Iraqi companies that have joined our network.

“IBBC has welcomed Chevron, Al Burhan, Shamara, Ratba’a and Al Bilal groups, Leicester and Northampton University, Serco, Rolls Royce, MenziesAviation, GulfTek and Al Jaber Company. All in all we are seeing confidence and opportunity return to Iraq with overall economic perspectives for the country being at its best since 2010 – 2011.”

IBBC and its members are determined to build on these foundations to continue building economic and political ties, industry capabilities, knowledge sharing for UK, Iraqi and international businesses sharing the same high values and standards.

(Source: IBBC)

115 Iraqi Civilians Killed in January

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 3:47am

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians (not including police) were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Ninewa, with 13 killed and 7 injured. UNAMI has not been able to obtain the civilian casualty figures from the Anbar Health Department for the month of January.

“Terrorists continue to target civilians in irregular strikes, even though their capabilities have been largely destroyed. The twin suicide bombings on 15 January at Baghdad’s Tayran Square, which left numerous casualties among innocent workers and passersby, are proof of their indiscriminate disregard for human life,” said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš. “We must all continue to be vigilant in opposing this destructive violence”.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been limited in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations News Centre)

Iraqi Govt Ministries to Attend Oil Conference in Berlin

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 2:05pm

Iraqi Government Ministries heading to Berlin for International Meeting in February

Iraq’s oil and gas industry has started 2018 with invigorating news including new blocks to be offered at a bidding round in May, several high profile deals finalised with international companies as well as the continued upstream reforms led by Minister of Oil Jabbar Al Luaibi, which aim to enhance investment conditions and establish the country as the next oil and gas cluster.

We invite all international companies to participate. This new exploration bidding round aims to maximise reserves… We are keen to make significant changes to the new exploration model contracts, and to adopt a new commercial and financial model different from the service contract,” stated Jabbar Al Luaibi (Reuters)

CWC Iraq Petroleum, taking place in Berlin, Germany on 27-28 February 2018, brings you comprehensive updates on this new energy vision, directly from the Government of Iraq, the Federal Parliament of Iraq and the Ministry of Oil alongside the established international supermajors already operating in Iraq.

The event is held with the backing of Chevron, Shell, Lukoil, Total, Baker Hughes a GE Company, GardaWorld, Vinson & Elkins, OilSERV, RSK, ILF Consulting and RPSC.

This important meeting, now on its 12th year, provides an official platform for industry leaders to meet directly with Government officials to discuss the future of the industry as well as network and build lasting partnerships enabling commercial projects to become a reality.

Iraqi Government delegations attending the meeting include:

  • Iraq Government
  • Iraq Presidency
  • Iraq Parliament
  • Iraq Ministry of Oil
  • Iraq Ministry of Electricity
  • Iraq Ministry of Industry and Minerals
  • Iraq Ministry of Environment
  • Basra Governorate
  • Baghdad Provincial Council

View the full list of speakers and programme here or visit cwciraqpetroleum.com

(Source: CWC)

$210m UK Support for GE Power Deal

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:13am

The UK’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Rona Fairhead (pictured), has announced $210.8 million in support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) for the second project agreed under the UK-Iraq infrastructure Memorandum of Understanding.

The contracts with the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq, valued at $220 million, will see GE Global Services UK upgrade and repair existing turbines across 10 sites to deliver an improved, more secure power source. The project will sustain 6.5 Gigawatts of generating capacity, powering millions of homes across Iraq.

This is the second project supported under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 2017 between the UK and Iraq Governments, in which UK Export Finance (UKEF) affirmed its commitment to support Iraq’s infrastructure development.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said:

“I’m delighted that UK Export Finance will be supporting this project under the recently signed infrastructure Memorandum of Understanding between our two governments. This project demonstrates the UK’s commitment to supporting Iraq’s continued economic development, and through Government support we are laying the groundwork for future UK-Iraq trade.”

GE Global Services UK will deploy Advanced Gas Path (AGP) solutions and controls software, a technology that will improve gas turbine performance and enable power plants in the Baghdad, Karbala, Kadisiyah, Babil, Najaf and Basrah regions to operate more dynamically.

UKEF, in partnership with the Swiss export credit agency SERV, will provide the Government of Iraq with $210.8 million in support for the project. UKEF will provide $105.4 million of this support as a direct loan, with the remaining $105.4 million given in the form of a guarantee on a loan from JP Morgan Chase, for which SERV will reinsure UKEF.

This is the second of three phases of a wider turbine maintenance programme as part of the Iraq Power Up Program, where GE Global Service UK has been contracted to deliver in the period from 2017 to 2019. It follows support for a GE and Enka UK contract to construct two new power stations, agreed last year.

