Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has signed an agreement with Mase Co LLC, a company managed by Brilliant Role Group, to open a new-build Sheraton hotel in Dohuk, in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq.

Scheduled to debut early next year, the Sheraton Dohuk Hotel will be the first of four new Starwood hotels to open in Iraq after 20 years, and will be the first internationally-branded hotel in the emerging city of Dohuk.

We look forward to a long-term partnership with Mase Co as we enter into our first hotel development together with the introduction of the Sheraton brand into Dohuk,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East.

We are proud to be part of the development of this important region in Iraq as we bring a new level of hospitality to the local community and to international travellers.

Zakaria Abdulla, Chairman of Brilliant Role Group said:

We are excited to work with Starwood to bring its world-class Sheraton brand to Dohuk. As Dohuk continues to grow as an emerging city in the Middle East, there will be a strong demand for an international hotel brand such as Sheraton. The signing of Sheraton Dohuk Hotel is in line with our vision to support the development of the Kurdistan region as a key business destination.

Situated in Dohuk on the border of Turkey, the 202-room Sheraton Dohuk Hotel will be ideally located at the top of a hill with stunning views overlooking the entire city and nearby mountains. The hotel will feature an all-day dining venue, a signature restaurant, and four lounges. Sheraton Dohuk Hotel is set to become the choice gathering place for business travellers, offering extensive meeting and event space, including three ballrooms for special events.

The hotel will feature the brand’s signature Link@Sheraton® experienced with Microsoft®, Sheraton Club Lounge and Sheraton Fitness, Programmed by Core Performance™, designed exclusively for Sheraton guests through its partner Core Performance. All guest rooms will be feature the all-white Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® bed, designed to meet AAA’s Five Diamond Award® criteria Guests can also pamper themselves in Sheraton Shine Spa.

Starwood in Iraq
Starwood Dohuk Sheraton signing 2 (cropped)

Sheraton continues to be a first-mover into many new markets around the world, and remains a popular choice for owners and developers in both primary and secondary markets,” added Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “As part of our global growth strategy, we seek new frontiers for our brands, and the signing of Sheraton Dohuk Hotel marks a significant milestone as we look for the right expansion opportunities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Sheraton Dohuk will mark Starwood’s re-entry into Iraq, which will be followed by the opening of Sheraton Erbil Hotel, Aloft Erbil and Four Points by Sheraton Erbil in the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in 2015.

Starwood currently operates nearly 50 hotels in the Middle East and continues to strengthen its long-established position as one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the region, with plans to open over 30 hotels in the next few years.

(Source: Starwood)

By John Lee.

Consumer services company Rollins Inc. has announced that the company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Orkin, has established two international franchises: one in Erbil, Iraq and one in Trinidad and Tobago.

Both Orkin Erbil and Orkin Trinidad and Tobago will offer commercial and residential pest control and termite control services.

Tom Luczynski (pictured), group vice president of Orkin international development and franchising, said:

Orkin continues to expand internationally. We are pleased to expand our presence in the Middle East and the Caribbean and to bring Orkin’s quality services to the customers in Erbil and Trinidad.

(Source: Rollins)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s human rights ministry has said that more than 18 percent of the Iraqi population is living below the poverty line.

This amounts to 6.4 million people, mostly in rural areas.

According to the report from Aswat al-Iraq, the ministry added that while Iraq is one of the richest countries in oil revenues, individual expenditures are low in comparison to neighboring countries.

(Source: Aswat Al Iraq)

Petrofac has been awarded a second contract by Gazprom Neft Badra B.V. on the Badra Oil Field, situated 160km southeast of Baghdad City in the Republic of Iraq.

Worth US$95 million over three years, the contract was awarded to Petrofac’s Offshore Projects & Operations (OPO) business to provide maintenance engineering, maintenance execution and support services.

The win builds on a previous contract to carry out the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work on the first phase of the field’s processing facilities. OPO will now provide maintenance services including the provision of a computerised maintenance information management system and related processes and procedures, maintenance execution and associated support services in relation to the processing facilities, equipment and associated infrastructure.

Bill Dunnett, Managing Director, Petrofac OPO said:

Iraq is a key geography for us and this award reflects our ability to provide quality maintenance and engineering services on technically and logistically challenging projects in the region. We’ve been working in Iraq since 2010 and have steadily grown our footprint in the country.

“Today we’re working on four major developments in Iraq and we opened our country headquarters in Rumaila, earlier this year. Following our work on the first phase of the project this award is also an excellent example of Petrofac’s ability to provide a lifecycle service to our customers and I’m delighted to be continuing our working relationship with Gazprom.

(Source: Petrofac)

ShaMaran Petroleum has reported the results of the Atrush-3 appraisal well (“AT-3″) drilled in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The AT-3 well was spudded on 23rd March 2013 using the DQE31 drilling rig and was drilled to a total depth of 1,806m. The well is situated approximately 6.5km east of the AT-2 well and approximately 9.6km east of the AT-1 discovery well.

AT-3 was specifically designed as a stepout to the east of the existing wells and to reduce the uncertainty on the depth and nature of the Oil Water Contact (“OWC”) / Free Water Level (“FWL”) in the “BSAM” reservoir (the Jurassic Barsarin-Sargelu-Alan-Mus formations). The well matched the pre-drill expectations by finding the main target “BSAM” reservoir entirely oil-bearing and the Jurassic Butmah reservoir in the water leg.

