By John Lee.

The state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) is reported to be planning to expand its operations in China and the Gulf.

Chairman Faisal al-Haimus [al-Haimus] told Reuters that the bank want to increase revenues from retail banking and international operations from 25 percent to 30 percent by 2022.

He added that it plans to open a representative office in China in 2020, and will upgrade its license in Abu Dhabi from a “representative office” to “asset management company“.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

Germany’s Siemens has received an order to supply the key components and long-term power generation services for the 840-megawatt (MW) Maisan combined cycle power plant in Iraq.

CITIC Construction Co., Ltd., the Chinese engineering procurement and construction firm building the plant, and Iraqi developer MPC, part of Raban Al-Safina for Energy Projects (RASEP) awarded the contract valued at more than EUR 280 million to Siemens.

The independent power project is expected to deliver first power by March 2021 and enter full combined cycle mode by early 2022. The plant will supply sufficient electricity to meet the needs of more than three million Iraqis, while also supporting the industrial sector.

The Siemens scope of supply includes two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, oneSST5-4000 steam turbine, and three SGen5-2000H generators, along with the SPPA-T3000 control systems, transformers and related electrical equipment, and the fuel gas system.

Saadi Saihood, Chairman of Raban Al-Safina Group, said, “Maisan combined cycle power plant project will be one of the unique projects in a series of power generation projects in Iraq’s history that will stand out due to its combining innovative German technology with an experienced Chinese EPC service provider. We are confident that such a strong team will enable us to deliver a successful project that will benefit millions of Iraqis.”

“Iraq is undergoing an economic transformation, and as the country embarks on a series of ambitious infrastructure projects, efficient and reliable electricity will be essential to powering this development,” said Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO of Siemens Middle East and UAE. “With a presence in the country that dates back more than 100 years, we are proud to support the generation of half of Iraq’s power supply. We are also committed to providing vocational training for up to 1,000 Iraqis in order to develop a pipeline of talented local employees who can contribute to the new Iraq.”

New Maisan power plant to supply electricity to 3 million Iraqis

The Maisan combined cycle power plant in Iraq will add 840 megawatts to the grid and provides a reliable power supply for more than three million Iraqis.

“This project will mark an important power generation milestone in Iraq. The state-of-the-art power island that will be installed by Siemens, including the latest technology of F-class gas turbines, will turn the Maisan power plant into the most efficient gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Iraq. This is very critical for the economics of the long-term operations and the effective utilization of fuel,” said Karim Amin, CEO of Power Generation at Siemens Gas and Power. “In addition, the long-term service agreement is designed to ensure increased efficiency and maximum availability of the power plant while also providing technical training for local Iraqi staff on the operation and maintenance (O&M) front. This will support skills development and knowledge transfer to the Iraqi people.”

Siemens will also utilize its Power Diagnostics Services (PDS), part of the Omnivise Digital Services portfolio. The company’s PDS solution combines asset data with industry expertise to deliver information that allows faster and accurate predictive analysis for effective decision-making. This enables improved operational planning to increase availability, mitigate risks, and optimize operational costs.

Siemens and the Ministry of Electricity of the Republic of Iraq recently signed an implementation agreement to kick off the actual execution of the roadmap for rebuilding Iraq’s power sector. As part of the implementation agreement, the two agreed on the awarding of contracts valued at approximately EUR 700 million for phase 1 of the roadmap. This includes the EPC construction of a 500 MW gas-fired power plant in Zubaidiya, the upgrade of 40 gas turbines with upstream cooling systems, and the installation of thirteen 132 kV substations as well as 34 transformers across Iraq.

(Source: Siemens)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Minister of Transport, Abdullah Luaibi [Abdul Allah al-Leibi], has said that Iraq is actively seeking to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative [“One Belt, One Road (OBOR)“].

In statements on Monday, the Ministry confirmed that the Minister met with China’s Ambassador to Iraq, Zhang Tao, to discuss the plan.

It added that Iraq wants to accelerate the process of joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

(Source: Ministry of Transport)

There can be no doubting Iraq’s oil credentials. It is Opec’s number two oil producer, second only to Saudi Arabia, and holds the world’s fifth-largest proved oil reserves. Production is on the rise, having nearly doubled over the past decade, averaging around 4.5 million barrels per day in 2018.