(Source: UKEF)

Sallyport wins $400m Iraq Contract

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:13am

Sallyport Global Holdings has been awarded a not-to-exceed $400,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee undefinitized contract action to provide base operations support, base life support, and security services in support of the Iraq F-16 program.

The contract provides for the support of F-16-related contractor personnel at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

Work will be performed at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 30, 2019. 

This contract was the result of a sole-source acquisition.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

UK brings UNMAS Contribution to $20m

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:13am

The UK Government has donated an additional 1 million GBP (1.3 million USD) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), increasing the UK total contribution to 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD).

The additional funding will boost UNMAS support to stabilization efforts by increasing survey and clearance of critical infrastructure in liberated areas. This is important before rehabilitation can commence and crucial for the safe, dignified and voluntary returns of displaced people.

The contribution will be used to deploy additional assets to Mosul during the months of January, February and March, in line with emergency operational needs. UNMAS began survey and clearance operations in Mosul’s Old City in late November 2017.

UNMAS efforts to ensure a coordinated stabilization response into Mosul have accelerated activities. Following planning meetings between the Government, UNMAS, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNEP, and UNESCO, UNMAS has now provided survey and clearance teams in five districts in the Old City.

UNMAS works in close collaboration with the Directorate for Mine Action and Iraqi Security Forces to complement the clearance work that has already taken place by the Government of Iraq following the liberation of Mosul.

Close collaboration with UNDP to provide survey and clearance capacities, as well as threat assessments, are an integral part of the Funding Facility for Stabilization’s (FFS) rapid needs assessment process in Mosul.

Between 1 December and 16 December 2017, UNMAS received 139 additional tasks from FFS, conducting survey and clearance in water treatment plants, hospitals and education centers. The additional funds will go towards continuing this response.

Jon Wilks, British Ambassador to Iraq, said:

“The survey and clearance work carried out by UNMAS is vital to the safety of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. This latest contribution demonstrates the UK’s enduring commitment to UNMAS’ work and to supporting humanitarian and stabilisation efforts in Iraq.”

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq, stated:

“Continuous support from the United Kingdom allows UNMAS to further extend its support and activities to enable stabilization priorities and humanitarian activities, encouraging the safe return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to areas previously occupied by ISIL.”

Thanks to the generous contribution from the UK Government, UNMAS’ work has been made possible.

UNMAS will continue ensuring that explosive hazards are cleared in support of stabilization efforts and enabling access for humanitarian activities across Iraq. The total contribution of 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD) is supporting this life saving work in liberated areas of Anbar, Salah ah-Din, Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates.

(Source: United Nations)

Iraq to start 60,000 bpd Oil Swap with Iran

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:13am

By John Lee.

Iraq says it plans to start oil exports to Iran from its northern Kirkuk oilfields next week, under the swap deal announced last month.

Iraq will export 60,000 bpd of crude oil by truck from Kirkuk to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery (pictured), and ship back refined Iranian oil for southern Iraq.

For the time being, tanker trucks will be used for the shipment but Iran and Iraq also plan to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk.

(Source: Press TV)

ACTED takes Lead in Child Protection

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:13am

With UNICEF’s support, ACTED’s community-led approach to child protection in Qushtapa camp, Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, is broadening academic and recreational opportunities for displaced children.

Since 2014, ACTED has been providing child protection services to Syrian refugees in Qushtapa camp in Erbil governorate. From within its Child and Youth Community Centres, ACTED provides a range of educational, recreational and awareness raising activities designed to contribute to the sustained resilience of children living both in and out of the camp.

This UNICEF-sponsored project helps foster community ‘buy-in’ through encouraging residents to take part in daily ‘Community Volunteer Hour.’ Forty-eight adult camp residents currently participate through teaching school support classes in archaeology, literacy, Arabic, English, biology to the children and adolescents residing in the camp.

These volunteers also help facilitate a range of sport and arts activities which provide a vital outlet for children, many of whom have experienced hardships through war and displacement.

Prior to commencing in their volunteering roles, ACTED Child Protection Teams deliver trainings for camp residents on Child Friendly Spaces/Youth Friendly Spaces (CFS/YFS) Purposes and Principles, Child Protection in Emergencies, Planning Activities, Facilitation Skills, Classroom Management, Confidentiality, Inclusion of Children with Disabilities, and Psychological First Aid.

Such trainings contribute both to the professional development of volunteers, and also to ensuring children and youth receive quality support.

Adan, one of the forty-eight camp volunteers, said:

“The residents of the camp now understand how the Child Friendly Spaces provide both a safe place for children to spend their time and a great way for us to discover which activities are most appropriate for them. It also helps the members of the camp community to get used to running the CFS. The people quickly understood that despite the challenges, it was our responsibility to take care of the children and focus on their well-being and development.”

