Tag Archive | "Kurdistan"

The latest news from Kurdistan – security updates, reconstruction and more – brought to you by Iraq Business News

Economic Activity Up Following Agreement

After easing almost a year of financial crisis and terrorism threat, the Kurdistan Region last week hosted the 10th Erbil International Fair attended by 250 companies from 16 countries.

In the wake of initial agreement between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve oil export and budgetary issues, and of security advances to halt the ISIS threat, market confidence begins to regain and business continues to progress.

Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Trade and Industry, Samal Sardar, highlighted the importance of hosting the fair amid current circumstances.

He said, “The participation of companies from foreign countries might not be at the level of previous years, but hosting the fair shows that business activities have not stopped and the Kurdistan Region’s security situation is very stable for business.” Minister Samal Sardar stressed that the Region’s economy continues to improve.

The breakthrough agreement between Erbil and Baghdad on resolving outstanding issues has helped to resume and revive business activities in the Region.

Mr. Abdulla Ahmed Abdul-Rahim, supervisor of Erbil International Exhibition told krg.org, “Hosting the fair amid the current situation, especially after the initial agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, shows that Kurdistan can preserve its economic position and successfully manage crises.”

He added, “Erbil International Fair managed to build trust during the last ten years and the KRG has played a key role in developing the venue. The fairground has so far hosted more than 60 exhibitions on various sectors and has greatly benefited the people of Kurdistan.”

Representatives of private sector companies said the economic crisis and terrorist threats adversely affected their plans and caused suspension of some planed activities. However, the situation did not last long, as demonstrated by participation of international companies in various exhibitions.

Mr. Saman Brifkani, Supervisor of Magic Art Advertising Agency told krg.org, “Despite some concerns by some companies there have been various exhibitions by big brands and companies in the Kurdistan Region including Land Rover, Range Rover and BMW in which they showcased their latest products. In addition, various French, American and British franchises in Erbil’s markets and malls have recently launched.

“The breakthrough agreement between Erbil and Baghdad will strengthen trust and support increasing business activities”, he added.

On the sidelines at the fair the Czech Republic Consul General to Erbil, Jaroslav Reif, and a delegation from his country’s ministry of trade and industry discussed their activities in the Region.

The Czech Republic Consul General told krg.org, “Czech companies together with Czech banks implemented major projects in the Kurdistan Region especially in the electricity sector. We want to introduce the Kurdistan Region’s investment market to the Czech Republic and invite European investors to support investment activities in the Region.”

The Czech Republic is among the active investors in the Kurdistan Region’s investment market and has long reiterated its interest to invest in the Region.

Lebanon is among the countries that have not suspended their investment and business activities in the Kurdistan Region.

Mr. Jacques Jean Sarraf, Chairman of the Malia Group which owns various investments in the Region especially in the tourism sector told krg.org “The Lebanese private sector is keen on the Kurdistan Region and they did not suspend their activities in the Region.”

He added that his group is one of the main exporters to the Kurdistan Region and they are working on finding an alternative route for bringing their goods to the Region through air cargo as most of the Syrian and Lebanon border is under the control of the Islamic State terrorist organisation, known as ISIS.

Mr. Sarraf said, “Lebanon has played a significant role in developing the Region’s banking, construction and tourism sectors, and has contributed to the investment in the Kurdistan Region, including in basic and higher education.”

In another development, Britain Business Group Kurdistan was launched on 10 December, 2014 to further collaboration between British companies and companies based in the Kurdistan Region.

During the inaugural ceremony, Mr. Frank Baker, British Ambassador to Iraq, highlighted the Kurdistan Region as a stable and suitable environment for economic and trade activities.

During the ceremony, KRG Spokesperson Minister Safeen Dizayee reaffirmed, “The KRG supports the free market and facilitates foreign investment in the Kurdistan Region.”

(Source: KRG)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Industry & Trade, Oil & GasComments (3)

Dana Remains Committed to Iraq, Despite Claim

By John Lee.

Sharjah-based Dana Gas and its consortium partners, Crescent Petroleum and Pearl Petroleum, is pursuing $100 million (117 billion Iraqi dinars) in payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), the company said:

“The LCIA [London Court of International Arbitration] Tribunal recently ordered the KRG to pay the Consortium US$100 million within a timeframe of 30 days by way of a second interim order.

“In default of its legal obligations, the KRG failed to make payment by the stipulated deadline of 17th November 2014 and as a
consequence, the Tribunal’s order became peremptory in nature, enabling its enforcement by the English Court.

“With the Tribunal’s permission, on 12th December 2014, an application to the English Court has been made for enforcement of the order, with the prospect of sanctions being imposed on the KRG for non-compliance.”

But the company said that despite this, and a further multi-billion-dollar claim for breach of contract, which is due to be heard in April of next year, it remains committed to working in the Kurdistan and Iraq, adding:

“[We] sincerely hope that all outstanding contractual matters with the KRG be resolved, amicably and in good faith in the shortest possible time, within the contractual framework”.

