By John Lee.

Dubai’s Dragon Oil reports that it has spudded an exploration well using a drilling rig from the Iraqi Drilling Company.

The well is targeting two prospective reservoirs, and testing is expected to take place in 2H 2014.

The consortium consists of Dragon Oil (30 percent) and Kuwait Energy Corporation (70 percent and operator).

(Source: Dragon Oil)


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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 3rd April 2014).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at ID1,822 (+0.5%)/ $1,942 (+0.8%) (weekly change). The number of week traded shares was 21.2bn and the weekly trading volume was ID21.1bn ($17.3mn).

ScreenHunter_473 Apr. 08 17.38

ISX Company Announcements

  • In order to diversify the means of saving for the public, Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) signed an agreement with one of the largest mint companies to manufacture alloy of pure gold to be sold to the public with weights at a range of 5g to 1000g.The total amount of gold which will be minted is about 11 tons and there will be more according to the public’s demand.
  • AL-Nukhba for Construction (SNUC) will hold its AGM* on Apr. 17, 2014 to discuss 2012 annual financial results, distributing cash dividend, electing new board members and amending the article of incorporation by adding real-estate investment activities. ISX will suspend trading of SNUC starting on Apr. 10, 2014.
  • Iraqi Date Processing & Mark. (IIDP) was suspended from trading starting on April 2, 2014 due to its failure in disclosing financial results for the period ended August 31, 2013.
  • A cross transaction occurred on IQD16bn Mosul Bank (BMFI) shares on April 2, 2014. This represents 1.6% of BMFI capital.
  • According to the announcement of ISX on April 1, Mamoura Real Estate (SMRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with “Arabian Construction Company (ACC)” to invest 1290m2 land of Karada\Baghdad. According to this memo, the land valued at $2.7mn (IQD3.32bn).  ACC will provide the funding and the required designs for the project and will build a first class building which will have 7-10 floors. Project’s profit will be shared fifty-fifty between SMRI and ACC. Please note that ACC is a huge Construction Company in UAE. ACC constructed Etihad Towers which contain 5 towers, each having 50 floors. ACC also built Al Zahra Tower in Dubai having 75 floors and 545 apartments.
  • ISC has approved to extend two more weeks for Ishtar Hotels (HISH) for its new shares to resume trading from the capital increase through 50% bonus issue.
  • Subscription on 95.5bn Babylon Bank (BBAY) shares started on Apr. 1, 2014) to increase the capital through rights issue.


By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. 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.

Jumping Ship? Defections from Maliki ahead of the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections

An interesting piece of information that emerges from the newly released list of candidates for Iraq’s 30 April general elections is that at least a dozen ministers and MPs previously considered part of the State of Law coalition will contest the elections on other tickets than that of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

It makes sense to structure the discussion of these apparent defections from State of Law with respect to the degree to which they truly constitute a challenge to Maliki. Firstly, there are some lists that are so loudly loyal to Maliki that one might suspect he doesn’t mind them running separately. An example is list 240 associated wih Saad al-Mutallabi, a staunch Maliki supporter.

Named the “Movement of Youth for the State of the Hegemony of the Law”, it is running in Baghdad and Najaf. With Maliki featuring prominently on its election posters, it seems more like an auxiliary than an enemy, even though one cannot help wonder why Maliki would truly want to deliberately split his own vote.

(A recurrent theme in the debate on this is the misguided belief that the new Iraqi elections law offers better prospects for smaller parties. It doesn’t.)

In a similar category is list 230. It is focused on two State of Law MPs: Ihsan al-Awwadi (Qadisiyya) and Haytham al-Jibburi (Babel). The list is running in Basra, Mid-Euphrates and Diyala. Originally this movement emerged as the creation of former government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh who himself moved on to ISCI before these elections (though without appearing on their final candidate list).

Polio vaccination campaigns commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt today, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over the next five days.

For Iraq, this will be the first nationwide vaccination campaign since a case of polio was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on 30 March in a six-month-old boy from Rusafa, northern Baghdad.