ACTED prioritizes self-reliance and decision-making agency among camp residents as a means of both improving camp conditions and ensuring the continuation of relevant, high-impact child protection support services after the management of such camps transitions into the hands of local actors.

(Source: ACTED)

BHGE: Growth in Iraq Offsets Decline in other Markets

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:54am

By John Lee.

In its 2017 Results, Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) has said that rig count growth in Iraq and the UAE offset declines in other Middle Eastern markets.

During the year, the company secured what it describes as the largest-ever turbomachinery and process solutions agreement with PetroChina for the provision of its proven turbine generators for the Halfaya oilfield in Iraq.

In a statement, the company said the agreement strengthens BHGE’s presence in Iraq and demonstrates the Company’s dedication to the region.

(Source: BHGE)

Sulzer appoints Authorized Repair Partner in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:53am

Sulzer, the Swiss-based specialist in pumping solutions, has appointed Al Majal Technical Services (AMTS) as their authorized repair partner in Iraq.

AMTS was founded in 2015 to provide a full spectrum of Oil and Gas services including rotating equipment.

The AMTS workshop, located in North Rumaila, is a 3000 m2 state-of-the-art facility, equipped with a comprehensive set of machine tools and balancing equipment required to maintain and repair rotating machinery of all manufacturers. AMTS is certified according to ISO-9001:2015, ISO 14001:2004, OHSAS 18001:2007, API 6A and API 16A

Sulzer’s engineering and project management expertise together with the local competencies of AMTS strengthen each other’s capability to execute the overhaul, site service, repair and maintenance of pumps, turbines and compression equipment as well as their associated ancillaries.

Both companies are currently jointly engaged in executing service projects in South Iraq.

(Source: Sulzer)

Drought Threatens 1m Acres in Kurdistan

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:52am

By John Lee.

Nearly 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) of land in the Kurdistan Region have reportedly been rendered barren due to drought.

Faruq Ali, Director of Crop Production at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water resources, told Rudaw:

Due to the lack of rainfall during this year’s plantation season, I predict that nearly 60 percent of land has been planted with wheat compared to last year, and nearly 1 million acres of land have been left barren and unplanted.

“… nearly 40 percent of the wheat planted has been lost.

More here from Rudaw.

(Source: Rudaw)

Iraqi Journalists face Attacks by Politicians’ Bodyguards

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:51am

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

During Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s visit to the southern city of Najaf on Jan. 7, his bodyguards attacked a group of journalists, causing them physical harm. Abadi’s office launched an investigation into the incident, which was welcomed by the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate.

“The syndicate is following up on the investigations and their results and is legally prosecuting the aggressors, as this is one of its core duties. These attacks intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their job, which is to inform the public,” Muayed al-Lami, the head of the syndicate, told Al-Monitor.

This was not an isolated incident, as violent behavior by the bodyguards of politicians against journalists is a common occurrence. One such attack took place in July 2017, when a team of journalists from Al-Mousiliya TV station was attacked by the security guards of the governor of Mosul. The bodyguards also confiscated the journalists’ equipment. This incident was condemned by the Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory.

On Aug. 5, 2017, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory reported that journalists in central Baghdad had been beaten by members of the internal security forces. In March, Abadi’s security team severely beat a journalist at the gate of the Green Zone, near the government headquarters, with dozens of passersby present.

The Iraqi Center for Supporting Freedom of Speech documented Jan. 1 the first attack in 2018 on a journalist in Dhi Qar governorate, who was assaulted by internal security officers while covering the New Year’s celebrations.

In 2017, the number of journalists subjected to assault had reached 200 by Dec. 26; some were threatened, others beaten, arrested without a warrant, murdered or they had their equipment confiscated and had been tried for their publications.

These flagrant numbers prompted Hammam Hammoudi, the first deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, to call in May 2017 for the implementation of the law to protect journalists, which would guarantee freedom of expression, urging the government to “preserve their safety.”

This law provides for the protection of journalists against any assault and for punishing anyone “who would assault journalists on duty.” However, according to legal expert Tariq Harb, this law is contradicted in the provisions of the Iraqi penal code of 1969. The law provides for a life sentence and confiscation of funds for those who are charged with insulting the president or any other political figure. “Anyone can interpret an article or some news as an insult,” Harb told Al-Monitor.

He said, “As per the law on the protection of the rights of journalists, the latter are considered to be affiliated with a public office, even if they work outside government institutions. Thus, any assault of this kind is considered against employees who are on duty. The attack by bodyguards on journalists is also considered a crime of general right, which can only be waived after implementing punitive measures against the aggressor. These laws remain words without actions in most cases.”

The head of the media office of Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, author and journalist Hisham al-Rikabi, told Al-Monitor, “Attacks by bodyguards and security members are not new in Iraq. Several journalists, reporters and their team members have been killed and many sustained various injuries since the entry of the US forces into Iraq in 2003.”

