Jordanian-based OFFTEC, a subsidiary of OFFTEC Holding Group, announced the opening of its first branch in Iraq.
Located in the city of Erbil, the new branch further builds on OFFTEC ‘s growing network, which encompasses multiple branches across Jordan, Palestine and Sudan, all of which specialize in the provision of innovative business and technology services and solutions.
Basim Said, Managing Director of OFFTEC, commented:
“Inaugurating our first branch in Iraq corresponds with our goal to extend our products and services to a broader client base within the region. By being present in the Iraqi market, we will be able to offer our customers high quality products and premium after-sales services for which OFFTEC has become renowned for worldwide.
“Over the past 105 years, OFFTEC has established longstanding partnerships with market pioneers across the world, thus securing our standing as a trusted provider of integrated business solutions and exceptional services.“
OFFTEC is a leading provider of innovative business and technology solutions in the areas of Banking Technologies, Office Technologies and Furniture, IT and Physical Security, IT Infrastructure, Plastic Card Technologies, and Software Solutions.
OFFTEC has built a large customer base spanning all industries including banks, private sector companies, governmental agencies and educational institutions, among others.
The first day of the Erbil Business Conference highlighted the interest of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to attract investment and to operate within the principles of open markets whilst battling the perception that it is a dangerous place to operate.
The Conference started with a speech by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan, Nerchivan Barzani, read by the Minister of Trade on his behalf. The PM stated that KRG has a policy of encouraging an open market, but developing this needs help from the United Kingdom.
Baroness Nicholson, UK Trade Envoy for Iraq and IBBC Chairman, emphasised that many of the successes of Iraq in the last decade have been in small to medium sized businesses.
The event is jointly hosted by the Kurdistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the IBBC, with the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce. The conference has been attended by authorities from both KRG and the Iraqi Central Government, more than 400 delegates and a mission of 30 IBBC members. Sessions have included topics such as banking and insurance, the built environment and oil and gas.
There were discussions on the need to encourage the private sector, the great opportunities in building and construction including planned civic buildings, and the success of Zaha Hadid’s Central Bank of Iraq Project partly thanks to the independence of the institution and the assistance provided by the financial services volunteer corps.
The Oil and Gas panel highlighted the challenges the industry faces such as security problems, lack of skilled labour, availability of materials and credit delays. However the panel highlighted that Kurdistan is an easier area to work in than elsewhere in Iraq, being less bureaucratic and more independent thinking.
Iraqi Foreign Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari, received the Armenian Ambassador to Iraq, Karen Grigoryan, at his office on Sunday, and discussed with him bilateral relations, opening joint cooperation horizons through accelerating the preparation for holding the first meeting of the Iraqi-Armenian Committee, excluding the diplomats from visas, facilitating the procedures for granting visas, and opening a consulate in Erbil.
Jaafari received an invitation from his Armenian counterpart to visit Armenia. He asserted that Iraq seeks to open to the world countries on the basis of mutual interests and facing common threats, adding that he would visit Armenia to boost relations.
For his part, the Armenian Ambassador stressed his country’s keenness on enhancing bilateral relations, noting that Armenia is providing lots of aids to the displaced Iraqi families, thanking the Iraqi government for exerting efforts to preserve the security and safety of the minorities in Iraq.
Worldwide Recruitment Solutions (WRS), an international recruitment company serving the needs of oil and gas consultancies, contractors, operators and service companies, are now fully operational in the Kurdistan region.
WRS’ Erbil office, located on Golan Street in the increasingly popular and cosmopolitan city of Erbil, opened early in 2015.
Managing Director Mark Brown explains the thought process behind their decision to invest in Kurdistan:
“We ultimately chose Kurdistan following several trade missions to the region where we saw a wealth of opportunities in a fast developing market.”
Worldwide Recruitment Solutions are now actively seeking both local and expatriate talent within the Kurdistan region, and are also building their network of Kurdish professionals in other areas of the world who may be looking to return to the region.
WRS’ Country Manager for Kurdistan, Jonathan Mooney, is already enjoying life in Erbil:
“It’s a cosmopolitan city with plenty of things to do and the opportunities for networking here are great. At the moment I’m focusing on building our client and candidate base and meeting as many professionals in Kurdistan as I can.”
A high ranking delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, headed by Mr. Abdul-Rahman al-Shahri, visited Kurdistan Region to prepare the opening of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Erbil in a near future.
In a meeting held yesterday with the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, Mr. al-Shahri stated that the decision of opening the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Erbil was taken personally by His Majesty King Abdulla bin Abdul-Aziz.
He expressed his hope that it would help developing and strengthening the relations between Erbil and Riyadh in various fields, including providing assistance to those who wish to accomplish their duty of Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage.
He pointed out that opening of the Consulate in Erbil will take place shortly after the Saudi Arabian Embassy begins its mission in Baghdad, which is expected to be soon.
Prime Minister Barzani welcomed the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to open an Embassy in Baghdad and a Consulate in Erbil. He said that opening the Embassy in Baghdad would help the normalisation and development of ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
He added that whilst relations between Saudi Arabia and the Kurdistan Region have always been friendly, it is hoped that they would further develop in the future, helping to encourage Saudi Arabian investment in the Kurdistan Region.
The Prime Minister also reiterated that the Kurdistan Regional Government is ready to provide all the assistance and cooperation necessary for the opening of the Saudi Arabian Consulate.
According to current plans, the Kurdish region of Iraq will be able to export 1 million barrels of oil in the not too distant future–by some accounts by the end of 2015.
By 2020 as much as 10 billion cubic metres of gas will be exported from the region to Turkey under a 2013 agreement and this could rise to 20 bcm.
In the south of Iraq, this is rivalled by some ambitious expansion plans with Iraq’s South Oil Company, BP and PetroChina leading the charge at Rumaila, where they recently announced plans to double production at the super-giant field.
Meanwhile, the Shell-Petronas-Missan consortium continue plans at the vast Majnoon field. As the axis of global energy consumption shifts east, such expansion remains justified even as prices have tumbled.
But while the history of oil and gas in southern Iraq goes back decades, the Kurdish region remains in many ways an energy frontier. For example, in 2009 there were no official exports while today the Taq Taq and Tawke fields alone will bring an extra 160,000 bpd available for export and processing by the end of 2015.That impressive point was not the most important thing mentioned at the 4th Kurdistan-Iraq Oil and Gas Conference in London, a superbly well-organized event from CWC.
The three day conference provided delegates with nothing less than an immersive experience of the Iraqi energy sector and its emerging opportunities.