Almost 90 per cent of the country’s output comes from giant oilfields in the southern part of the country. The remainder is largely pumped from oilfields in the northeast, in the semiautonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), which is under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

This is good news for a country that is heavily dependent on revenues from its oil exports, which, according to the IMF, accounted for almost 90 per cent of total government revenues in 2017. The rise in oil prices, despite recent wobbles in the face of US-China trade tensions, has certainly been a boost to the country’s coffers and provides further impetus for investment in development and infrastructure.

This upwards trajectory is likely to continue as the country seeks to fill the supply gap left by new US sanctions on Iran. Iraq is keen to lift production capacity to 5 million bpd this year, and to 8.5 million bpd in the coming years as it upgrades its infrastructure. The southern oilfields are key to this growth, expected to pump some 6.5 million bpd in the coming years, with the country keen to partner with international oil companies (IOCs) to secure the necessary investment to unlock its vast resource potential.

Iraq’s growing importance as a key player on the world’s energy stage will be discussed at the upcoming CWC two-day event, Iraq Petroleum, which will be held in London on June 27-28 in collaboration with the new Federal Government of Iraq. For the first time, the event is being co-located with the one-day Kirkuk & Mosul Mega-Projects event on June 29, where delegates will be first to hear government plans and investment opportunities to develop the giant oilfields in the newly liberated oil-rich areas of Kirkuk and Mosul.

The three-day event brings together key figures shaping the future of this strategically important country. The Iraqi ministerial delegation will be led by H.E. Thamir Gadbhan, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy & Minister of Oil along with the heads of the Basra Oil Company and North Oil Company, while the international oil industry is well represented, with confirmed speakers including Michael Townshend, Regional President of BP Middle East, Jeffrey T. Levy, President of Chevron Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East E&P, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, and Gati Saadi Al-Jebouri, Managing Director of LUKOIL Mid-East Limited.

It’s not just oil that’s creating new investment opportunities for international partners. Oslo-based energy consultancy Rystad Energy forecasts that in terms of resoruces sanctioned for development, gas will overtake oil projects in 2019, with new projects, mainly in the Kurdistan Region, set to triple the country’s gas output from just over 1 billion cubic feet per day in 2017 to 3 billion cf/d in 2022, enabling it to meet growing domestic demand for gas and possibly even launch the country as a gas exporter for the first time. Again, it’s a topic that will be widely covered at CWC’s Iraq Petroleum event, including presentations from Dr Jaafar Oklany, commercial director of Basra Gas Company and Ali H. Khudhier Al-Saady, former director general of South Gas Company, Basra.

For anyone with an interest in Iraq’s future, and indeed the stability of the world energy mix, this is one event not to be missed.

For further information, visit

For full programme, download the brochure

(Source: CWC)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim said his country would stand by the Iranian nation and government in the era of US sanctions against Tehran.

Iraq stands with Iran and is willing to act as an intermediary between its neighbor and the United States, Hakim said on Saturday speaking in a press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad.

He added that Baghdad does not believe an “economic blockade” by the US could be fruitful, according to Reuters.

Zarif, for his part, condemned the US sanctions and said Tehran would strongly defend itself against any military or economic aggression and called on Europe to do more to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

In May 2018, the US president pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Ever since, the EU has failed to make good on its promise to save the nuclear deal and facilitate Iran’s economic trade with the international community.

The Iranian minister also said that the Islamic Republic wanted to build balanced relations with its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors and that it had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Oil production is to increase at the West Qurna 1 oilfield, according to Reuters.

The news agency quoted Basra Oil Company (BOC) chief Ihsan Abdul Jabbar as saying on Wednesday that output will rise from 440,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) to 490,000 bpd in the “next few days”.

The field is being developed by ExxonMobil (25%), PetroChina (25%), Itochu (15%), Pertamina (10%), Iraq’s state-owned Oil Exploration Company (25%)

(Source: Reuters)

The Rumaila oilfield produced 1.467 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 – the oilfield’s highest annual rate of production for 30 years. 2018 also saw the milestone of four billion barrels of oil produced since the Rumaila Operating Organisation [ROO] began operating in June 2010.

The results were reported in the 2018 Rumaila Annual Report, submitted by the Basra Oil Company (BOC) to the Iraq Ministry of Oil.