He added, “The violence continues. The lives of journalists in Iraq will remain at risk until security and legal measures are enforced.”

In regard to the first steps to be taken to protect the lives of journalists, Rikabi said, “Impartial, independent and transparent investigations into the attacks against journalists must be conducted with the participation of the judiciary and civil society. The outcomes must be published for the public to see in tandem with taking appropriate measures to prevent their recurrence.”

Writer and journalist Ali Daneef, who heads the investigations section at the quasi-governmental newspaper Al-Sabah, has a more objective point of view. He told Al-Monitor, “Attacks are repeated, and both parties have yet to learn their lesson. Officials have yet to instruct their security teams to respect the media. Also, media figures and outlets are still adopting provocative positions.”

Daneef added, “Some media figures have exploited these attacks to gain fame, which is a premeditated act. Protection and security teams of official figures often take the blame. But sometimes media figures cross the line and violate some constants or work ethics.”

Ali al-Bayati, a spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, blames security and protections teams. He told Al-Monitor, “They do not respect human rights and exhibit a violent behavior toward journalists. The law ratified by parliament has yet to be enforced to deter such attacks and hold perpetrators accountable.”

He continued, “The prevailing practice in cases of assault on journalists is that routine procedures are followed with no results. The journalist who is the victim is often blamed, while the aggressor goes unpunished. Moral and ethical codes of conduct must be drafted to regulate the relations between the media and the security teams that respect the rights of each party. Impartial laws ensuring justice should be implemented to deter such attacks.”

(Photo credit: Josh Hallett)

New Petroleum Round faces Many Serious Problems

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:39pm

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The New Petroleum Bid Round Faces Many Serious Problems

Since the last Ministerial reshuffle of August 2016, the Ministry of Oil has been persistently trying to offer most possible oilfields and exploration blocks to IOCs under new contracts that differ from those adopted by the Ministry in previous rounds. The latest attempt in this regard is the announcement by the Ministry that it has scheduled the date of a new round and has presented the timeliness of the necessary activities.

Briefly, as stated in this intervention, the timing of this round is rather unfortunate; many of the qualified IOCs by the Ministry are blacklisted; absence of transparency on the proposed contracts; method for evaluation and selection of different offers, by IOCs, have not been announced and finally, no feasibility study of any fields or block was available, let alone done. But, the fact that these fields and blocks are stranded on the borders they have special status and thus should deserve attention and prioritization.

At the outset a brief note is probably relevant. Since the national election date was initially proposed there has been a pattern of “pre-election rush” at the Ministry of Oil for announcing many recent events, creating what might be called “election-linked achievement bubbles”: Majnoon oilfield transition deadline was shortened from end June to end March 2018; concluding contract for East Baghdad oilfield; signing agreement on Nehr Bin Omar on associated gas utilization; singing  agreement with BP on Kirkuk oilfield; setting earlier date for border fields and blocks bid round; and sudden announcement, on 28 January, for offering Faw refinery & petrochemical of 300kbd (without any FEED or any further basic information). What next!

In previous occasions I addressed, as mentioned below, all attempts by the Ministry in this regard, especially since its first announcement, in July 2017, on this new round. Therefore, the focus will now be on this new round and by using official statements, especially those issued by the Ministry of Oil.

First: Licensing Date and its Timetable

Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate-PCLD of the Ministry announced recently that it will hold on May 7, 2018 this bid round according to a tentative schedule of activities.

The date is actually over two months earlier than envisaged based on previous announcement by the same entity; resulting into adoption of a brief, unrealistic and impractical timetable that could have negative consequences on the process itself, thus questioning the possibility of holding the round on the designated date.

It is worth recalling that the Minister and PCLD’s DG stated, in their press conference held at the Ministry on November 27, 2017, that “the final tender document will be announced on May 31, 2018, and then the bids from companies wishing to compete in the round will be received.” The Ministry and PCLD announcement did not specify, then, the date of the round. Given the need to provide sufficient time for IOCs to study and evaluate the final tender protocol, the provisions of the contracts and determine their position to submit their bids individually or within consortium, the date of the round could (realistically and technically) be in mid-July 2018 the earliest.

It should be noted that the period between the “announcement of the final tender document of the contracts” and the day of “licensing round” were, for example, more than five weeks in each of the first and fourth bid rounds.

Apparently, the timeliness of activities necessary for holding this round was set at four months between the date of “Data Package” sale on 7 January and 7 May 2018; a very short period indeed compared with previous rounds considering the apparent difficulty and complexity of the new bid round.

Every bid round of the previous four was structured around one type contract only for all offered fields or exploration blocks in the related round; in this round there will, at least, three different types of contracts to be proposed by the Ministry and an unspecified number of “commercial models / contracts” expected from the IOCs!!

