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Bigger Discount for Heavy Basra Crude

Bigger Discount for Heavy Basra Crude

By John Lee.

Iraq is reported to be giving bigger discounts for heavy crude from Basra from January.

The State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) recently abandoned plans to split its “Basra Light” grade into two grades, light and heavy.

Reuters says this latest move is aimed at pacifying buyers who have had to deal with varying quality of blended Basra Light, which can vary from an API gravity of 26 degrees to 34 degrees.

It is believed that from the end of the year, a discount, or “de-escalation factor”, of 60 cents a barrel will be applied for every API degree below 27; a de-escalation factor of 40 cents per API is already in place for Basra crude with an API below 34 degrees.

(Source: Reuters)

Posted in Oil & Gas7 Comments

Shell, FC Barcelona Extend Basra Partnership

Shell, FC Barcelona Extend Basra Partnership

Shell and the Foundation of Football Club Barcelona (FFCB) have signed an agreement extending the award winning extra-curricular school programme “FutbolNet”, for an additional two seasons in Basrah.

The “FutbolNet” programme is based on FFCB’s methodology of using football to develop life and leadership skills, respect, tolerance, teamwork, responsibility and effort amongst children and encouraging positive behaviour through the ages of 7 and 17.

The extension follows the great success of “FutbolNet” festivals in Iraq. Moreover, the programme has been well received by the participating communities in Iraq who feel it is of great benefit to the individual and collective development of youth in the country.

Endorsed by former national athlete Mr. Hani Waleed, former Secretary General of the Basrah Athletic Federation, the unique football project kicked off in 2013 through the ‘FutbolNet Festivals’ which were rolled out in communities across Basrah in southern-Iraq.

One of the participants Hussien Khalil, who is 12, said:

“The programme has made me more committed to my studies and school work. I now have more respect for timekeeping than before and my grades have also improved.

“My parents and teachers have certainly taken notice of my achievements whilst I have also enjoyed making new friends during the programme.”

The initiative also further builds on Shell’s capacity building programme and social investment activities in Iraq which include health care, road safety and entrepreneurship.

Posted in Leisure and Tourism, Oil & Gas4 Comments

Freedom Square offers Refuge for Basra Residents

Freedom Square offers Refuge for Basra Residents

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

No one in the southern Iraqi province Basra believed that families would flock to Hurriyah (Freedom) Square to see and sit by the new monument after it was greatly ridiculed in newspapers and on social networking sites for its appearance — some described it as a large eggplant surrounded by horses.

People from out of town changed their opinions about the monument once they arrived in Basra and heard the residents’ stories about it.

The plan to build a “Freedom Monument” in Basra was announced together with plans for other statues in Iraq, which were also criticized.

Basra is the second-largest city in Iraq and the only Iraqi city with harbors overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The West Qurna oil field, which produces 360,000 barrels of oil per day, is located in the city. But Basra suffers from unemployment and lack of social services.

Life in Basra has become harder on the residents since militias have emerged in the city. Hurriyah Square, which has so far not been the scene of any fighting, has become a safe haven for young people who object to Sharia rule imposed by Islamic parties that are in control of various parts of the city.

On Sept. 11, the day of the square’s inauguration, Basra Gov. Majid al-Nasrawi, said, “[This is] one of the successful projects in Basra … and [the square is] a breather for its residents.”

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Public Works, Security2 Comments

The Real Estate Wreckers of Basra

The Real Estate Wreckers of Basra

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Real Estate Wreckers: While Ordinary Basra Families Suffer, A New Upper Class Profits

Real estate prices in Basra are rising dramatically thanks to the oil industry, the province’s economic prowess and a growing population. Many locals say a new class of corrupt officials, smugglers and developers are profiting while ordinary families are forced to move out of town.

After ten years living in the same house, in the Bariha area of Basra, Ahmed Bader and his family of five were forced to leave their home. The landlord had increased the rent to US$1,600 monthly and Bader only earns IQD900,000 (around US$760) each month.

“We had no choice,” Bader says, “we were forced to move to an agricultural area in the Abu al-Khaseeb area outside of Basra, even though that’s a long way from my workplace.”