In accordance with BOC’s objectives, Rumaila continued its journey to becoming a more advanced oilfield in 2018. New infrastructure played an important part in the year’s success, with three major projects completed that help Rumaila’s capacity to produce its current high production rates, as well as contribute to securing the field’s long-term future.

The new Rumaila Power Plant began operating, providing 150,000kW of electricity to the Iraq National Grid and supporting Rumaila facilities; three new dehydrator and desalter production trains were commissioned – increasing production capacity by 124,000 bpd; and two degassing facilities installed new large-scale ‘free water knock out’ vessels that ensure oil quality remains high by stripping water from the hydrocarbons.

The introduction of new technologies continues to play a vital role in the field’s advancement. In 2018, this included: the further expansion of the ‘digital oilfield’ (with 2,000 digital sensors now providing instant data from wells, facilities and manifolds to guide production performance), the completion of a field-wide TETRA radio communications infrastructure, and new data analytics tools and frameworks that visualize, interpret and reveal meaningful insights to improve day to day working.

Underpinning the 2018 results has been the ongoing programme to drill new wells, optimize existing wells, and the injection of industrial-use water to restore pressure to reservoirs in the north of the field. Thanks to the water injection programme and its supporting operations, Rumaila has been able to produce oil from historically harder to access reservoirs: in 2018, the oil produced from the Mishrif reservoir was more than triple the amount of oil extracted from that reservoir in 2010 and generating results never previously achieved at the oilfield.

The 2018 Annual Report also highlighted:

  • 59 Iraqi contracted companies won 85 contracts worth $650 million
  • 220,181 training hours were delivered to Iraqi staff
  • 31 new wells were drilled
  • 23.5km2 of land was cleared of unexploded ordnance
  • 206,675m2 of land was remediated
  • $5 million spent on supporting Iraq’s oil and gas industry via the Rumaila Education Fund

Rumaila General Manager, Hussein Abdul-Kadhim Hussein, commented:

“2018 was a remarkable 12 months in the 70-year history of this oilfield, as well as another exceptional year for the Rumaila Operating Organisation. The partnership goes from strength to strength: our success derives from the way BOC, BP and PetroChina continues to operate as one integrated team.”

BOC Director General, Ihsan Ismael, said:

“On behalf of BOC, I’d like to thank every single BOC staff member who has ensured that Rumaila continues to deliver successful oil production for Iraq, as well as pay tribute to the support of our partners, BP and PetroChina.”

ROO Deputy General Manager, Julian O’Connell, said:

“Rumaila is in service to Iraq. Our objective is to provide oil to support Iraq today, as well as create a legacy for the future. Our strategy and programme for field rejuvenation and training Iraqi personnel is helping us to achieve these twin goals and to overcome the multitude of challenges Rumaila faces.”

Rumaila Special Deputy General Manager, Fan Jianping, added:

“We are very pleased to report another successful year at Rumaila. Equally important is the fact that we have achieved this within a safe working environment. We of course want to increase production, but we also want Rumaila to be the pride of Iraq, which can only be achieved by having safety as the number one priority.”

(Source: Rumaila Operating Organisation)

By John Lee.

The China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC) has been awarded a contract to recover natural gas from the Halfaya oilfield.

Planned production is put at 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, according to a statement from Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

By John Lee.

At its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet received a briefing on negotiations led by Iraq’s Ministry of Oil with ExxonMobil and PetroChina on the Southern Iraq Integrated Project.

In a statement, the government describes the project as “a mega energy and infrastructure scheme consisting of building oil pipelines, storage facilities and a seawater supply project to inject water from the Gulf into reservoirs to increase oil production and Iraq’s export capacity.”

According to Reuters, Iraq is close to signing the $53-billion, 30-year agreement, from which it expects to make $400 billion over the life of the project.

It quotes the Prime Minister as saying that it will involve increasing production at the Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi oilfields from around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) now to 500,000 bpd.

(Sources: Iraqi Cabinet, Reuters)

Advertising Feature

By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

6 questions you must ask when obtaining a second citizenship

Citizenship programs offer people a chance to obtain a second powerful nationality that allows them freedom of movement and security for their families, as well as a better way to safekeep their businesses and wealth.

However, many people decide to apply for these programs without carefully understanding the fine print. There are important aspects to each particular Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program understanding them can mean the difference between a citizenship approval or a rejection.