Each contract in the previous four licensing rounds involves only one field (with the exception of the three Missan oilfields) or one exploration block; in this bid round, most of what is announced includes more than one field or block, and in fact even more than what was announced in July 2017. The extreme example is Naft-Khana, comprising nine fields and exploration blocks; and this, as discussed later, necessitates the formulation of composite-complex contract that could actually comprises three or even four different contracts- perhaps a unique or the only one of its kind!

All the fields that were included in the first three bid rounds and all exploration blocks of fourth bid round are located inside Iraq; while all the fields and blocks offered in the new round are located along land borders with Iran and Kuwait, except one offshore block on Iraqi territorial waters in north Arabian Gulf. As highlighted below, border fields should receive special consideration seriously and fully.

Finally, international petroleum business environment and IOCs enthusiasm (on Iraq) in 2018 is very different from those prevailed during June 2009- May 2012 when the previous four bid rounds were held.  That could prompt IOCs to propose more complicated contracts with less attractive terms for Iraq, thus make it imperative for the Ministry officials to be extremely careful and devote enough time to assess what IOCs propose. Probably, the current failure (but not yet ended) after many months of direct behind closed door negotiation, with ExxonMobil/CNPC regarding the package for developing Ratawi and Nahr Bin Omar oilfields and the linkage to CSSP and SIIP, provides indications on what IOCs are asking to have.

By comparative analysis, it becomes very clear that the proposed timetable is unrealistic, not practical and very well could derail the bidding event itself. It is therefore legitimate to pose a few questions about the rationale of such hastiness: Does the Ministry have the human, legal and institutional skills and capacity to carry out all the required activities within the times specified in the schedule? Has the three models of contracts been studied thoroughly enough to ensure and protect the rights and interests of Iraq, especially since all the fields and blocks are close to or cross the border with Iran and Kuwait? But the most compelling question is why and under whose directives the date was set at 7 May 2018.

The Ministry did not provide any clarification on why it went for an early bidding date and for such a tight compact timetable of essential activities.

A through daily follow-up of the Ministry news found no compelling reasons or urgency to hold the bidding at the specified date. But, what is surprising that the date was fixed, earlier than previously announced, soon after the date for the national election, on 12 May, was decided by the Cabinet (and now confirmed by the Federal Court and the Parliament).

Was the new timing for the bid round just unfortunate coincidence (though this reflects either political naivety or wrong decision-making or a combination of both) or a deliberate decision with motivations? If it was a bad unfortunate coincidence, why did the Ministry not change it? But, if it was intentional, what is the intention: score an achievement or impose a fait accompli or jump ahead- looking to the next cabinet reshuffle or to fulfill a pledge or “let it go” since everyone will be preoccupied with the election or.. or any other imaginable or possible explanations

Whether the timing is coincidental or intentional, holding the licensing round a few days before the national parliamentary (and possibly provincial) elections could contribute to maximize risk and uncertainty for and by all serious international companies, which could prompt them not to buy the Data Package and pay non-refundable $100,000 fee. In the case of limited purchase of the Package, that means the Ministry has actually contributed to its own failure and that may compel it to postpone the event to another date. But frequent postponement contributes to credibility erosion; as manifested by the refineries that have been re-announced several times over the past 15 months without any material luck!

Increasing risk and uncertainties that are associated with the date of the bid round could, in IOCs due diligence, come from the following possibilities:

  • The period between bidding results (in case of winning) and the agreement on the final version of each contract, obtaining the final approvals by the Council of Ministers, the final signing of the contract and the entry into force of the contract usually takes more than two months, i.e., after the election;
  • Elections may lead to a government change, which may have different agenda and position contrary to the outcome of the bidding and, possibly, dot not approve the contract;
  • Similarly, the election may lead to change the Minister of Oil himself. The new Minister or his political bloc may have a position contrary to the position of the current Minister; that could prevent the finalization of the contract and therefore not to be referred to the Council of Ministers for approval;
  • The formation of the new government takes usually a good deal of time depending on the actual election results and the need to formalize the political alliances, and this could take many months. This practically means that the current government becomes a caretaker government that, constitutionally, cannot take decisions binding the new government to such international contracts. Meaning, the current government cannot and should not ratify any contract resulting from the licensing round, especially with the existence of a new parliament; keeping in mind that all these contracts are for boarder fields- a highly sensitive and complex matter.

It is rather regrettable that the concerned parties, especially the Energy Committee of the Council of Ministers and the Oil & Energy and Legal Committees of the Parliament, have not taken the right action to prevent the Ministry from convening the bid round on the stated date or to postpone it to after the formation of the new government.