“This will in turn enable the full and proper development of the Khor Mor and Chemchemal fields as envisaged by the Contract, for the benefit of the people of the Kurdistan region and all of Iraq.”

(Source: Dana Gas)

(Picture: Dana Gas operations in Iraqi Kurdistan)

Posted in Oil & GasComments (2)

Germany Continues to Encourage Investment in KRI

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, on Monday received Mr. Georg Enzweiler, on the occasion of his appointment as Germany’s new Consul General to the Kurdistan Region.

Mr. Enzweiler expressed his pleasure to be appointed as his country’s Consul General to Kurdistan Region and hoped to further develop bilateral relations between Germany and the Kurdistan Region.

He lauded the Kurdistan government, people and Peshmerga forces for their fight against terrorism and accommodating a large number of internally displaced people and refugees, who fled terrorist violence in other parts of Iraq and took refuge in Kurdistan Region.

Mr. Enzweiler reiterated his country’s humanitarian and military support to the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Consul General also reaffirmed his country’s determination to further strengthen the political and economic ties with the Kurdistan Region.

He added that, many German companies have actively participated in the Erbil international trade fair, which was held last week in Erbil, saying that Germany will continue to encourage its companies to work in the Kurdistan Region.

Posted in Industry & Trade, InvestmentComments (3)

GKP Shares Jump on Kurdistan Oil Update

By John Lee.

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) closed up more than 16 percent up on Tuesday, after the company issued an update on its operations at Shaikan, its key producing asset in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The shares had been languishing at new lows earlier in the week, having lost more than three-quarters of their value over the past two years.

The Company announced the completion of the installation of the flowlines to connect the Shaikan-7, -8, and -10 wells to the existing production facilities (“PF-1″ and “PF-2″).

The Shaikan-7 and -8 wells are now tied to PF-1 and Shaikan-10 to PF-2. The flowlines are currently being hydro-tested and first oil is expected to flow to the production facilities in December.

With the addition of the three new producers, the current total production levels of between 23,000 and 25,000 gross bopd will increase to 40,000 gross bopd.

An amine plant is currently being tested at PF-2, to be followed by the similar plant at PF-1 in early 2015. The amine plants will sweeten the associated gas stream, allowing it to be used as fuel for the production facilities instead of diesel, representing savings of up to US$400,000 per month to the project.

A rig package is moving to a location in the vicinity of Shaikan-10 in order to drill Shaikan-11, an additional producer. An 11 km flowline to tie this well to PF-2 has already been laid.

Shaikan crude oil exports by truck to the Turkish coast continue uninterrupted.

John Gerstenlauer (pictured), Gulf Keystone’s Chief Executive Officer commented:

“Despite numerous challenges earlier this year, Gulf Keystone has completed the work on the three additional producers on time. We are now testing the flowline connections, including an 11 km link between Shaikan-10 and PF-2, and look forward to boosting Shaikan production to our near-term target of 40,000 bopd.

“I would like to thank our entire team in the Kurdistan Region, which today includes over 300 employees and contractors, for their effort and diligent delivery in the area of construction, production and crude oil export sales.”

(Source: Gulf Keystone Petroleum)

Posted in Oil & GasComments (3)

Mobile Medical Clinics Arrive in Erbil

The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Food Programme (WFP) have collaborated to deliver eight mobile medical clinics which arrived in Erbil on Sunday.

These urgently needed clinics will be immediately deployed to parts of Iraq and Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The vehicles, flown in from Amman, Jordan, were procured by WHO and have been purpose-built to address the health needs of displaced populations residing in places with limited access to health care services – in camps, informal settlements and urban areas across the country.

The clinics were made possible through the support of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and are the first of their kind to be brought to Iraq to accelerate response efforts.

To mark the arrival of the mobile clinics, a ceremony set to host the Ministers of Health of both Iraq and KRI governments, a delegation from the government of Saudi Arabia, and representatives from WHO and WFP, will be held at Erbil airport on Wednesday.

“We are very pleased about the arrival of these new mobile clinics which will provide round-the-clock health services for vulnerable populations in Iraq,” said Dr Jaffar Hussein, WHO Representative for Iraq.

“Not only are mobile health clinics swift and relatively cost-efficient, they also enable health care to be provided as close as possible to affected communities. Each clinic has the capacity to support patient examinations, vaccinations for children, diagnosis and laboratory confirmation of diseases, pre- and antenatal care, the treatment of minor conditions such as skin infections, management of minor wounds, and to address dehydration,” he said.

Posted in Healthcare, SecurityComments (2)

British Business Group Kurdistan (BBGK) Launched

The British Business Group Kurdistan (BBGK) held its launch reception on Wednesday 10th December in the fabulous setting of the Jaguar Land Rover Showroom in Erbil.