Below are some of the key points to be taken into account when choosing a citizenship program.

Have you ever been rejected visas before?

This may be the most important question to ask before embarking on a citizenship application process. If your citizenship consultant does not bring up this question, consider changing consultancy firms as soon as possible. Any past visa rejections are a primary concern for governments with CBI programs and the application will result in a rejection.   The governments will deny the citizenship if the due diligence reveals that the applicant had been rejected entry to any country which shares visa waver agreements with that particular CBI country, especially when it comes to UK and Schengen states.

What family members can you include under your application?

Including dependents is common, however, it is imperative that applicants know who they can include under the same application. Your citizenship consultant needs to be well versed when it comes to including family dependents. Lack of knowledge in this area can have consequences and will ultimately result in delays and extra money which can be avoided with proper advice.

Dependents are children, spouse and parents of the main applicant or of the spouse who are financially dependent on the main applicant. Children must be enrolled in full time studies and proof financial dependency on the parents. Currently, only one CBI program accepts siblings of the main applicant or the spouse, these are unmarried brothers or sisters regardless of their age.  These unmarried siblings cannot be previously divorced and cannot have children in order to qualify under the same application.

Each CBI program sets its own regulations for adding dependents. The citizenship consultant should be requesting information on the ages of the children and parents, as each program has different requirements. The date of birth of the applicant is important as, at the moment of applying, they should not surpass the minimum age by law. Also, they should find out whether the main applicant is planning to have kids in the future, because some programs such as St. Lucia do not contemplate including newborns after the citizenship has been issued.

Is your nationality banned from applying for the selected program? 

There are specific nationalities that are barred from applying for some citizenship via investment programs. For instance, St. Kitts and Nevis does not allow nationals of North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan to apply for its program. Therefore, applicants need to understand what the options are for them. Other programs do not restrict any nationalities in particular and take applications in a case by case basis, the results will purely depend on the main applicant’s source of funds and a clean track record.

What are your future travel plans?

Each country has a unique visa-free list which can help applicants narrow down the different programs of choice. Consequently, when looking for the correct CBI program, one should know which country they will be visiting frequently. For example, Grenada is the only country with a CBI program that allows visa-free access to China. So, if an individual has business in China, they might want to apply for the Grenadian citizenship. Furthermore, a Grenadian passport allows visa-on-arrival to the UAE, which is a great option for individuals who have business in the UAE.

If to live in Europe is a priority, then Cyprus is the best option that any investor can look for. Upon obtaining a Cypriot nationality, applicants will be able to live in any country part of the EU. They will also have access to world-class education and healthcare. Cyprus also grants visa-free access to over 170 countries including Canada, Australia, UK and the UAE.

Most CBI programs allow visa-free access to the Schengen states except for the Turkish citizenship.

What are the main documents required?

Mainly each submitted file requires applicants to present basic documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of address and medical examination. These documents can be quite easy to obtain but difficulties start when obtaining Police Clearance from their country of origin, their country of residence and any country they have resided in for 6 months in the last 10 years.

Understandably, many applicants cannot obtain police reports as their home countries are troubled with political distress, so they must provide an affidavit, which is a legal document that clearly justifies the reason for not being able to obtain the police report. However, not all CBI countries accept affidavits, which in this case an applicant is required to present a local lawyer’s reference letter that explains the reasons for not being able to obtain the police report from a particular country.

What financial information is required?

Primarily, the source of funds is the most crucial aspect of the application. The applicant can have clean criminal records but if the source of funds is dubious their citizenship will not be approved. One of the Government’s main concern when conducting the due diligence process is knowing how the applicant has generated his or her money and support documents must be presented justifying the same.

Once the due diligence report is concluded, the applicant needs to make the final payment to the Government. It is imperative that the applicant makes the payment from his own bank account or his company’s bank account not from a third party.

Bank transfers can be a complicated process nowadays, especially if the intermediary banks are in the United States. The citizenship consultancy company would need to liaise with the beneficiary bank in order to present the required documents for the funds to be cleared.

When applying for citizenship it is important to do exhaustive research on the citizenship processing companies, before you chose, and carefully investigate their track record. There are a lot of options on the internet, even some of them are listed on Governments websites, however very few of these have thorough experience in overcoming the challenges that a citizenship application can present.