The Atrush field is undergoing an appraisal drilling program providing valuable information such as oil/water contact definition, oil gravity/viscosity variations, extent of quality reservoir, permeability and porosity data, etc. All this data is important information for development planning purposes and for future resource updates.

A successful coring campaign was completed on AT-3 recovering seven cores totalling more than 72 metres from the “BSAM” section. Three drill stem tests (“DST”) were conducted with the results confirming the extension of the field area 6.5 km to the east.

DST1 was conducted as a short test over an 18m interval in the uppermost porosity section of the Butmah formation. Using an ESP the well was produced at approximately 1500 barrels of water per day with reported viscous oil cut of 1%-6%. The test indicates that the tested interval is in close proximity to the deepest calculated FWL from the AT-1 and AT-2 wells.

DST2 commenced on 29th July and was conducted over a 30m interval across the Lower Alan & Mus formations within the “BSAM” reservoir. The test produced up to 1500 barrels of oil per day (surface oil measurements ranged between 10° & 17° API) with no water.

The first group students have completed their studies in the training center of LUKOIL Overseas Mid-East Ltd., LUKOIL’s operating company for West Qurna-2 project, in Basra province.

170 Iraqi nationals who have completed a 1.5 year training program were immediately assigned to different facilities of West Qurna-2 field depending on their obtained qualifications, including well production, treatment of oil and gas, instrumentation and control, electrical and mechanical engineering. The second group of 160 students will complete their studies in May 2014. In addition, preparations are ongoing to host the third group of 180 students who will begin their studies in January 2014.

The center opened its doors for students in December last year. The training program was provided by SPIE Oil & Gas Services, one of the global leaders in the area of training technical personnel for large oil and gas projects. The program consists of several competency-oriented modules and covers necessary applied technical disciplines, HSE, leadership development courses and on-the-job training.

In addition to classrooms, the center hosts specialized computer-equipped training laboratories for English language and special disciplines, a library, technical support office, training workshops, administrative building, staff room, canteen, first-aid post and a recreational area. The center can simultaneously host up to 350 students.

(Source: LUKoil)

By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Limiting Prime Minister Terms

The Iraqi federal supreme court has this week made a decision that renders invalid a law passed by the Iraqi parliament earlier this year that attempted to block a third term for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

First, two notes on the general debate about this latest decision are in order. Firstly, the supreme court has not “vetoed” the law, or “rejected a draft” as AP put it. No one vetoes laws in Iraq after the transitional presidency council disappeared in 2010. The law was already published, and, theoretically, in force. In striking it down, the court deemed it unconstitutional after a specific challenge had been mounted against it by supporters of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Second, it should be noticed that the Iraqi supreme court has become rather erratic in its official communications lately. In a trend that has afflicted several Iraqi government websites (including most recently that of the parliament), what was formerly a useful website has become the victim of a fancy upgrade that severely restricts its readability (and the access to past rulings). Accordingly, information about this latest ruling must at the current stage be glanced from secondary reports in the media.

The chief question regarding the court’s decision is what argument was used for striking the term-limit law down. Most reports cite an argument used by Maliki’s supporters that no such term limit exists in the constitution as far as the prime minister is concerned, whereas a specific limit occurs with respect to the presidency of the republic. Had the framers of the constitution wished for a limit, the argument goes, one would have been explicitly included.

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

The world was surprised by the news that a chemical massacre took place on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug. 21. The Iraqi public, however, followed that event with even more interest because of a similar massacre committed by former President Saddam Hussein 25 years ago in Halabja, in northeastern Iraq. So, video clips, newspaper columns, photographs and Facebook postings about the massacre quickly spread in Iraq.

Those who followed the details of that event were overcome by grief and sorrow as they spread images and video clips of the children killed in the Syrian massacre and compared them with the children killed in Halabja — where 5,000 were killed and 10,000 injured.

Many recalled the world’s silence on the Halabja massacre — back then, the media did not cover it and international organizations paid no attention to it — warning that conflicting interests among the great powers may prevent any action on the Syrian massacre.

Those who followed the details of the Syrian massacre to identify the perpetrator split into two camps: those who accused the government and those who accused the rebels. That split revealed the widespread sectarian conflict in the region and Iraq in particular. Some Sunni observers considered the event another example of the crimes being committed by the Alawite regime and its Lebanese and Iranian allies. Some Shiites reacted by denying that the Syrian government committed the massacre and provided evidence implicating the rebels instead, especially the Salafist forces.

Others tried to link the 1988 and 2013 Syrian and Iraqi chemical attacks to the Baath party, which both Saddam and the current Syrian leadership belong to. Thus, they refused to clear the Syrian regime of the crime since that regime works on the same principles and doctrine of the Iraqi Baath party. They also asked the Iraqis to refrain from treating the Baathist regimes in Iraq and Syria according to different standards.

India is looking forward to further strengthening its relations with Iraq as an “equity partner” in areas like oil exploration and petrochemicals, the country’s President, Pranab Mukherjee, said on Friday.

Speaking during the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the President added:

Iraq has become India’s second largest crude oil supplier. This is a mutually beneficial partnership. India desires to elevate the relationship from a buyer-seller into a broad-based one with equity partnership in oil production, joint ventures in oil exploration, petrochemical complexes, fertiliser plants, among others … different MoUs to be signed during the Iraqi PM’s visit would establish the institutional framework to enhance co-operation between the two countries.

According to a report from The Economic Times, he went on to say:

India remains committed to assisting Iraq in the process of rebuilding its infrastructure and institutions. Indian entrepreneurs and Indian industries are eager to engage with Iraq.

(Source: The Economic Times)