By John Lee.

A Scottish sweet manufacturer is reportedly seeing sales of its fudge and toffee surge in Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to a BBC report, Golden Casket linked up with Sulaymaniyah-based businessman Farhad Haseb to sell the confectionery to upmarket stores in Erbil and Dohuk, as well as other towns and cities in the region.

The holiday of Eid al-Adha has proved to be a strong driver of sales for the business, with Iraq now being Golden Casket’s third biggest export market, after America and Ireland.

More here.

(Source: BBC)

By John Lee.

Spartan Air Academy Iraq LLC, Irving, Texas, has been awarded a $31,477,060 task order, against indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for continued Air Academy training in support of the Iraqi Air Force.

Work will be performed at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and is expected to be completed by July 8, 2020.

This award is the result of a country-directed sole-source acquisition.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By John Lee.

Shares in Philippines-based International Terminal Container Services Inc. (ICTSI), which operates the Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) (pictured) at the port of Umm Qasr, have closed up more than 6 percent on Wednesday following a strong set of results.

The company said in a statement:

“Net income attributable to equity holders of US$128.5 million grew by 42 percent compared to the US$90.2 million earned in the same period last year mainly due to improved operating income contribution from the terminals in Iraq, Australia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Subic in the Philippines.”

(Source: ICTSI)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has confirmed that the Al-Sumoud refinery in Baiji is operating at capacity, following a fire in the area.

The director general of the North Refineries Company (NRC), Qassem Abdul Rahman, said the fire was near the refinery but not in it.

He pointed out that:

“The fire that broke out in the vicinity of the Sumoud refinery in Baiji because of the fall of one of the transmission lines of electricity on abandoned agricultural land near the refinery and led to the movement of wind, set fire to dry grass … The fire was outside the refinery’s perimeter and did not affect its production.”

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

(Picture: Baiji refinery)

By John Lee.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) has announced that the group’s oil and gas business delivered strong performance with an 11% increase in revenue, mainly driven by increased production volumes from its assets in Europe and Iraq.

In its financial results and operational highlights for the six-month period ending June 30, 2019, it said its overall capex also rose to AED 957 million in the first six months of 2019, a 15% increase when compared to the same period in 2018.

The increase in Oil and Gas capex was largely driven by the AED 116 million acquisition of an additional 7.5% working stake in the Atrush Block from Marathon Oil Kurdistan B.V. in May of this year. The acquired stake increases TAQA’s working interest in the project from 39.9% to 47.4%.

“Additional capex in Iraq was focussed towards bringing new wells on stream and the impact of debottlenecking work to increase the capacity of the current production facility. This has proven to be a worthwhile investment, with TAQA’s entitlement production increasing to 5,728 boe/d in H1 2019, a 149% improvement compared to the previous year.”

It added that this has proven to be a worthwhile investment, with TAQA’s entitlement production increasing to 5,728 boe/d in H1 2019, a 149% improvement compared to the previous year.

The average production by the oil and gas business for the first half of the year increased 3% to 124,760 boe/d, aided by strong well performance in Europe and Iraq.

Commenting on the positive performance, Saeed Mubarak Al Hajeri, Chairman of TAQA, said:

Our solid performance in H1 2019 is underpinned by our strong operational performance.  The Group’s balance sheet remains healthy, and with stable revenues and a further reduction in debt coupled with strong liquidity we remain on course to meet our long term objectives. The recent ratings affirmation from Moody’s is a testament to the stability of our operational performance.

“We also made exciting progress in advancing our strategy of maintaining capital discipline with focused investments in our core assets, such as the Atrush Block. Looking ahead, we remain optimistic and believe that our investments in the UAE and other strategic markets will contribute to a sustained growth story.

(Source: TAQA)

Fruit prices plummeted considerably during the summer harvest season in the Kurdistan Region, so much so that the price of harvesting the fruits and transporting them to wholesale markets sometimes outweighs their sale price.

In the past, farmers used to dry these fruits and sell them that way to make a profit.

But nowadays, 95 percent of the dried fruit available in Kurdistan Region markets is imported, and this has discouraged local farmers from drying their fruits to avoid financial loss during the harvest season.

Click here to read the full story from Rudaw.

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

Is positive sentiment toward Israel on the rise in Iraq?

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (pictured) expressed his gratitude to Iraqis on Facebook July 24, stating he was thankful for Iraqi participation on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s “Israel in Iraqi Dialect” Facebook page.

The message came on the first anniversary of the creation of the page, which gained notoriety last July for its broadcasting that a delegation of unnamed Iraqi journalists had visited Israel.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced the following investment opportunities:

  1. Rehabilitation of 8 factories – State Company for Glass and Refractories Industry (SCGR)

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

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

Iraqi Minister of Trade Mohammed Hashim al-Ani announced July 5 that the ministry received about 4 million tons of local wheat, a step that signals the country is ready to achieve self-sufficiency in this strategic crop.

This comes despite the fires that hit agricultural fields across Iraq and ravaged 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) of land.

Click here to read the full article.