Hutchison Ports and the Pritzker Family Business Interests (“PFBI”), advised by The Pritzker Organization, L.L.C. (“TPO”), announced today that the leading Hong Kong-based port operator has agreed to partner with NAWAH Port Management, L.L.C. (“NPM”) to manage existing and future operations at the historic Port of Basra in southern Iraq.

Hutchison Ports will assume oversight of day-to-day commercial and operational activities at NPM, operating under the name of Hutchison Ports Basra.

NPM is a containerized terminal operator at the Port of Basra located along the Shatt Al Arab waterway in Iraq.

The company services the shipping needs for a full spectrum of customers across Iraq – from large, multinational companies to local Iraqi merchants. NPM’s proximity to the city center and major oilfields, and its operations are viewed as key competitive advantages versus other ports in the region.

Andy Tsoi, Hutchison Ports’ Managing Director (Middle East and Africa), said:

We view NPM’s operations at the Port of Basra as an integral piece of our expanding Middle East strategy and are excited about the opportunities this partnership creates.

“We believe strongly in the growth story of Basra, Iraq, and the Middle East as a whole and are delighted to have the opportunity to participate in and support the growth of the business over the long term.

Eric Clark, CEO of NPM, said:

Hutchison Ports has an exceptional team and a proven track record of delivering value to its customers, employees and the regions in which it invests.

“We are delighted for the opportunity to partner with one of the leaders in the industry – a company which shares our vision of NPM as both a unique maritime asset in southern Iraq as well as strategic platform in the epicenter of one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

Eversheds LLP served as legal advisor to Hutchison Ports and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to the PFBI during the deal process.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

(Source: Press Release)

The Government of Iraq and UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) officially reopened the Al Qasoor Water Treatment Plant at a ceremony yesterday in Mosul.

Al Qasoor is the second largest water treatment plant in eastern Mosul, providing safe drinking water for 35 percent of residents. The plant provides 12,000 cubic metres of fresh water per hour to 24 neighbourhoods, reaching 300,000 people.

Most of the plant’s pumps, valves, switches and control panels were destroyed as well as its chlorination system and filtration pools. Work began on Al Qasoor in early May, even as the fighting in western Mosul continued. The Ninewah Water Directorate oversaw the US$ 1.3 million project, which was implemented by Iraqi company Thfaf Al Rafidain employing hundreds of workers from Mosul.

At the ceremony marking the re-opening of the plant, Ninewah Governor Nofal Hammadi said:

“We are doing everything we can to help Mosul rebuild. I’m proud of the Iraqi workers who bravely began work even while fighting was ongoing directly across the river. This project is a vital step to improving the well-being of the people of Mosul, and we’re grateful for the continuing support from the United Nations.”

By Wassim Bassem for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Models dressed in clothes reminiscent of Iraq’s multicultural past walked among the imposing statues at the Iraqi Museum in an impressive show in July that celebrated the liberation of Mosul, as the Iraqi House of Fashion bolstered its cultural presence and shrugged off the low profile it has held since 2003.

Founded in 1970 with the aim of conserving ancient Iraqi culture, the Iraqi House of Fashion started as a financially independent legal entity. However, the Iraqi House of Fashion Law was passed in 1985 with the help of the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and Media to help the fashion organization receive governmental support.

This support resulted in the building of a luxurious palace, considered to be one of the country’s most beautiful architectural monuments, on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad.

But the good times for the fashion house came to an end in 2003 due to the US invasion of Iraq and the lack of security that swept through the country. The house was looted, its founder and manager had to retire and leave the country and the splendid palace was abandoned and slowly fell into ruin.

Although the Iraqi House of Fashion has made a comeback in the last few years, the present conservative environment makes it difficult for the organization to return to its days of glory.

In a country still suffering from war and terrorism, organizers of fashion shows remain fearful. For instance, Karar Nushy, a fashion designer whose work is well-known in the industry, was murdered July 4. The case remains unsolved.