Second: Blacklisted Qualified Companies

Since the first bid round, PCLD of the Ministry has adopted a detailed method whereby companies are evaluated for the purpose of ascertaining their eligibility to participate in the field development and exploration projects as operator and non-operator. The evaluation methodology includes several details covering at least the last three years of four sets of indicators or standards:

  1. Financial and Economic Standard
  2. Legal Standard
  3. Technical and Training Standard and
  4. Health, Safety and Environment Standard.

The most questionable about this bid round is the list of qualified companies by the Ministry, which comprises many blacklisted IOCs contrary to its own declared and maintained policy that has been adhered to for many years in implementation of and in conformity with the official position of the Iraqi government, which considers all contracts signed by the KRG are illegal and contravening the Constitution. This means legally, logically and practically that any party that signs a contract that the sovereign authority considers to be contrary to the Constitution shall have knowingly committed a violation of the Constitution. As a result, the application of the “legal standard” directly leads to automatic disqualification of any company that has already committed a flagrant infringement of the Constitution.

PCLD had announced the companies eligible to participate in this round and in the light of available information, blacklisted qualified companies fall in two groups:

The first group comprises companies that signed contract(s) with KRG after had signed a contract through the bid rounds organized by the Federal Ministry of Oil. These companies are ExxonMobil (USA), Total (France) and Gazprom (Russia).

Although these three companies are still working in the oilfields contracted within the first and second licensing rounds, the application of the legal standard should prevent them from participating in this round.

In fact, these companies were excluded from contributing to the development of the field part within the “Nassiriyah Integrated Project-NIP” and were allowed to contribute to the refinery part only (though NIP project was abandoned by the Ministry!)

The second group companies that have signed contract with KRG but have not a contract within the licensing rounds organized by the Federal Ministry. These companies are: Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum-CP (both in the UAE) and Sinopec (China).

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Oil terminated on 8 May 2009 the memorandum of understanding with Crescent Petroleum signed on 28 September 2005 after the company signed a contract with KRG. Then the Ministry qualified Crescent Petroleum (!!) for the ill-fated offering of 12 new oilfields announced in October 2016, only two months after the current Minister took the helm of the Ministry, (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2016/10/27/jiyad-min-of-oil-should-withdraw-plan-to-offer-12-new-oilfields/ )

Moreover, the Ministry had introduced the following provision in the contract for bid round four giving related Iraqi contracted entities (NOCs) the power to terminate the contract if, “Contractor, a Company or their Affiliates: either violating in any material respect a Law, including, without limitation, any directive or instruction of the Government (including the Ministry of Oil); or entering into any contractor agreement relating to the exploration, appraisal, development or production of Hydrocarbons in the Republic of Iraq, that has not been approved by, or consented to by, the Government;”

I have already made it clear that granting contracts for field development or exploration blocks to companies that are still operating contrary to the Constitution is only equivalent to rewarding those companies for their violations of the Constitution and the declared policy of the federal government; that should not be allowed (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2017/12/26/majnoon-development-plan-important-move-in-the-right-direction/).

The application of the legal standard should prevent these companies from participating in this round. Therefore, I call upon the Parliament/House of Representatives to take a decision, similar to that of January 8 regarding KAR Company, to compel the Ministry disqualify the above six blacklisted companies from participating in the new round.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that PCLD list comprises Shell and Petronas; both formally exited, recently, Majnoon giant oilfield. Probably, we have to wait until 5 February to know whether Shell and or Petronas buys the Data Package or not, and if either does then we should explore to know and explain why. And for Shell does this return has anything to do with its interest in Azadegan oilfield on the Iranian side of the borders?

Third: Transparency Considerations and the Proposed Contracts

According to the proposed timetable for the licensing round, PCLD will, on February 5, “convene a Roadshow to discuss the general principles of the contract and the commercial models submitted by companies”. However, PCLD did not specify the location of the workshop; the number of submitted models; when they were submitted; by which company and whether those models related to the fields or blocks or the offshore one or all of them.

In addition, there is a complete blackout on the type and components of the contract(s) that will be presented by the Ministry in the planned roadshow. Moreover, what complicates the matter even more are the ambiguity and strange statements. For example, the Minister said, “The contracts that are hoped to be concluded with the international companies in this round are an important step towards adopting a new commercial model and financial terms different from the previous contracts. The commercial models, by the companies wishing to invest, will be studied and analyzed then negotiated and select the contract which achieves our objectives”

How can the Ministry achieve its objectives without specifying and disclosing what are those objectives? How can it achieve these goals by relying on models proposed by the IOCs themselves? And when will the “study and analysis of business models provided by companies wishing to invest,” be done knowing that there are 9 groups of fields and blocks; 3 or 4 types of contracts and 21 companies eligible to participate in the round?

As mentioned above, by covering areas for three different types of already producing (brown) fields with discovered by not developed (green) fields and exploration blocks in a single contract necessitates the formulation of a complex difficult contract, largely due to the significant differences between the financial terms, contractual provisions and technical and geological requirements of these three covered areas.

