By John Lee.

GE Gas Power has reported that it has successfully completed services on four 9F.03 gas turbines, two steam turbines and six generators at Iraq’s Besmaya Power Plant safely and on time, while continuing to execute wider operations and maintenance (O&M) works at the site despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These service activities reduced the risk of unplanned downtime of power generation equipment at the site, enabling the plant to reliably supply up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the national grid to help meet the peak summer demand for power.

Owned by Mass Group Holding (MGH), Besmaya is Iraq’s largest power plant. Phases 1 and 2 of the project can generate up to 3 GW and Phase 3, which is currently under construction, is expected to add up to another 1.5 GW. The facility is the first one in the country outside the Kurdistan region to be developed by an independent power producer on a build-own-operate basis for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.

GE has supplied eight gas turbines, four steam turbines and 12 generators that are covered by a 20-year service agreement and is also responsible for O&M services for Phases 1 and 2 of the project to ensure smooth operations at the site. Additionally, GE won a contract to supply four 9F.04 gas turbines and four generators for Phase 3. Much of the electricity generated at Besmaya is fed to the capital Baghdad and surrounding areas and its uninterrupted operations are critical to power local healthcare facilities, homes, businesses and more.

Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH, said:

At MGH, we are committed to strengthening Iraq’s power sector further.

“The logistical and mobility constraints resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak led to several unexpected difficulties in carrying out the required service works at Besmaya including delays in the arrivals of parts and challenges in access to technical experts.

“However, the determination, flexibility and efficiency GE displayed by being able to draw on local teams on the ground, remote support from experts and access to a global supply chain, enabled us to keep the plant operational with high levels of reliability and efficiency and to deliver on our commitments.

Beginning February 2020, over 110 GE and FieldCore (a GE-owned field services execution company) staff members liaised closely with MGH to execute the services safely and as per schedule. The works conducted included the first phase of Hot Gas Path inspection services of the gas turbines, steam turbine minor inspections and generator MAGIC (Miniature Air Gap Inspection Crawler) inspections.

Experts based in the Middle East and Europe liaised with the local site team through digital tools, video conferences and phone calls on a daily basis to remotely support mechanical and commissioning works, identify and transport stocks of parts that needed to be replaced and keep track of overall project progress. To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, additional hygiene, health and safety measures were implemented at the site, including more frequent disinfection and cleaning activities, thermal screenings of everyone entering the site, distribution of additional mandatory personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, COVID-19 prevention training sessions, accommodation for staff on-site, as well as other precautions.

Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE Gas Power, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia said:

As we work through these exceptional times, our resolve to support the Ministry of Electricity and people of Iraq by providing the electricity needed to power everyday life, growth and progress remains unchanged. Our top priority remains the safety of our people, while continuing to deliver results for our customers and the communities we serve.

“I would like to thank the supportive staff at GE and MGH who stayed away from their loved ones for months, working long hours to secure reliable power supplies during this unprecedented period and for the hot summer months ahead. Together, we are honored to make a positive difference to the lives of millions of Iraqi citizens.

GE and FieldCore have up to 300 people across Iraq. The company has supported the development of the country’s energy infrastructure for over 50 years and since 2011, helped to bring up to 15 GW of power online across Iraq, including up to 1.4 GW in conflict affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul.

The company has also helped bring over US$2.4 billion in financing for energy sector projects in Iraq in collaboration with export credit agencies, commercial banks and other organizations.

(Source: GE)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) has reportedly extended of the ban on regular flights in the country until 15th July.

According to Xinhua, the ban includes both domestic and international flights with the exception of those of emergency, medical evacuation and air cargo as well as planes that cross Iraqi airspace.

In another exception, Iraqi Airways will resume commercial flights between Baghdad and Beirut starting 2nd July.

(Source: Xinhua)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Monday a meeting in Baghdad of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Committee that the coronavirus pandemic challenge facing Iraq is unprecedented, and that this challenge has been exacerbated by cumulative past administrative failures.

Following discussions, the Committee decided to:

  • Provide the necessary additional funding, through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements, to the Ministry of Health
  • Direct state-owned profitable and self-financing enterprises to support the Ministry of Health, and for the extra funds to be used by the provincial health authorities for the direct purchase of medicine and medical supplies
  • Permit the Ministry of Health to recruit additional medical staff, both on continuing and short term contracts, and to fund their salaries through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements
  • Direct the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to grant medical and health professionals who have died as a result of their work combatting Covid-19 a pension equal to their last salary
  • Allow a number of  accredited private laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests based on the strict criteria set by the Ministry of Health
  • Permit oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings, and to suspend payment by the Ministry of Health of the cost of oxygen supplies until its finances have recovered
  • Amend the partial curfew to start from 7 PM to 6 AM in line with the increase in daylight hours
  • Direct Baghdad Operations Command and the operations commands in the provinces to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and to hold them responsible for curfew violations
  • Direct Baghdad Municipality and the Directorate Civil Defence to disinfect areas in Baghdad which have a high rate of Covid-19 cases 
  • Exclude staff of the Arab Company for Antibiotic Industries and Supplies (AKAI) from curfew restrictions 
  • The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with other countries which have announced that they are working on a potential treatments for Covid-19, and to negotiate with these countries to ensure that Iraq receives the necessary medicines and supplies  

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Monday a meeting in Baghdad of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Committee that the coronavirus pandemic challenge facing Iraq is unprecedented, and that this challenge has been exacerbated by cumulative past administrative failures.

