Iraq Business News (en)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 4:17pm

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 4:16pm

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

Iraq to ask IOCs to Build Housing, Provide Services

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 2:11pm

Iraq will ask foreign oil companies operating in the country to build housing for Iraqis employed on their projects, the oil ministry in Baghdad said in a statement on January 10.

Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi “issued a general notice which commits contracted companies to build modern housing compounds and provide essential services to employees,” the statement said.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Japanese Firm Buys Shell’s Stake in West Qurna 1

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:09am

By John Lee.

Japan’s Itochu has reportedly bought Shell‘s 20 percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oilfield.

Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, the head of state-run Basra Oil Company (BOC), told Reuters that the oil ministry discussed the required financial investments and operations at the field with Itochu, and approved the deal.

West Qurna 1, operated by ExxonMobil, currently produces around 405,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The deal comes as Shell is also preparing to exit the Majnoon oilfield, handing it over to the BOC by the end of June 2018.

(Source: Reuters)

KBR to help Develop Majnoon Oilfield

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:09am

By John Lee.

Iraq has reportedly reached an agreement with US engineering firm KBR to help manage projects to develop production capacity at the Majnoon oilfield.

Shell is preparing to exit the Majnoon oilfield by the end of June 2018, handing it over to the state-run Basra Oil Company (BOC).

Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, the head of the BOC, told Reuters that he is targeting to cut the cost of the projects’ development by 30 percent this year, adding that the development cost for Majnoon set by Shell in 2017 was $1 billion.

He also said that Iraq was still in talks with another foreign engineering firm to operate the energy facilities at the field, with a deal expected before June.

Shell is now advising the Majnoon management on the tendering process, and on maintaining normal operations at the field, said Abdul Jabbar.

(Source: Reuters)

Atrush Production Update

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:09am

ShaMaran Petroleum reports that operations in the Atrush field in Kurdistan are continuing in a normal, safe and secure manner.

Atrush is currently producing at approximately 27 thousand barrels of oil per day (“bopd”) and exports are continuing via the Kurdistan Export Pipeline system. Atrush exports for the month of December averaged 26,163 bopd and benefitted from a higher facility uptime than the 90% previously projected.

Currently the production facilities are limited to processing approximately 27,000 bopd of the total 30,000 bopd capacity due to low ambient temperatures which limits the amount of heat available to process the oil to export specifications.

Plans in 2018 include debottlenecking the production facility and proceeding with the testing, completion and tie-in of the Chiya Khere-7 well which was drilled towards the end of last year.

(Source: ShaMaran)

AMAR Completes work at Bazwaya Health Centre

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:09am

The AMAR International Charitable Foundation has announced that work on its new Bazwaya Primary Health Care Centre near Mosul is now complete.

The clinic is now fully equipped and locally-hired medical staff have been assigned to support a range of units providing vaccinations, ultrasound, a gynaecology department, dental services, maternal and child care, a malnutrition unit, a GP service and a laboratory.

The project is the fifth AMAR clinic to open inside an IDP camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

(Source: AMAR)

US gives Additional $75m for Iraq Stabilization

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:09am

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman has announced that the U.S. government is providing $75 million in additional funding to help stabilize Iraq following its full liberation from ISIS.

The United States plans to provide a total of $150 million for stabilization efforts in 2018, which will bring the total U.S. contribution to $265.3 million since 2015.

Ambassador Silliman said:

Our commitment to the Iraqi people does 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.

The funds will be provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).  The UNDP stabilization program is supported by 24 international donors and managed in close cooperation with the Government of Iraq at the federal and local levels.

Strengthened by this new funding, the stabilization program will continue to help the populations of liberated areas return to their homes and resume normal lives by restoring services such as water, electricity, health, and education.

The stabilization program also supports temporary cash-for-work employment and grants to small businesses to jump-start local economies.  Part of the additional U.S. funding announced today will address the needs of vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities, especially those who have been victims of ISIS atrocities.

