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China to open Consulate in Erbil


Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani today received Mr Tan Banglin, envoy from China’s Foreign Ministry appointed to be the first Chinese consul general in the Kurdistan Region.

Mr Banglin said that he was very pleased to visit the Kurdistan Region, stating that he has arrived in the Region during this difficult time to express China’s solidarity and support for Kurdistan and to determine how China can aid the Kurdistan Region in assisting refugees and the displaced.

He added that in the framework of China’s relations with the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, China’s Consulate General in Erbil will be inaugurated in the coming two months and that he will be appointed as his country’s first consul general in the Kurdistan Region. Through opening the consulate Mr Banglin said he will do his best to establish a bridge between China and the Kurdistan Region and will encourage Chinese companies and investors to participate in the reconstruction and economic development of the Region.

Prime Minister Barzani welcomed Mr Banglin to the Kurdistan Region and applauded China’s decision to open a consulate in Erbil and strengthen its ties with the Kurdistan Region. He said the decision is a vote of moral support for the Kurdistan Region at this challenging time, welcoming the step and conveying his full support for the decision to open the consulate.

In the meeting both sides discussed the mutual importance of strengthening bilateral ties in all sectors, especially trade and industry, as well as social and political relations. Both agreed on the need to support the KRG in fighting the terrorist militants.

Once the Chinese Consulate General in Erbil is inaugurated, all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council will have diplomatic representation in the Kurdistan Region.

(Source: KRG)

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BP, CNPC Increase Stakes in Rumaila


By John Lee.

Reuters reports that a revised contract signed last week by BP and China’s CNPC for the Rumaila oilfield has raised both companies’ stakes in the project.

Thamer Ghadhban (pictured), energy adviser to former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, told the news agency that BP’s share has been increased from 38 percent to 47.6 percent, and CNPC’s from 37 percent to 46.4 percent.

The stake owned by Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) was cut from 25 percent to 6 percent.

It was reported earlier this week that output targets for the supergiant field had been reduced, and the contract period extended.

(Source: Reuters)

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Can China Do More For Iraq?


By John Lee.

China expert Simone Van Nieuwenhuizen has written an opinion piece for The Diplomata foreign affairs journal that covers events in Asia. She argues that it would be in China’s interests to do more for Iraq.

In the piece, Van Niewenhuizen notes that not only has China been threatened by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but also supports a UN Resolution condemning terror groups in Iraq and Syria and imports a significant amount of Iraq’s oil.

But despite China’s involvement in investment and reconstruction in Iraq, the Asian giant has so far avoided any counter-terror commitments currently being pursued by both NATO and Russia, among other countries with interests in the Middle East.

Van Nieuwenhuizen argues this situation may soon change if China wishes to safeguard her MENA region interests. Read the full piece here.

(Source: The Diplomat)

 

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Oil Storage Contract Awarded to CPP


By Patrick M Schmidt.

The Ministry of Oil has approved a contract worth $607 million (708 billion Iraqi dinar) with China Petroleum Pipeline (CPP).

The company will now be able to begin construction on an oil storage facility to accommodate future development projects at the Nassiriya oilfield.

The field currently produces 40,000 barrels of oil per day, but is planned to reach an output of 300,000 barrels per day by project completion.

(Source: Reuters)

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Chinese Hackers Target US Experts on Iraq


A sophisticated Chinese hacker group is now reported to be focusing its efforts on US policy towards Iraq.

The group, called “Deep Panda,” started targeting US policy experts and think tanks with links to Iraq on 18th June, the day that ISIS began to attack the oil refinery at Baiji.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of security company CrowdStrike, told ComputerWorld that the shift made clear that the Chinese government wanted to know what policy makers thought was happening in Iraq and what military moves the U.S. might make to stabilize the situation.

China is the largest foreign investor in Iraqi oil fields, and draws about 10% of its oil imports from the country. Most of China’s oil investments, however, are in southern Iraq.

CrowdStrike, which has tracked Deep Panda for three years, believes the group either works for or is actually funded by the Chinese government.

(Source: ComputerWorld)

(Computer image via Shutterstock)

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Zebari Meets Chinese Ambassador


By John Lee.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has met the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yong.

The Minister confirmed Iraq’s participation in the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in the Asia States to be held in Shanghai, China. Iraq participates in the conference with a delegation comprising Undersecretary for Policy Planning and senior officials in the Ministry. It is worth mentioning that Iraq is a member of this conference which includes 24 Asian countries.

The Minister explained the circumstances that prevented the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs from participating in the conference because it coincided with the announcement of the results of the parliamentary elections and that all of the political leaders are preoccupied with the political consultations.

The Minister stressed the government’s keenness to enhance the distinguished bilateral relations, confirming the participation of Iraq in the sixth session of the Ministerial Meeting of the Arab – Chinese Cooperation Forum, which will be held in Beijing early next June.

The meeting was attended by Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Multilateral Relations, Acting Head of the Protocol Department, and Deputy Head of Asia Department.

(Source: MoFA)

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Technip Wins FEED Contract at Rumaila


Technip, in partnership with China HuanQiu Contracting & Engineering Corporation (HQC), has been awarded a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for the Ar Ratawi Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) train1 project at North Rumaila in Basra.

The deal was awarded by the Basra Gas Company (BGC), a joint venture between the Iraq’s South Gas Company (51%), Shell (44%) and Mitsubishi (5%).

The project is the first of the new greenfield associated gas processing facilities that will significantly minimize gas flaring in Iraq and make more energy resources available for power and domestic use– an NGL train with nominal feed gas capacity of 530 million standard cubic feet per day. The standalone facilities will produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), NGL and condensate for domestic markets.

The scope of work covers the basic engineering design package of the NGL process units, utilities and the submission of an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) package.

Technip’s operating center in Abu Dhabi will execute the project, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Vaseem Khan, President of Technip in the Middle East, declared:

This award reflects Technip’s strengthened position in the Middle-East market, following several previous awards. We are proud to bring our specific technological edge and licensed innovative solutions to the downstream industry, while leveraging our 30 years presence in the region.

(Source: Technip)

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Lucky Cement Starts Production in Iraq


By John Lee.

Pakistan’s Lucky Cement has started production in Iraq from February of this year, in a 50/50 joint venture with the Al-Shawy family.

The company’s CEO, Muhammad Ali Tabba (pictured), told Dawn that a total of $40 million has been invested in the grinding mill in Basra, which has a capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day, servicing the Southern Iraq market which has a very high demand for sulphate resistant cement (SRC).

He said the project was challenging, as getting human as well as material resources on site proved complicated due to various reasons including government regulations, market structure and support infrastructure weakness, etc.

“It’s the first phase of development and if we succeed in our projections, we may go for a full cement production line of 1.25m tonnes which may cost around $125m,” he said.

He described Basra as safer and politically more stable than the rest of Iraq in general, and Baghdad in particular.

The country is currently producing around 16 million tonnes of cement and consuming around 24m tonnes, with around 80 per cent of its cement imports coming from Iran.

France’s Lafarge is the market leader in Iraq with 50 percent market share, and there are three or four Chinese cement manufacturers, in addition to “from three to four” (sic) government-owned cement plants.

(Source: Dawn)

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