“Organizers of such cultural events are still being threatened by those who consider it a Western tradition that could corrupt society,” Saif al-Obeidi, designer and technical manager for Iraqi House of Fashion, told Al-Monitor.

Work is almost complete on AMAR‘s latest exciting educational project in Iraq.

The state-of-the-art Secondary School in Basra is expected to begin teaching its 500+ students in October.

Ten percent of that number will be orphans who will receive a fantastic education completely free of charge, thanks to AMAR’s generous supporters.

Please help ensure Iraq’s children have the childhoods they deserve — support AMAR’s work today: https://appeal.amarfoundation.org/

(Source: AMAR International Charitable Foundation)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit, educational organization behind Sesame Street — are working together to give millions of refugee children in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and northern Iraq the support they need to learn, grow and thrive.

The Syrian refugee crisis is the defining humanitarian issue of our time. It challenges our morals, imagination, leadership, and global stability. Failing to act can cast a long shadow: a lost generation of children whose lives are forever defined by their experience of war.

Few Syrian children have opportunities to learn and play; many are neglected; some have been exposed to extreme violence and experienced unspeakable trauma that will have a long-lasting impact on their health and future. They are at risk of “toxic stress,” a biological response to prolonged and severe adversity that disrupts a child’s brain development.

But children are resilient, and if we can reach them early, we can reduce this damage and have a positive influence on their lives. Research shows that nurturing care and learning can reverse the effects of toxic stress, and skills developed in early childhood last a lifetime.

That’s where the IRC and Sesame Workshop are determined to help.

We will combine Sesame Street’s history of proven educational content with the IRC’s decades of assistance in crisis-affected areas to deliver a suite of culturally relevant programming and multimedia content tailored for the needs of refugee children and their caregivers.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC, said:

“Our partnership with Sesame Street will help transform children’s lives by making sure that their social-emotional needs are met so they are able to receive an education, contribute to their community and succeed as adults.”

(Source: International Rescue Committee)

Germany’s Siemens has expanded an existing service agreement with KAR Group in Iraq to provide comprehensive operations and maintenance (O&M) for two newly added SSC5-2000E power plant units at the Khormala plant in the Kurdistan region.

The 930-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power plant meets nearly 30 percent of the power demand targeted by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), supplying more than four million Iraqi people with reliable electricity.

According to a statemengt from the company, “the extension of the service agreement is set to improve operational flexibility, availability, and performance of gas turbines for the next 15 years.”

The Mena Power Report 2017 says the current power demand in Iraq stands at 21GW and is growing faster than supply. The Kurdistan Regional Government plans to increase capacity by building new power plants and increasing the efficiency of existing facilities.

Gianluigi Di Giovanni, Senior Executive Vice President of Siemens Power Generation Services in the Middle East, commented:

“The plant is truly a landmark project, supporting the development goals of the Kurdistan region. That’s why we are proud to expand our collaboration with KAR Group to deliver reliable and stable electricity supply to people’s homes.”

The Khormala multi-year agreement with Siemens covers the operation and maintenance of six SGT5-2000E gas turbines, six SGen5-100A generators along with the associated auxiliary and ancillary systems. It also includes the implementation of Siemens Power Diagnostics®, which is part of the company’s “Digital Services for Energy” portfolio, to improve asset visibility, reliability and availability.

Siemens data-driven services enable valuable data from different assets to be analyzed. From there, data is transformed into actionable insights—such as diagnostics, troubleshooting and condition forecasting—that can help improve plant reliability and reduce downtime. In addition, the data processed by Siemens Power Diagnostics® can help balance maintenance costs, improve inspection intervals and provide invaluable insights into operational risks.

Siemens has managed the operation and maintenance of Khormala since 2013 under a multi-year services agreement. Currently, the company has more than 40 personnel on-site managing the power plant on behalf of KAR Group.