Bader is not the only local in Basra to be feeling the effects of rising real estate prices. Central areas in Basra are heavily populated and rents for ordinary houses here are as high as US$2,000 while it now costs around US$1 million to buy a 400 square meter property here. This is despite the fact that improvements to infrastructure in central Basra have not kept pace with real estate price rises.

The reason for such price hikes: Basra is one of the centres of Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry and, as local journalist Hashim Luaibi points out, the oil companies can afford to pay these higher rates to provide for their employees. Basra is also a prosperous area and currently, because of its Shiite Muslim-majority population, it is not as troubled as other parts of Iraq by violence caused by the Sunni Muslim extremist group, the Islamic State.

There’s been an influx of Iraqis from other parts of the country to Basra over the past few years but there’s nowhere for them to live, says a local lawyer, Tariq al-Abarsim.

“Displacement and population growth combined with the absence of any real housing projects have led to chaos in the housing sector,” al-Abarsim suggests.

Posted in Construction & Engineering0 Comments

Basra Light Crude may Split into 2 Grades

Basra Light Crude may Split into 2 Grades

By John Lee.

The Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has proposed splitting its Basra Light crude supply into two grades.

Reuters cites trade sources as saying that SOMO and has requested feedback on the proposal by the end of the week from buyers in Asia.

Iraq now plans to offer two grades of crude for exports from its southern terminals: “light” with an API gravity of 29 degrees, and “heavy” with an API gravity of 24-25 degrees.

SOMO would set monthly official selling prices (OSPs) for each grade.

(Source: Reuters)

Posted in Oil & GasComments Off

Basra Oil Wealth to Build Iraq

Basra Oil Wealth to Build Iraq

By John Lee.

Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi [Adil Abd al-Mahdi] has reportedly promised to make Basra the economic capital of Iraq, but added that there are many obstacles to be solved in achieving this.

During a visit to oil and gas installations in southern Iraq, the Minister pointed out the importance of the South Oil Company (SOC) to Iraqi revenues, and said that there would be an increase in oil production levels that would benefit all the people of Iraq.

These are not just promises,” he said, “our aim is to build Iraq.

(Source: UPI, Aswat al Iraq, Ministry of Oil)

Posted in Oil & GasComments Off

METKA Wins Shatt Al Basra Contract

METKA Wins Shatt Al Basra Contract

By Patrick M Schmidt.

METKA, a Greek engineering and contracting firm, has won a $165 million (192 billion Iraqi dinars) contract to work on the Shatt Al Basra Power Plant.

The contract allows for the company to oversee the process of making the plant fit to burn heavy fuel oil for electrical generation.

The project will be executed over the next year for the Ministry of Electricity.

METKA is already installing a 1,250MW gas-powered turbine in Basra on a separate contract.

(Source: Metka)

Posted in Oil & Gas, Public WorksComments Off

UNDP Inaugurates Basra Sub-Office

UNDP Inaugurates Basra Sub-Office

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov (pictured), officially inaugurated UNDP’s sub-office for southern Iraq in Basra.

Held at the premises of the sub-office, the inauguration ceremony was attended by local officials and civil society leaders, including the Chief Justice of the Basra Appellate Court, the Head of the Police Force in Basra, the Head of the Development Committee of the Basra Provincial Council, and members of the Provincial Council.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mladenov stressed that

the inauguration of this sub-office demonstrates the UN’s commitment to bring its services closer to the beneficiaries and build stronger partnerships with local authorities and civil society.

“UNDP and the rest of the UN family will strive to foster greater social cohesion, inclusive growth, clean and sustainable environment and resilient and transparent governance structures and processes”.

Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, the UNDP Iraq Country Director, stated that:

“UNDP has been a Development Partner to Iraq for the past 35 years. This sub-office is meant to serve the four southern provinces of Basra, Muthanna, Thi Qar and Missan and will be followed very soon with another one for the mid-Euphrates region. UNDP will also double its presence in Erbil”.

Mr. Abdelmoula thanked the Government of Sweden for its generous contribution that enabled UNDP to establish the Basra sub-office.

(Source: UN)

Posted in Industry & TradeComments Off

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