By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.
Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Recent information on Satarem sheds serious doubt about its prospects and ability for executing the Missan Refinery project.
Iraq’s Ministry of Oil signed, in the presence of the Prime Minister Mr. Nuri Al-Maliki, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Swiss firm Satarem (represented by what was reported as Chief Executive Jerome Friler) on 10 October for the development of a 150 kbd refinery in Missan province at an estimated cost of $6 billion.
Almost a year ago I received communication from a consultant with a California based financial firm enquiring about Missan refinery and stating “For the last year or so, I have been working with an Iraqi group, developing the [Missan] refinery complex”. A few weeks later I received communication from an Iraqi law firm in Baghdad indicating they were “Advising on [Missan] refinery construction”. The two communications might be connected!
When reviewing information on the signed MoU, I assumed the above mentioned financial and legal firms were involved in the project. But soon afterwards the California based consultant informed me they were not, adding further, “We are of the opinion that the sovereign and financial payment extension risk in Iraq is too high to justify any investment from [….], at this time.”
Most of the comments reported within business, professional and media circles since the signing of the MoU are that Satarem is not known to be a refinery-specialized firm, or to have a track record in modern refinery construction. I did not find information on this company in the “Public Companies” or “Investment Fund Group” of the SEDAR company database.