Following discussions, the Committee decided to:

  • Provide the necessary additional funding, through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements, to the Ministry of Health
  • Direct state-owned profitable and self-financing enterprises to support the Ministry of Health, and for the extra funds to be used by the provincial health authorities for the direct purchase of medicine and medical supplies
  • Permit the Ministry of Health to recruit additional medical staff, both on continuing and short term contracts, and to fund their salaries through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements
  • Direct the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to grant medical and health professionals who have died as a result of their work combatting Covid-19 a pension equal to their last salary
  • Allow a number of  accredited private laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests based on the strict criteria set by the Ministry of Health
  • Permit oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings, and to suspend payment by the Ministry of Health of the cost of oxygen supplies until its finances have recovered
  • Amend the partial curfew to start from 7 PM to 6 AM in line with the increase in daylight hours
  • Direct Baghdad Operations Command and the operations commands in the provinces to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and to hold them responsible for curfew violations
  • Direct Baghdad Municipality and the Directorate Civil Defence to disinfect areas in Baghdad which have a high rate of Covid-19 cases 
  • Exclude staff of the Arab Company for Antibiotic Industries and Supplies (AKAI) from curfew restrictions 
  • The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with other countries which have announced that they are working on a potential treatments for Covid-19, and to negotiate with these countries to ensure that Iraq receives the necessary medicines and supplies  

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Awareness is key to flattening the COVID-19 curve in Iraq

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Iraq, today began a major COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign targeting people living in high-risk and heavily affected areas in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The campaign will mobilize more than 250 community volunteers to deliver critical information, education and communications materials to approximately 6 million people living in 10 heavily populated districts for 4 weeks from 29 June to 28 July 2020.

“Health is the responsibility of all, and raising people’s awareness is essential to containing the aggressive spread of COVID-19,” said Dr Adham R. Ismail, WHO Representative in Iraq. “WHO, the Ministry of Health, partners and donors are working hand in hand to fight this pandemic, and until a vaccine is developed we have to unite our efforts to flatten the curve and keep our communities healthy and safe,” he added.

The campaign will use mobile screens, booths and mobile medical clinics to display WHO educational videos and audio messages on a variety of protective and disinfection measures. State and private radio and TV channels will support the campaign with daily messages for the month. In addition personal protection packages containing masks, hand sanitizers, campaign slogan T-shirts and caps, COVID-19 awareness-raising flyers and other educational materials will be distributed to people in public places, main streets and bazaars.

Iraq recently reported a significant increase in the number of cases in Baghdad after lockdown measures were eased nationwide. Health authorities have tied the increase in numbers to increased testing capacity and improved active surveillance and weak adherence of people living in crowded districts to adopting protective measures as recommended by WHO and the Ministry of Health, such as practising good hand hygiene and social distancing and wearing masks.

The campaign includes support from key religious figures who have mobilized thousands of mosques in the capital to disseminate audio messages. “With no cure yet but prevention, we have to continue educating our people on the importance of following the health advice of WHO and the national health authorities to save our lives and protect our health workers,” a cleric attending the campaign opening in Sadir City, where the vast slums of eastern Baghdad are located, commented.

“WHO is aware of the challenging impact of the lockdown and movement restrictions on the limited and daily income which families in many areas in Baghdad earn. However, the Organization urges all individuals to follow safety measures and wear masks in gatherings and public places, keep hands clean, and pratise social distancing to stop transmission of the virus,” Dr Adham stressed.

WHO would like to extend its thanks to the Government of Kuwait and the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) for co-funding this campaign, and to WHO’s implementing partner the United Iraqi Medical Society for supporting its implementation.

(Source: WHO)

The UAE has sent an aid plane carrying 10.5 metric tons of medical supplies to Iraq to bolster the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This aid will assist approximately 10,500 medical professionals as they work to contain the virus.

Commenting on the aid delivery, Mohamad Saleh Altenaiji, Charge d’affaires of the UAE Embassy in Baghdad, said:

The UAE has contributed to supporting our Iraqi brothers for years and continues to provide all possible support in all areas, particularly the economic and developmental realms. The UAE is also keen to protect and preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage in the face of terrorist threats that have tried to destroy and maim it.

“In continuation of these efforts, the UAE’s wise leadership sent a medical aid plane today to support the efforts of health workers to deal with COVID-19, which comes in addition to the recent medical assistance sent to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”

To date, the UAE has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by providing over 974 metric tons of aid to 68 countries, supporting more than 974,000 medical professionals in the process.

(Source: Govt of UAE)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th June 2020).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD581 (-2.0%) / $603 (+3.1%) (weekly change) (-11.9% and -14.0% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 2.4 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD2.3 bn ($1.8 mn).