(Source: Siemens)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate (PCLD) has announced that previously-qualified international oil companies (IOCs) which are not currently operating in Iraq, and which did not participate in earlier licensing rounds, will not be eligible to compete in the current licensing round.

In an announcement (copied below), the PCLD said such companies will have to resubmit all documents and pay a fee of $25,000 if they wish to participate:

 

 

By John Lee.

Chevron has become the latest member of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), joining 57 other world- and region-leading organisations that form IBBC’s membership.

The company operates and has an 80 percent interest in the Sarta production-sharing contract (PSC) and the Qara Dagh PSC (pictured). The two blocks cover a combined area of 279,000 net acres (1,129 sq km).

In early 2016, it completed a second exploration well in the Sarta Block, and more evaluation of the block is planned.

For the Qara Dagh PSC, the results from seismic acquisition and evaluation in 2015 improved understanding of the prospects, and it is evaluating the next steps.

(Sources: IBBC, Chevron)

By Lara Saeed, Managing Editor, Bite.Tech. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Over the course of the past year, the Iraqi startup ecosystem has been through tremendous development. Numerous startup events and boot camps have resulted in the early stages of an ecosystem. Baghdad, as the capital city with the largest market, has seen a strong number of stratups that are now beginning to take shape as businesses.

Unfortunately, it is not always that simple getting information from businesses in our culture but below are some of the hottest startups in Baghdad who are willing to share their stories.

  1. Miswag, founded by Ammar Ameen

Miswag was founded in the year 2013 and is one of the first startups in Baghdad. Miswag is an online store that adopted a model similar to Amazon. The startup provides a cross-platform site and mobile application as the main sales channels that allow Iraqi based customers to place their order directly. The startup also offers delivery services to its customers.

The startup is independently funded and has been generating income since the year 2015, it made over 1.1 billion Iraqi dinars in sales in the year 2016.

Miswag plans to invest further in their inventory as they plan to become the biggest e-commerce platform in Iraq in terms of user base.

The startup covers all over Iraq with two main operation centers, one in Baghdad and the other in the Kurdistan region.

The team currently consists of 11 employees and are aiming at a 50% staff increase within the next 12 months as they plan to establish another operation center in Basra.

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 30 strikes consisting of 66 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 22 strikes consisting of 32 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed an ISIS headquarters and weapons cache.
  • Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed an ISIS oil still.
  • Near Raqqa, 20 strikes engaged 13 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 24 fighting positions, a vehicle, a logistics node and ISIS communications infrastructure.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted eight strikes consisting of 34 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Qaim, three strikes destroyed a vehicle-borne-bomb factory, an ISIS front-end loader and an excavator.
  • Near Rawah, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters, a vehicle and a front-end loader.
  • Near Tal Afar, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; destroyed five mortar systems, four supply caches, two vehicles, two vehicle-borne bombs, two fighting positions, two recoilless rifles, an ISIS headquarters and a medium machine gun; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.

Earlier Strikes

Officials today also announced results of 50 strikes consisting of 67 engagements conducted Aug. 18-20 in Syria and Iraq for which the details were not yet available at the time of yesterday’s report:

  • On Aug. 18 near Raqqa, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.
  • On Aug. 19 near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed an ISIS wellhead.
  • On Aug. 19 near Raqqa, six strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed five fighting positions, an improvised explosive device and a command-and-control node.
  • On Aug. 20 near Shadaddi, Syria, three strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed a vehicle.
  • On Aug. 20 near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed an ISIS wellhead.
  • On Aug. 20 near Raqqa, 33 strikes engaged 21 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 41 fighting positions, five command-and-control nodes, an IED, an ISIS headquarters, two supply caches, ISIS engineering equipment and an ISIS unmanned aerial system.
  • On Aug. 20 near Tal Afar, five strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; destroyed seven fighting positions, three staging areas, two IEDs, two pieces of ISIS oil equipment, a rocket-propelled-grenade system and a vehicle; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)