(Source: US Embassy)

“Lucrative Investment Opportunities” to be announced at Conference

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:55am

By John Lee.

The European Union has announced that it will co-chair a conference on Iraq’s Reconstruction and Development in Kuwait in February.

In a statement, the EU said the aim of the conference is to help consolidate regional and international engagement in support of Iraq.

The conference will be hosted by Kuwait and will involve all key donors as well as countries in Iraq’s neighbourhood.

KUNA cites the Chief of Staff in the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office, Dr. Mahdi Alalak, as saying that the conference, “is expected to stray from the norm while providing lucrative investment opportunities, which will be announced in due course.

He added that Iraq is in need of no less than $100 billion to revive the residential sector.

The conference is scheduled to run from 12th to 14th February.

(Sources: EU, KUNA, AFP)


US Firm to Harvest Flare Gas at Nahr Bin Umar

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:54am

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has announced an agreement with an American company to invest in the flare gas associated with the Nahr Bin Umar oil field in Basra governorate.

The Ministry names the company as “Oren”, but Iraq Oil Report identifies it as the Houston-based Orion Gas Processors.

A memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed between the company and the Basrah Gas Company (BGC) in the coming days.

Orion says its “innovative patented and patent-pending technologies extract hydrocarbons from underutilized gas streams, creating stable liquids that may be blended into the oil stream. High extraction yields combined with knowledge-based blending creates superior economics for oil producers over competing technologies.

According to the Ministry, the field produces about 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), and 25 MSCF of gas per day.

(Source: Oil Ministry, Iraq Oil Report)

Algeria’s Sonatrach to Invest in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:53am

By John Lee.

Sonatrach, the state-owned Algerian energy company, is to form a joint venture with Iraq to cooperate in the harvesting of associated flare gas.

The will be used for power generation, and in the production of petrochemicals and fertilizers.

The deal was agreed during a visit by Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni to Baghdad.

(Source: Oil Ministry)

New Firms Qualified for next Oil Licensing Round

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:52am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD) has announced the five additional companies have been approved to bid for Iraq’s “borderline onshore & offshore exploration blocks & fields.”

The companies are listed as:

  • Dana Gas (UAE)
  • Dragon Oil (UAE)
  • Geo-Jade Petroleum (China)
  • Schlumberger (USA)
  • Zarubezhneft (Russia)

Eight companies had applied for approval.

The five successful companies will be eligible to compete along with the following companies which are qualified from previous licensing rounds:

The areas to be offered include the onshore exploration blocks of Khudher Al-Mai, Jebel Sanam (Jabal Sanam) and Umm-Qasr on the Kuwaiti border; the Sindbad, Huwaiza, Shihabi, Zurbatia and Naft Khana blocks on the Iranian border; and the offshore exploration blocks in the Iraqi regional waters of the Arab gulf.

The bidding process should commence in May, according to the following schedule:

(Source: Oil Ministry)

Petronas confirms Exit from Majnoon Oilfield

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:51am

By John Lee.

Malaysia’s Petronas has reportedly confirmed that it will exit from Iraq’s Majnoon oil field along with joint stakeholder Shell.

A spokeswoman for Petronas told The National:

Petronas confirms its exit from the Majnoon oilfield, Iraq, together with Shell. We will be working with Shell on the handover of the field to the Basra Oil Company [BOC].

“An announcement will be made once details of the handover is finalised.

Petronas holds a 30-percent stake in the field, with Shell having 45 percent.

On 21st December, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil approved a set of measures relating to the development of the super giant field once Shell relingushes it back to Iraq; IBN Expert Blogger Ahmed Mousa Jiyad described the decision as “an important move in the right direction“.

Petronas retains interests in the Badra, Garraf, Halfaya oilfields.

(Source: The National)

Mövenpick Signs Basra Hotel Deal

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:44am

Swiss-based Mövenpick has signed a deal to manage a five-star, 152-key hotel in Basra, Iraq”s economic capital and a regional oil and gas hub.

