By John Lee.

The local government in Diyala has announced the start of construction on a 1.5 billion Iraqi dinar ($1.29 million) project to build eight pedestrian bridges, reports al-Shorfa.

The bridges, located in Baqubah, al-Meqdadiya and al-Khalis, are being built to facilitate movement and prevent accidents.

Local companies are overseeing the project, which is due to be completed within eight months.

(Source: Al-Shorfa)

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

MPs from the ruling State of Law Coalition and the Kurdistan Alliance confirmed the presence of positive vibes between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil regarding the possibility of passing the Oil and Gas Law, which governs the management of oil wealth in the country.

The law is supposed to be passed during the current legislative session, which ends in early 2014. However, the MPs preferred to maintain discretion regarding information on the final draft of the law.

A high-ranking source in the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Al-Monitor that “Prime Minister Maliki and KRG President Massoud Barzani discussed during the latter’s latest visit to Baghdad an amended draft of the Oil and Gas Law and agreed on showing it to their partners, so that it can soon be passed in the Iraqi parliament, before the current legislative session ends in early 2014.”

However, the federal government and the semi-autonomous KRG disagree on oil and its imports in the northern provinces. While Baghdad demands that the agreements with foreign and local companies on the drilling operations happen with its knowledge and that the region send the export revenues to the federal government, the Kurdistan region wants the federal government to pay the dues of oil companies working for it, before requiring oil revenues to be sent to Baghdad.

The Oil and Gas Draft Law has undergone several amendments since 2011, but it has not received the needed consensus yet.

ABB has won an order worth around $30 million from Zagros Energy to build four new transmission and distribution substations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, as part of an overall initiative to expand and strengthen the regional power grid. The order was booked in the second quarter.

Demand for reliable power is growing at a rate of 10 to 25 percent per annum, thanks to industrial growth, construction projects and overall economic development. Currently, the Kurdistan power grid supplies around 2,750 megawatts (MW) of electricity with more than 90 percent of the capacity owned and operated by independent power companies.

The increasing demand for electricity means that outages and blackouts are frequent. In the short term, a capacity expansion to approximately 4,000 MW is planned; longer term, the ambition is to reach 10,000 MW, which would open up the possibility of exporting power to neighboring countries.

ABB’s project scope includes the design and supply of the substations and will enable an additional 600 MW of power to the region. The substations are based on GIS technology, which was selected for its compact footprint, since they are to be located in the center of the city.

Two will be connected with 132 kilovolt (kV) underground cables due to the lack of space for overhead lines. Circuit breakers and air-insulated switchgear, control and protection systems, capacitor banks as well as power transformers and other high-voltage equipment, will form part of the key product supplies. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

“These substations will go a long way towards helping this developing region meet the increasing demand for electricity,” said Oleg Aleinikov, Head of ABB’s Substations business within the company’s Power Systems division. “They will also strengthen the grid, reduce outages and improve the reliability of power supplies to consumers.”

(Source: ABB)

By John Lee.

Iraq has officially requested the UN Security Council to extend the term of UNAMI in Iraq for another year, reports Aswat al-Iraq.

The request was submitted by Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Ali al-Hakeem to the United Nations.

He requested that UNAMI will have logistic assistance to provide adequate observers for the coming parliamentary election, to be held in the middle of next year.

Ambassador Hakeem also denounced the attacks on the anti-Iranian Camp Liberty residents and praised Albania for granting refugee status to 270 camp residents, as well as the German government for receiving 100 Iranians.

On the current demonstrations, he pointed out that the government is seriously trying to meet the legal demands of the demonstrators according to Iraqi constitution.

(Source: Aswat Al Iraq)

Korek Telecom customers in southern Iraq will soon experience high-speed mobile broadband and better voice call services with improved coverage.

For this, Korek Telecom, a leading telecom operator in Iraq, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy its advanced radio, microwave transmission and packet core network elements, using its comprehensive services. The operator has also renewed its care and managed services contract with the company.