The event was attended by business people, members of the diplomatic community and representatives from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The BBGK was recently established as it was felt there was sufficient momentum in the British business community here to warrant the formation of an independent group of like minded business people to promote British goods and services as well as British-owned companies operating in Kurdistan.

The BBGK provides a forum for networking, problem solving and social activities. In addition to its monthly networking lunch (with a variety of speakers on practical, relevant topics), the BBGK organisers one-off events, often coinciding with visiting trade delegations.

The BBGK also aims to be a touch point for British firms and individuals who are looking at Kurdistan as a potential market and would like to benefit from the experience of business people already operating here. The BBGK has the full support of the British consulate in Kurdistan but is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organisation, run by business people volunteering their services. The BBGK is registered with Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Membership of the BBGK is open to British individuals, British-owned companies and any company that markets British goods and services.

John Downe, Chairman of the BBGK, commented:

“Now is a tremendously exciting time for the region and we want to show the commitment of our members to the Kurdistan Region.

“We would love to hear from people who are interested in joining so together we can further build the business community.”

The founder committee members are:

  • John Downe, Chairman (Azure Serviced Offices);
  • Mustafa Sed, Events (JCB / K Machinery);
  • Botan Osman, Institutional Relations (Stirling Group and Restrata);
  • Harry Bucknall, Marketing (Control Risks);
  • Chris White, Membership (Jaguar Land Rover / Sardar);
  • Greg Englefield, Legal Affairs (Confluent Law Group);
  • Mike Barry, Treasurer (Edinburgh International and Constellis).

(Source: British Consulate General)

Posted in Industry & TradeComments (6)

KRG to US: ‘This is Iraq’s Last Chance’

During a speech to an audience of top Washington scholars and officials at the Center from Strategic International Studies (CSIS), Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said, ‘Iraq can only be saved if Baghdad is willing to devolve some of its powers to regional authorities and be more inclusive of minorities.’

He said that the poor policies of the previous government alienated the Sunnis of the country, adding, ‘The Islamic State did not fill a security vacuum, but a political vacuum.’

The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) concluded a four-day visit to Washington on Thursday, December 11, 2014. The visit included numerous meetings with senior US administration officials and members of Congress, events at leading think tanks, a roundtable discussion with US business leaders, and interviews with several news agencies.

In an opinion published in the Wall Street Journal, Mr Talabani laid out the challenges that Iraq will face in the future, calling for a return to the federalist structure of the Iraqi Constitution. He applauded the recent negotiations with Baghdad, but said that this is ‘Iraq’s last chance’ to succeed.

Earlier this month the KRG reached an agreement with Baghdad to contribute 250,000 bpd of Kurdish oil and 300,000 bpd from the Kirkuk oilfields to the Iraqi central marketing authority in return for the disbursement of the KRG’s share of Iraqi federal oil revenues. The negotiations demonstrated a possible rapprochement in Erbil-Baghdad relations.

‘US airstrikes have succeeded in ending the expeditionary ventures of the Islamic State, forcing them to change tactics. However, defeating these terrorists will require greater cooperation between Kurdish, Iraqi, and international security forces,’ the DPM said at a meeting with Representative Devin Nunes. Rep. Nunes, the new Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, praised the Peshmerga for their efforts in combating ISIS and highlighted US-KRG cooperation at the Joint Operations Center in Erbil.

Posted in Politics, SecurityComments (2)

Baghdad-Erbil Deal Silent on KRG’s Surplus Oil

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

The new oil agreement between Iraq’s federal government and the autonomous Kurdish government in the north appears to have left some room for confusion as to what the Kurds should do with the significant amount of oil that they do not export under Baghdad’s supervision.

According to the deal signed on Dec. 2, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) pledges to export under Baghdad’s supervision 300,000 barrels of oil per day from oil fields it controls in Kirkuk province in addition to 250,000 barrels per day produced from the three provinces officially under the KRG’s jurisdiction.

In return, the Iraqi government will hand 17% of the national budget to the KRG. The deal will take effect from the beginning of the coming year.

However, the KRG produces more oil than the 250,000 barrels mentioned in the agreement. Dilshad Shaban, deputy chairmen of the energy committee in Kurdistan parliament, told Al-Monitor that the region currently produces 500,000 barrels per day, of which 150,000 is for domestic consumption and the rest used for export.

Hence, the key question is what the KRG will do with the remaining 100,000 barrels.

In a statement to the news media Dec. 3, KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said that under the new deal with Baghdad, KRG oil exports would be legal, in an apparent reference to the remainder of produced oil not covered in the agreement.

However, Iraq’s Oil Ministry issued a counterstatement Dec. 6, saying the position of the Iraqi Oil Ministry and government was unchanged with regard to “the illegality of any oil dealings outside the numbers and frameworks” put forward in the bilateral agreement. It also denied the existence of any “verbal or written agreements” that might have given KRG the right to export oil outside the framework of the agreement.

Posted in Oil & GasComments (2)

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