The Mövenpick Hotel Basra is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. Located in the center of Basra, within the commercial district of Al Baradi’yah and 25km west of Basra International Airport, the new property will help to fill a gap in the market for upscale hotels.

Olivier Chavy, President & CEO, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, said:

Basra is one of the Middle East”s fastest-growing economic centres, a major oil producer and is undergoing rapid infrastructure development, so the time is right for Mövenpick to cement its presence in this flourishing city.

“Our upcoming property will cater to pent-up demand from the corporate sector, which contributes around 90% of hotel demand in Basra due to the high volume of oil and gas and shipping companies based in this booming region of Iraq.

Amenities at the Mövenpick Hotel Basra will include one all-day dining and one specialty restaurant; an executive lounge and a lobby lounge; a meetings and events area featuring a 700-square metre ballroom, multi-functional hall and meeting room; an indoor swimming pool, gym, spa, and beauty salon; and a retail area.

Mr. Akeel Ibraheem Al-Khalidy, Chairman of the South Group Corporation and Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Investment, part of Basra Council, said,

“With tens of thousands of foreign workers and businessmen travelling in and out of Basra every day and thousands more based in the city, Mövenpick Hotel Basra will be well placed to provide them with high-quality business, dining and leisure facilities and accommodation that set new hospitality standards in this thriving area of Iraq.”

(Source: Movenpick)

Baghdad “bans” Kar Group from Kirkuk Oilfields

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:44am

By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has reportedly banned Erbil-based Kar Group from operating oil fields in Kirkuk.

According to Rudaw, it assigned the state-owned North Oil Company (NOC) to take over oil production in the province and export it through Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO).

Reuters reports that Kar Group had been operating some of the Kirkuk oilfields since Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control of the city in 2014, following the retreat of the Iraqi army in the face of so-called Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh).

It is said to have failed to reach agreement with Baghdad after Iraqi forces re-took the area.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) claims that the Khurmala field, part of the Kirkuk oilfields, is located inside its boundaries.

(Sources: Rudaw, Reuters)

New EU Strategy to Increase Support to Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:43am

EU strategy on Iraq: new proposal to strengthen support to the Iraqi people

On Monday, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission adopted a Joint Communication proposing an EU strategy for Iraq in order to address the many challenges the country faces following the territorial defeat of Da’esh.

The proposal outlines both ongoing and longer term EU support to the country, fully taking into account the Iraqi government’s priorities.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission said:

“Iraq is at a crossroads in its history following the territorial defeat of Da’esh at great sacrifice. It is now crucial to act quickly and rebuild the country with the participation of all the components of Iraqi society, to promote and protect fundamental rights and the rule of law in each and every area: only inclusiveness can guarantee true reconciliation so that Iraqis can close once and for all with the past.

“This needs international support and we are ready to contribute, to keep supporting the Iraqi people and government in these challenges, for the sake of the people of the country and the region”.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who has visited Iraq several times to assess EU aid projects on the ground said:

The EU has been providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi people since the beginning. Humanitarian needs remain high and many people remain displaced by conflict. I have seen first-hand the suffering in places like Mosul and Fallujah and it is crucial that all aid efforts continue to be impartial and neutral. It is essential to support all Iraqi’s in need of assistance today and tomorrow, for as long as it takes.”

Kuwait Gas-Supply Pact — Iraq “has Much to Gain”

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:43am

By Salam Zidane for Al Monitor. Any views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Iraq has much to gain from gas-supply pact with Kuwait

Kuwait will begin importing natural gas from neighboring Iraq this year, a development welcomed in Baghdad as it could improve Iraq’s relations with the Gulf countries — relations that ruptured when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Most of Iraq’s gas is associated petroleum gas, also known as flare gas. Associated petroleum gas is a byproduct of oil production, as opposed to natural gas that comes directly from gas reservoirs in the ground.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has decided to export associated petroleum gas from international oil companies operating in southern Iraq to Kuwait via a gas pipeline near Basra. Kuwait would then turn it into dry gas, condensates and liquid gas, among other types. According to the Ministry of Oil, Iraq flares 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas daily.

Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told Al-Monitor, “Iraq will export to Kuwait the associated gas, part of which is flared on a daily basis. Processing natural gas is a complex and expensive industrial process that requires building plants through local and foreign companies.”

Jihad said, “Iraq is set to supply Kuwait with 50 million cubic feet of gas daily, which will gradually increase to 200 million cubic feet [depending on] international prices. The gas will be exported through the three-decade-old pipeline linking the two countries. The pipeline, however, needs maintenance. Iraq will take care of maintenance over the 30 kilometers [19 miles] of pipeline stretching within its territory, while Kuwait will handle its part of the pipeline.”

Iraq has lost billions of dollars annually as a result of wasteful gas flaring and its importation of diesel fuel for electricity. That’s not to mention the low levels of energy efficiency because many Iraqi power stations run on dry gas, which is not produced locally.

What has compounded the problem is the reluctance of some oil companies to exploit associated gas despite the increase in Iraq’s crude oil production from an average of about 1 million barrels per day in 2003 to roughly 4.3 million per day in December, which increased gas flaring from 700 million cubic feet to 1.5 billion cubic feet daily.

Kuwait will lay the pipeline to the neighboring Rumaila oil field, the largest in the world, under the supervision of the BP oil company. The agreement is likely to be implemented soon, since Kuwait has a demand for natural gas that exceeds its supply by an estimated 500 million cubic feet daily. Kuwait has been unable to curb this deficit in part because of tension among Gulf countries that has prevented Qatari gas from flowing into Kuwait via Saudi Arabia; Reuters reports that much of the shortfall is being covered by imports of liquefied natural gas.

The Iraq-Kuwait associated petroleum gas deal should help Iraq pay off the remaining reparations for the invasion of Kuwait, amounting to $4.5 billion.

Iraq’s parliamentary Oil and Gas Committee criticized the government’s energy policy for relying on the development of oil production and neglecting natural gas processing, which could put an end to the country’s electricity crisis and launch petrochemical industries. Committee member Zaher al-Abadi told Al-Monitor, “Iraq is losing billions of dollars in flaring gas, while the Ministry of Oil is standing idly by.”

Oil expert Hamza al-Jawahiri, who is knowledgeable about the agreements between international oil companies and the Ministry of Oil, and between the ministry and various countries, said Kuwait will process the natural gas in Iraq and then transport it to its cities.

“As per the agreement, Kuwait will bear the expenses of building plants, processing and piping the gas,” he said. The gas will be processed in Iraq by separating impurities and non-methane hydrocarbons and fluids to produce dry natural gas.

Jawahiri added that Kuwait signed an agreement months ago with Basrah Gas Company, which is part of the latest gas export agreement, noting that other sources of gas will include rich oil and gas fields in southern Iraq. Basrah Gas is a consortium of three businesses including the majority shareholder South Gas Co., Shell and Mitsubishi. The consortium exploits gas from three oil fields.

Shaalan al-Daraji, Basrah Gas chief information officer, told Al-Monitor the company’s plan, which runs until 2021, aims to end the flaring of gas in the Zubair, Qurna 1 and Rumaila oil fields. “The company currently produces 700 million cubic feet of gas daily and has a strategic plan to stop gas flaring in oil fields,” Daraji said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed great support for the Kuwait agreement, which could end Iraq’s long-standing estrangement with the Gulf countries, as Kuwait has asked the United Nations Security Council to lift sanctions on Iraq.

Pentagon Details Progress in Defeating ISIS

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:43am

Coalition and partnered forces are building upon progress in Iraq and Syria to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the director of press operations at the Pentagon told reporters here today.

Recent developments include Iraqi forces securing more than 20 improvised explosive devices and bombmaking materials in Baghdad, Army Col. Rob Manning said.

Iraqi forces cleared 20 IEDs in operations near Bashika in Ninewah province. Security operations continue in and around Tal Afar, Manning said.