“The recent detection of a polio case in Iraq after a 14-year absence is a reminder of the risk currently facing children throughout the region,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“It is now even more imperative to boost routine immunisations to reach every child multiple times and do whatever we can to vaccinate children we could not reach in previous rounds. That’s the only way we will prevent this outbreak from spreading further.”

The current vaccination rounds are part of a comprehensive response to the announcement, in October 2013, that wild poliovirus of Pakistani origin had found its way to Syria.

In recognition of the risk of further international spread, the governments of seven countries across the Middle East, with the assistance of local non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and UN agencies, are endeavouring to reach 22 million children multiple times with polio vaccine. Since October 2013, 25 polio vaccination campaigns were completed across the region, including five rounds in Syria and six in Iraq.

By John Lee.

Pakistan’s Lucky Cement has started production in Iraq from February of this year, in a 50/50 joint venture with the Al-Shawy family.

The company’s CEO, Muhammad Ali Tabba (pictured), told Dawn that a total of $40 million has been invested in the grinding mill in Basra, which has a capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day, servicing the Southern Iraq market which has a very high demand for sulphate resistant cement (SRC).

He said the project was challenging, as getting human as well as material resources on site proved complicated due to various reasons including government regulations, market structure and support infrastructure weakness, etc.

“It’s the first phase of development and if we succeed in our projections, we may go for a full cement production line of 1.25m tonnes which may cost around $125m,” he said.

He described Basra as safer and politically more stable than the rest of Iraq in general, and Baghdad in particular.

The country is currently producing around 16 million tonnes of cement and consuming around 24m tonnes, with around 80 per cent of its cement imports coming from Iran.

France’s Lafarge is the market leader in Iraq with 50 percent market share, and there are three or four Chinese cement manufacturers, in addition to “from three to four” (sic) government-owned cement plants.

(Source: Dawn)

By John Lee.

Shares in Irish independent oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic International closed down 9.6 percent on Monday, following the company’s update on its operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

On the Shakrok licence (Petroceltic 16%, Hess (Operator) 64% and Kurdistan Regional Government 20%), the Shakrok-1 well reached its total depth of 3,538m on 30th March 2014, in the Triassic Geli Khana formation. Wireline logs and fluid sampling via Modular Depth Testing (MDT) tool have established the presence of a 27m gas-condensate column in the Triassic formation. The co-venturers have decided not to test this Triassic zone, and the interval will now be plugged and abandoned.

The forward plan for the well is to carry out a comprehensive testing programme over a number of prospective oil zones in the Jurassic – the primary objective of the well. This program is expected to continue until mid-May.

On the Dinarta licence (Petroceltic 16%, Hess (Operator) 64% and Kurdistan Regional Government 20%), preparations for drilling continue. The Parker rig 247 is currently being mobilised to the Shireen-1 location, and the well is expected to commence drilling in early May. The Shireen-1 well is forecast to take circa 150 days of drilling to reach its forecast total depth. The well is targeting oil in both the Jurassic and Triassic formations, with mean unrisked Gross Prospective Oil Resources of 706 MMbbls*.

Brian O’Cathain (pictured), Chief Executive of Petroceltic, commented:

This is our first exploration well in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. While the secondary Triassic objective has found limited hydrocarbons, we believe that the outcome of the testing program on the primary Jurassic objective is independent of the Triassic result.

“We will continue to update shareholders on the outcome of the Shakrok well testing and Dinarta operations as soon as material results are available.

(Source: Petroceltic)

The Head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, and Assistant Head of the DFR, Ms. Siham Jabali, met with the Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Dr. Volker Perth, to brief him on KRG foreign and domestic policy and the current political developments in Kurdistan, Iraq, and the Middle East generally.

Minister Mustafa welcomed Dr. Perth to Kurdistan and discussed the history and development of the KRG. He said, “In 1992 elections were held. There was no international recognition, but this first free and fair election was a milestone achievement for the people of this Region, and our progress today stems from such early, home-grown accomplishments.” German Consul General Mr. Alfred Simms-Protz accompanied Dr. Perth in the meeting.