Note: According to the Public Health Committee’s decision to maintain curfew days on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, trading on the ISX will be from Sundays to Wednesdays until a further announcement.

 

ISX Company Announcements

  • ISX will suspend trading of Asiacell (TASC) starting Jul. 8, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 12, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.
  • Iraqi for Seed Production (AISP) will hold a GA on Jul. 5, 2020 to elect 4 original and 4 alternative board members from the private sector. The company has been suspended from trading since Nov. 12, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2019 financial statements.
  • Trust International Islamic Bank (BTRU) will resume trading on Jun. 28, 2020 after discussing and approving 2019 annual financial statements.
  • In order to support the economy of the country by developing agriculture and supporting Iraqi farms and creating an agricultural renaissance, and in order to support and employ young people to eliminate unemployment, and to achieve sustainable development through cooperation between the private banking sector and the public sector, and to achieve government goals by benefiting from local funds and promoting the local product, the International Islamic Bank (BINT) contracted with the Ministry of Industry and Minerals / Electronic Industries Company to finance water pumps operating by the solar energy system type Lorentz German according to Islamic contracts (Murabaha contract) within the CBI’s IQD1 trln initiative, where farmers will be financed with amounts that could reach IQD1.0 bn.

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of coronavirus infections as doctors warn the healthcare system is close to collapse.

Ten days after the government decided to partly ease the curfew in Iraq, the rate of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly, with more than 1,800 new cases recorded a day.

Al Jazeera‘s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad:

Siemens Energy and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have signed a contract for the Al Hamudhia substation, which will provide reliable and efficient power supply to the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Saqlawyah, Khalediyah and surrounding areas in Al Anbar governorate, North West of Baghdad.

Located about 20 kilometers away from Ramadi city, the turnkey 400- kilovolt (kV) Al Hamudhia substation will support greater grid connectivity and allows for a higher utilization of the Al Anbar power plant’s generated power, supporting anticipated energy demand growth of 10% annually.

Ammar Mohammed Kadhim, General Director of Planning and Studies Department, Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and the Head of the Japanese loan team “IQP22” projects at the Ministry, which are being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said:

A top priority for the new government of Iraq is rebuilding the country’s power infrastructure. Upgrading and strengthening the Iraqi power grid is crucial to this ambitious plan, which will ultimately support Iraq’s economic, industrial and infrastructure development.

“We’re already working on comprehensive grid projects across the country in collaboration with international partners, like Siemens, to deploy the most reliable and advanced technologies.

The new substation will connect up to 750 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) to the national grid, helping decrease bottlenecks and transmission losses. Construction of Al Hamudhia station is expected to start in July 2020, and is scheduled for completion in July 2022.

Mahmoud Hanafy, Senior Vice President, Transmission Solutions at Siemens Energy, Middle East, said:

The new substation will support in providing reliable power to the homes and industries in the governorate of Al Anbar.

“Our grid technology enables more reliable, sustainable, efficient and flexible power systems. From transporting electricity from power plants to the distribution stations, all the way to the citizens, our ability to optimize flexibility and efficiency will contribute to boosting the transmission infrastructure of Iraq.

Part of the JICA’s projects in Iraq, the 400-kV Al Hamudhia’s scope of work includes the design, construction, equipment supply, erection, testing and commissioning and training of personnel. The project will be completed by Siemens Energy’s engineers in collaboration with specialized local Iraqi subcontractors.

The company is currently building 13, 132/33-kilovolt substations as part of the Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq. These projects aim to strengthen the country’s electricity transmission and distribution network – with a particular focus on the governorate of Basra as well as the other governorates that are located in the middle and south of the country. Siemens is also supplying 35 power transformers to support the Iraqi power grid.

In April 2019, Siemens and the Government of Iraq signed an agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Roadmap, which is designed to meet the country’s reconstruction and power sector goals, and includes the addition of new and highly-efficient power generation capacity, rehabilitation and upgrade of existing power plants and the expansion of transmission and distribution networks. Following Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq agreement, 791 MW of electricity has already been added to the country’s grid.

(Source: Siemens)

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister outlined the challenges facing the country in relation to Covid-19 and the Iraqi government’s efforts to combat the pandemic and provide support to health institutions and medical teams.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to follow the directions of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, and to follow official health advice for their own safety and that of all Iraqis.

The Cabinet discussed recent protests in relation to grievances to do with the Ministries of Defence, Education and Electricity. The Prime Minister directed ministers to engage in a dialogue with the protesters in order to reach realistic solutions commensurate with their demands and with the difficult challenges facing the country.

The Cabinet discussed current economic and financial challenges, and the necessary measures to encourage and promote investment in Iraq’s economy as a key driver of growth and of job-creation.

Following further discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Allow students at stage 3 of intermediate education to progress to stage 1 of secondary education based on their half-term exam scores
  • Authorise the Minister of Health and Environment to take all necessary measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic
  • Consider combatting the pandemic a competency of the federal government, and falls within the general policy of the state
  • Provide the necessary support to expedite the completion of hospitals in Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces

(Source: Govt of Iraq)