By John Lee.

The World Bank will reportedly lend a total of $200 million to Iraq for upgrades to its electricity grid.

According to Basnews, the agreement was signed by Finance Minister Fuad Hussein and Yara Salim, a representative to the World Bank.

There will be attempts to address the problem of power supply in Basra province and surrounding areas in collaboration with the World Bank,” the Iraqi minister added.

Iraq is expected to implement the projects within five years, and repay the debts in ten to 15 years.

(Source: Basnews)

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor denounced the kidnapping of a civil activist and prominent academic in Basra province in Iraq, as well as the arrest campaigns carried out by the Iraqi security services against activists leading peaceful protests against corruption in the country.

According to local sources, Kazem Al-Sahlani was kidnapped because of his prominent role in anti-corruption demonstrations. for several hours before being released. He was held in captivity for several hours before being released in the northern desert of Basra province, from where he was able to reach a local police checkpoint.

More here.

(Source: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor)

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.

Basra protests build in Iraq as sub-standard services persist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb talked about the situation of Iraq’s electricity sector amid tense US-Iran relations.

He discussed the waiver timeline that Washington granted Baghdad to keep buying Iranian gas and mentioned his fear that some parties are politicizing the electricity sector in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Basra protests build in Iraq as sub-standard services persist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb talked about the situation of Iraq’s electricity sector amid tense US-Iran relations.

He discussed the waiver timeline that Washington granted Baghdad to keep buying Iranian gas and mentioned his fear that some parties are politicizing the electricity sector in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Cancer hits residents of Iraqi oil city of Basra

The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.

The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to “multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Ahmed Mahmoud)

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.

Cancer hits residents of Iraqi oil city of Basra

The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.

The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to “multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Ahmed Mahmoud)

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

Iraq’s vast oil wealth once paid for some of the best health services in the Middle East.

But decades of conflict and political unrest have led to, what the government admits, a crisis in hospitals.

Things are particularly bad in Basra province where people have long complained of government neglect.

Around 70 children are being treated for cancer in Basra Children’s Hospital.

Experts say pollution from surrounding oilfields is one of the reasons why Basra has the highest rate of cancer in Iraq.

Al Jazeera‘s Charles Stratford reports:

By John Lee.

A rocket has hit a residential and oil operations headquarters near Basra city, wounding three workers at an Iraqi drilling company.

The short-range Katyusha missile hit a compound in Burjesia which is used by several international oil companies (IOCs), including ExxonMobil.

Oil production and exports are not expected to be affected.

(Sources: The Guardian, Bloomberg, Xinhua)

JICA to Support Iraq’s Reconstruction and Revitalization through Upgrade of Basrah Refinery

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement for Iraq

On 16 June, 2019, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government signed a loan agreement at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

The ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan amounting to JPY 110,000 million (approximately USD 1 billion) will be used for Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project. The loan agreement was signed by H.E. Mr. Fuad Mohammed Hussein, Minister of Finance and Masayuki Hirosawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Hamid Younis Salih, Deputy Minister of Oil and H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq. This concessional ODA loan aims to support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to reconstruct the country and revitalize its economy.

The loan named “Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (II)” is the second tranche loan for Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project, one of the mega projects known in the region. For the same project, JICA previously concluded two loan agreements for (i) the engineering services loan in the amount of JPY 2,079 million and (ii) the first tranche loan in the amount of JPY 42,435 million.

The entire project aims to increase the quantity and quality of oil products including gasoline, diesel and kerosene, by installing a new refining plant called Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Complex in Basrah Refinery, which is one of the biggest oil refineries currently operational in Iraq. It will be implemented by South Refineries Company, Ministry of Oil.

Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves and is currently OPEC’s second-largest producer. Nevertheless, most of the existing refineries in the country have been shut down or decreased their production capacity, suffered from damages and deterioration in the previous decades of conflicts. Many of the plans to construct new refineries have faced with challenges and delays and are yet to achieve substantial increase of the refining capacity.

On the contrary, the ongoing reconstruction efforts in liberated areas and the revitalization of socio-economic activities across the country have prompted huge demand for fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. As a result, despite being one of the largest oil producers, Iraq has no choice but to import the significant amount of oil products from neighboring countries so as to meet the demand for transport, power generation and industrial production.

Against this backdrop, the project to construct Iraq’s first-ever FCC Complex will increase the volume of the high-value added oil products, promote the transfer of refining technologies from Japan and help save valuable foreign currencies to import huge amount of fuels. The new plant will also reduce sulfur content in the products in accordance with the international environmental standards. Furthermore, the project is expected to pave the way for energizing private sector involvement in the downstream of Iraq’s energy industry and provide economic opportunities for the people of Iraq, especially in Basrah.

The loan is very concessional with the low interest rate and long repayment period: the interest rate of 0.20% and the repayment period of 40 years including 10-year grace period.

(Source: JICA)

By John Lee.

Ride-hailing service Careem has reportedly started operations in Basra.

According to The National, the company, which currently operates in Baghdad and Najaf, also has a pilot project in Erbil.

Careem entered the Iraqi market in January 2018, and was bought by Uber for $3.1 billion in March 2019.

(Source: The National)