Finally, and this is very important, the contracts of this bid round should reflect the special status and the prioritization of developing fields straddled along borders with Kuwait and Iran, especially with regard to the possibility of joint development through the formula known as Unitization of the concerned field. This is in addition to the need to include in the contracts many of the conditions, provisions and practices recognized by international contracts of border fields.

In the case of complex contracts covering three types of fields and blocks concurrently, they become even more complex and difficult when adopting Unitization formula (by virtue of being structurally tripartite), which requires high skill capacity, professional negotiation, relevant experience and an integrated team covering all technical, legal, contractual, economic and geopolitical operational aspects (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2017/07/21/important-oil-projects-dubious-non-transparent-contracts/).

Can the Ministry study and analyze the commercial models that will be submitted by the companies during the period specified in the timetable, which is only ten days? Very doubtful! And the strangest of all, is what the Minister says, “the Ministry was keen to optimize its preparation for this bid round”!!!

In the light of the foregoing, the extent of absent transparency is evident, especially with regard to the types of contracts and their basic financial conditions; but this is, regrettably, not unusual practice at the Ministry. For example, the Ministry did not announce any information on its recent signed deal with Jinhua, a Chinese company, to develop East Baghdad Oilfield or the contract with Orion- a US company.

The Minister of Oil said that “the contract to develop East Baghdad Oilfield is different from previous service contracts, where some important changes were made to the contract formula that serves the public interest.” So far, neither the Minister nor the Ministry clarified what these “important changes” are and what the material evidence and the economic feasibility which prove in figures that these amendments “serve the public interest.” The same applies to the agreement signed by the Ministry on January 8, 2018 with the US company Orion to utilize associated gas from Nahr Bin Omar oilfield in Basrah province, as well as the contract / agreement signed with the GE-US company in July 2017 related to associated gas from Nassiriyah and Gharraf oilfields in Dhi Qar province, among others. As usual, the Ministry did not provide any information about these agreements nor about the contracts or agreements that were signed.

Moreover and worst still, all the above mentioned contracts and agreements were negotiated and concluded without following the usual official contracting procedure that requires public tendering, open bidding and transparent selection.

Strangely enough, this is happening even after the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative suspended, recently, Iraq’s membership for non-compliance. EITI presented detailed two reports (in both Arabic and English) highlighting what provisions did Iraq not comply with and what it should do to restore its membership in the organization (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2017/11/06/eiti-suspends-iraq-membership-a-serious-setback/ )

This clearly indicates the lack of proper understanding of the Ministry leadership of what transparency in the oil sector entails and what requirements that should be clearly disclosed in accordance with EITI Standard.

In conclusion, due to the importance and urgency of the matters I suggested:

  • The Ministry of Oil announces immediately the postponement of the bid round to a later date to be announced after the formation of the new government;
  • If the Ministry fails to do so, the Council of Ministers or the Parliament should oblige the Ministry, by issuing binding instructions, to postpone the round;
  • The Council of Ministers and the Parliament should oblige the Ministry of Oil to implement the policy of the federal government by preventing blacklisted companies from participating in this round;
  • The Ministry of Oil must adopt a realistic and practical timetable that allows its concerned entities, especially PCLD, to study thoroughly and develop the “complex contract” for the border fields;
  • The Ministry should adopt and exercise full transparency by early disclosure of the basic terms of the contracts proposed by it and by the oil companies and provide (in numbers rather than rhetorical statements) how could these conditions serve the national interest of Iraq.

Earlier Arabic text was posted on http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/1/239828.htm

Please click here to download the full article in pdf format.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

4 Metropolitan Transport Opportunities in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:39pm

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included four subway and metropolitan rail projects in its list of major strategic projects to be presented during the Kuwait International Conference for Iraq Reconstruction, to be held in Kuwait from 12th to 14th February:

1. Baghdad Metro

The project consist of two lines with total length of 46km. it has 47 station, two locomotive garages on both lines, and three power transferring stations.

  • The first line (23km 25 station) starts from the main locomotive garage north east of Baghdad through (10*10) project location –previously, to Al Sadir city crossing Al Thawra St. heading to Baghdad center to Al Jimhoriya St. to its final destination Antar Sq.
  • The second line (23km 22 stations) starts from south east of Baghdad near Aqaba Bin Nafee Sq. –Sadoon St. City center, crossing the Tigris to reach Al Faris Al Arabi Sq. forming two branches, one to Al Mansoor and the other to Al Bayaa where the second locomotive garage is located.
  • The project can provide comfortable and efficient transportation services to 250 thousand passenger/h in all stations.
  • Ministry of Transportation contracted a number of specialized consulting companies in the mid-seventies to conduct a study regarding Mass Transit that resulted to using tracks according to the feasible study done in 1978 (Feasibility study and Preliminary Design of an integrated Transport System within the City of Baghdad)
  • A contract was signed with Sestra Co. (French), one of the specialized international companies, to conduct the initial designs and the tender documents under the title (Technical, Legal and Contractual Requirement for Baghdad Metro Project)
  • The estimated cost of the project including detailed designs and execution of the two lines excluding extensions is €5.7b which is roughly $6b according to the French Co. feasible study adding to that $2b for acquisitions, total cost will be $8b. EPC document was based on turnkey delivery system.