“We wanted to provide better internet experience and improved voice call services for our customers in Iraq,” said Ghada Gebara (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, Korek Telecom. “To achieve this, we needed a globally renowned technology partner, so we selected Nokia Siemens Networks. With Nokia Siemens Networks’ advanced radio and core network technology, we will soon be able to introduce high-speed mobile broadband and enhanced voice services to our customers in southern Iraq.”

“To fulfill the needs of Korek Telecom which is growing fast in the Iraqi telecom market, we are committed to providing strong technology support to the operator,” said Mikko Ylä-Kauttu, head of customer team Korek Telecom at Nokia Siemens Networks.

“Our radio and core network will ensure more throughput, improved coverage and higher quality to help Korek Telecom satisfy existing customers and attract new ones. In addition, our comprehensive services will ensure the rollout is fast and efficient, with everything working seamlessly.”

At the end of this month, Martin Kobler will finish his two-year term as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq, and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

While his tenure has not been without controversy — he has, for example, been strongly criticised by some for his handling of the situations at Camp Ashraf and Camp Hurriya — few would argue with this comment from his address to the United Nations Security Council earlier this week:

The country can continue to make important strides in deepening the roots of democracy, pursuing reform, embracing diversity, as well as improving its stature in the international community. Or, Iraq can go down a dangerous path, potholed with political impasse and sectarian violence at each turn, leading to increased instability.

In his closing remarks, he highlighted four principles that he deemed important at this time:

  • First, the Constitution should be upheld and implemented in full;
  • Second, Iraq’s resources should be utilized efficiently and distributed equitably;
  • Third, the environment should be protected; and,
  • Fourth, the Government should scale up and implement a national policy on women while helping young Iraqis shape their own futures in the land of their birth.

Mr Kobler is moving on to head the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and Iraq Business News would like to take this opportunity to wish him well in his new post.

By John Lee.

Mass Global Investment Company has selected GE steam turbine technology to increase the efficiency and the output of the Erbil Power Plant in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

In operation since late 2008, the Erbil plant plays a vital role in meeting the growing power needs of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Under the new agreement, GE will supply two steam turbines that will be used to convert the Erbil plant from simple to combined-cycle operation, boosting plant output by 500 megawatts, enough additional electricity to serve 100,000 Iraqi households. The agreement also includes installation services.

Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of Mass Global, said:

“Mass Global continues to be at the forefront of meeting the power requirements of the Kurdistan Iraq region. Converting our Erbil facility to combined-cycle service supports the Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy to increase the thermal efficiency of its power generation facilities. This new agreement builds on our growing relationship with GE, a global technology leader, whose proven and reliable advanced energy technology has been employed in our gas power facilities since 2006.

The project will increase thermal efficiency to more than 48%, making Erbil among the most efficient power plants in Iraq. The GE C-7 steam turbines will join eight GE Frame 9E gas turbines already operating at the site and further expands GE’s growing relationship with Mass Global.

By John Lee.

Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil, has visited the Kore-Qandil road project to review progress.

On his visit Mr. Hadi was accompanied by Deputy Governor Tahir Abdullah, general directors of roads, municipality and water resources in Erbil, in addition to the Mayor of Shaqlawa.

They started their visit at the Kore-Qandil road, a 49-km highway being built by the Yuksel Company at a cost of $220 million. During their visit the team insisted on finishing the project in the current year, including the tunnels at Sorki and Mirawa.

Later they visited the towns of Harir and Basirma where they checked 50,000 m2 of asphalting; another 75,000 m2 of tarmacking is ready to be carried out. They also visited the 3-billion IQD mobile electric generator which will supply all electricity needs in the Harir and Basirma area.

(Source: Erbil Governorate)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has announced a series of development projects in Dhi Qar [Thi Qar] province as part of this year’s annual provincial development plan.

Deputy Prime Minister for Service Affairs, Saleh al-Mutlaq [ Saleh al-Mutleg, Salih al-Mutlaq] (pictured), told Al-Shorfa that the projects, which include building a sewerage network, extending drinking water pipes, constructing new roads and paving and rehabilitating old roads, will cost 25 billion Iraqi dinars ($21.5 million).

Turkish and local Iraqi companies have started work and are due to finish within two years.

(Source: Al-Shorfa)