Minister Mustafa also discussed a variety of essential KRG policy matters, including the disputes with Baghdad, the unpredictable situation in Syria, the KRG relationship with Turkey and Iran, and the KRG relationship with Europe and the international community. The Minister emphasized the KRG’s policy of dialogue and peaceful, constructive negotiations with the federal government, outlining the KRG’s hope of resolution and progress in accordance with the constitution of Iraq.

Regarding the KRG role in the ongoing Syrian conflict and refugee crisis, Minister Mustafa said, “We remain concerned about the situation in Syria and we have urged and will continue to urge the Kurds of Syria to stand united.” He added, “It is our national and moral obligation to help refugees wherever and whenever we can because not long ago, we too were refugees, scattered throughout the mountains of Turkey and Iran.”

Minister Mustafa stated that the KRG has an open-door policy and enthusiastically welcomes mutually beneficial relationships with any nation willing to stretch out the hand of friendship. While pleased by the level of relations that the KRG enjoys with the German government, the Minister expressed the importance of a more consolidated relationship between the two governments and more high level visits between Erbil and Berlin.

(Source: KRG)

By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. 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 election campaign formally began Tuesday, but the official candidate lists weren’t published until Thursday evening, just before the start of the Iraqi weekend. Altogether, the lists contain the names of 9,045 candidates.

A noteworthy general point is that unlike previous years, no provisional list was published pending appeals regarding de-Baathification and other candidacy problems. In other words, the current list purports to be the final. IHEC maintains that, after its latest showdown with parliament (in which it prevailed after parliament decided to backtrack), all appeal options have been exhausted.

As for the characteristics of the main lists, at least a few tendencies can be noted in this material.

Starting with the Shiite Islamists lists, there is the State of Law list of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (277). Many of its top candidates run in Baghdad: In addition to Maliki himself at top of the list, deputy PM Hussein Shahristani is second and Haydar al-Abbadi is third.

In Basra, former governor Khalaf Abd al-Samad is the top candidate, and several prominent provincial council members are now trying their luck as MP candidates. In Qadisiya, Khalid al-Attiya, the former deputy speaker of parliament, is the State of Law candidate number one. A notable cooption from Sunni-secular circles is Iskandar Witwit (formerly Iraqiyya deputy; now State of Law candidate no 9 in Babel).

By John Lee.

South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering and Construction has said that it has received an additional $511 million in advance payment for its Bismayah New City Project (BNCP), located 10 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.

According to a report from Yonhap News, this brings the amount of money the builder has received so far for the $8 billion Bismayah New City Project (BNCP) to around $1.6 billion, or 20 percent of the total.

The company said Iraq will send another $388 billion in the second half.

The 1,830-hectare Bismaya development is intended to accommodate around 600,000 residents in a total of 100,000 residential units. Construction is due to be completed by 2019.

About 100 South Korean companies are also engaged in the project as partners and have some 1,500 workers stationed at the site.

(Source: Yonhap News)

By John Lee.

The Deputy Transport Minister, Bangen Rekani, has told Bloomberg that Iraq will seek $2 billion in financing to cover part of the cost of the 40 jets it has on order from Boeing.

Iraq ordered 30 737-800s in 2008, followed by 10 787-8 long-haul Dreamliners in 2009, and a single 777 in 2012 — three planes have been delivered to date and two more are due in the coming weeks. The total value of the deal is reported to be $5 billion at current list prices.

The Deputy Minister added that Citigroup will be invited to advise on the plan, and a committee drawn from Iraq’s transport and finance ministries, Central Bank and Iraqi Airways, has been formed to negotiate the funding.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) facility is expected to be in the range of $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

Iraqi Airways also has a letter of intent to purchase five CS300 CSeries narrow-bodies from Bombardier, worth $387 million at list prices, plus 11 options that would take the value to $1.26 billion.

We need a lot of funds,” Rekani said. “We’re in a race to complete the maximum number of projects in a short time.

(Source: Bloomberg)