In Hawijah, Iraqi forces cleared more than 11 square miles and 32 villages. Iraqi forces also killed eight ISIS terrorists and destroyed 10 ISIS fighting positions and six tunnels, he added.

Additionally, Manning noted, Iraqi forces conducted security operations and seized explosive caches with more than 45 IEDs and five suicide vests near Qaim in Anbar Province.

“The [Iraqis] conducted a large controlled detonation containing confiscated IEDs, mortar rounds, [rocket-propelled grenades] and other illegal explosives,” he said.

Coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets Jan. 7, Manning said.

Progress in Syria

Coalition precision strikes in Syria killed 11 ISIS terrorists, as the Syrian Democratic Forces continued clearance operations along the eastern Euphrates River, Manning said. The SDF advanced about a half mile in the wake of heavy ISIS resistance, he reported.

Manning said coalition military forces conducted nine strikes on Jan. 7 in Syria, consisting of 14 engagements against ISIS targets.

“Near Abu Kamal, nine strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS headquarters, a command-and-control center, three logistical centers, a fighting position, two [vehicle-borne bombs] and two ISIS vehicles,” Manning said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Scandalous Satarem Refinery Contract gets Final Notice

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 9:53am

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

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

Satarem-Missan Refinery Scandalous Contract Gets Final Termination Notice

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) announced on 4th January 2018 that it had obliged Missan International Refinery Company (MIRC) (actually the bankrupt Swiss company Satarem) to sign an undertaking that it should start working on the 150kbd Missan Refinery within 30 days; otherwise the contract will be terminated without having any legal and financial consequences on the Ministry.

This move by the Ministry is long overdue and should be the very final termination warning as more than four years were lost without any tangible progress in the construction of the refinery.

As I have repeatedly argued, through my writings especially the direct debate communications with the Ministry officials and advisors that by concluding such a dubious contract with highly questionable unqualified bankrupt company, the Ministry surely deters serious refinery investors and, thus, defeats its own aspirations.

Please click here to download the full report.

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), Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

Iraq Stock Market Report

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 9:52am

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 4th Jan 2018).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD802 (-1.1%) / $826 (-1.1%) (weekly change). The number of week traded shares was 1.4bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.2bn ($1.0mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) issued a new condition on the brokerage companies to sell and buy foreign currencies to continue to enter the currency sale window. The bank said in a statement that it was decided to deposit IQD100mn in the insurance account with the CBI instead of letters of guarantee. The bank added that “the last period to complete the deposit is on 31 January. The bank has set new conditions and instructions on banks and brokerage companies to enter the currency sale window to prevent corruption and trading in hard currency. (CBI, Economic Iraq)
  • The bonds will be traded in the ISX according to the government’s bonds instructions as of January 2018. Depositing the bonds started on Jan. 2, 2018 in the Iraqi Depository Center.
  • Al-Ahlyia for Agricultural Production (AAHP) will hold AGM* on Jan. 25, 2018 to discuss and approve the financial results of the year ending Mar. 31, 2017. ISX will suspend trading of AAHP starting Jan. 21, 2018.
  • Al-Ameen Estate Investment (SAEI) will hold AGM* on Jan. 17, 2018 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. ISX will suspend trading of SAEI starting Jan. 14, 2018.
  • Al -Khazer for Construction Materials (IKHC) will hold AGM* on Jan. 15, 2018 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results.
  • Kurdistan International Bank (BKUI) completed the procedures and received the approval of the Companies’ Registrar on Dec. 24, 2017 of changing the company name into Kurdistan Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development.
  • New shares of Al-Ameen Insurance (NAME) from the capital increase to IQD3.81bn through 12% bonus issue were deposited into the shareholders’ accounts. (Source: IDC)
  • Subscription on 150bn International Islamic Bank (BINT) shares was extended 60 days starting Jan. 2, 2018 to increase the capital from IQD100bn to IQD250bn through 150% rights issue.
  • The subscription for the shares of Rabee Securities was closed as of Dec. 25, 2017.
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