2. Baghdad Mono Rail

A vital project with good financial revenues, prepared by French Alstom Co.

  • Estimated cost: $ 1.5b
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Project purpose: to solve traffic jams and improve services in Baghdad.
  • Phases, locations, implementation lines in Baghdad
  • Phase one: 15.5 km, Kadhmiya-Al Sadir City-Shaab, with 12 internal station and crossing the Tigris
  • Phase two: 4.45km, the International Station in Alawi-Utaifiya with two internal stations.

3. Mono Rail in Holy Karbala Province

This project is considered to be one of the major strategic projects in Holy Karbala Province for its importance in resolving the transportation problem of visitors coming to the Holy city. The project starts from the station Bada’at Aswadin Al-Husainiya District and going toward the Baghdad road taking the middle path of the main road toward Bab Twerej and passing through Al-Salam bridge and then through Al-Ibrahimiya station.

  • Length:18 km/ dual line/ 20 passengers stations.
  • Estimated cost: 450 million dollars.

4. Basra Metro

This project is considered to be one of the major strategic projects in Basra Province for its importance in resolving the transportation problem.

  • The metro contains 5 main lines with 35 main and branch lines
  • First line: Sa’ad square-Basra University-can be extended to the city center.
  • Second line: sa’ad square-Zubair-can be extended to Safwan
  • Third line: Sa’ad-Al-Ashar-Shalamja
  • Fourth line: Sa’ad square-Abu Al-Khaseeb-Faw
  • Fifth line: Sa’ad square-14th July street-presidential palaces.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

Iraq to Comply with Opec Supply Cuts

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:39pm

By John Lee.

Financial Times reports that Iraq will comply with OPEC-led efforts to restrict crude oil production, even as Saudi Arabia said it is striving to boost its export capacity.

It quotes Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] as saying that Iraq’s export capacity would reach 5m bpd by the end of this year, but adding that it will comply with OPEC declarations.

December output stood at 4.4 million bpd.

(Source: Financial Times)

Chinese Companies Win Al-Faw Projects

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:39pm

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has awarded the Al Faw [Al Fao] refinery and petrochemicals project to two Chinese companies.

In a statement, the ministy named the companies as Power China and “Nerco Chinese Companies“.

Mr. Assim Jihad, the spokesman of the Ministry,  said the refinery will have a capacity is 300,000 barrels/day.

He added that the project contains an integrated complex for petrochemicals, in addition to another facilities near the export port in Faw.

The ministry is planning to become self-sufficient in oil products by investing in the refining sector, and to become an exporting country.

Invitations will soon be issued to investment companies to participate in the Anbar refinery (150,000 bpd), Qayara refinery (10,000 bpd), and Thi-Qar [Dhi Qar] refinery (150,000 bpd), in addition to other projects to be announced soon.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

US contributes $80m for Stabilization in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:39pm

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed an additional US$ 80.85 million to The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

US$ 75 million will go to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), with the remaining US$ 5.85 million committed to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER). This brings the total United States contribution to UNDP to US$ 198.65 million since 2015.

UNDP’s FFS finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Through the FFER, UNDP helps the Government of Iraq to address key economic challenges and accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, increase national income and improve the management of national assets.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

The progress that is being made is tangible—you can see it everywhere in newly liberated areas. Electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centres are functioning and people are getting back to work.

“More than half of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned to their communities and started rebuilding their lives. There’s no question that a huge amount still needs to be done, most importantly in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, and this is why this very generous contribution is so important for Iraq.

The United States’ Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman stressed that the USA’s commitment to the Iraqi people did not end with the eradication of ISIS. “Communities in the liberated areas now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and restoring their cultural heritage. These funds will help restore basic services like water and electricity so that Iraqi families of all ethnic and religious backgrounds can return to their homes – safely, voluntarily, and with dignity,” said Ambassador Silliman.

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and Diyala Governorates in order to safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Two-thirds of the more than 1,600 projects currently underway are in Nineveh Governorate including 500 in Mosul and 280 throughout the Nineveh Plains.  Established in September 2016, FFER is mobilizing expertise to support the implementation of top priority reform initiatives under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister.

(Source: UNDP)

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