IBBC’s commitment to education and apprentice training is now well known. We have a lot of work to do but we have made a strong start.
The Conference Agenda,
Today we are going to have the benefit of listening to political and business leaders bringing us up to date across four vital sectors in the Iraq Economy, namely Oil and Gas, Power Generation and Electricity Supply, Finance, and the Private Sector.
We believe that progress is now being made with regard to the political and economic development of Iraq under the inclusive leadership of Prime Minister Abadi who we give our utmost support to. Oil prices have been recovering slowly and the recent OPEC agreement should make this sustainable which will allow more investment in infrastructure required to increase oil and gas production and electricity supply and transmission, all vital to the prosperity of the country.
By chance the IBBC Oil and Gas Sector Table, representing many companies active in the Iraq oil and gas industry met in London a few days ago. Whilst all present had to admit to very tough trading and operating conditions in 2016, without exception everyone present was optimistic for 2017. Payments are being made to the IOC’s and in turn they are able to pay their subcontractors. New infrastructure projects are being identified and put out to tender and the view was that the OPEC agreement would not discourage Iraq from building its capacity to increase production and export capacity.
The Country has also received significant financial support from individual countries including the UK, which has allocated funds to projects in Iraq.
The scourge of extremism which has blighted the country in very recent years is in retreat which should in itself free up resources and allow for an environment where foreign companies will be willing to travel to and invest in Iraq for the benefit of its people.
I envisage that by the time we have our Spring conference on 3 April at the Mansion House in London many of the projects that will be discussed today will be on their way and that the optimism that we witness today will have grown to a feeling of confidence.
Once again I thank all those people who have made today possible. I am very much looking forward myself to hearing what our distinguished speakers have to say and I look forward to speaking with as many of you as possible during the conference breaks and the reception tonight.