By John Lee.

Oil production is reported to have stopped at the 70,000-bpd Al Ahdab field on Sunday, as security guards seeking permanent employment blocked access to the site.

According to Bloomberg, the 50,000-bpd Badra field is also at risk of closure from Monday.

Al Ahdab is developed by China’s CNPC, while Badra is run by a consortium of Gazprom (30%), KOGAS (22.5%), Petronas (15%), TPAO (7.5%).

(Source: Bloomberg)

By John Lee.

China’s Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group Corp., Ltd. (ZPEC) has reportedly announced a new drilling contract with Weatherford in Southern Iraq.

Chinese media reports that the deal is worth approximately $27 million, and follows another contract with Weatherford in Iraq agreed in December.

The oil field was not identified.

(Source: Eastmoney)

By John Lee.

An Iraqi researcher has reportedly obtained the first master’s degree in Iraq on the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) [One Belt One Road], by virtue of a thesis titled “Geo-strategic Importance of the Silk Road and its Impacts on the Future of Iraq“.

Khalaf Ayyash Ahmed told Xinhua:

“The importance of the Belt and Road Initiative for Iraq lies in investing in the infrastructure that Iraq needs as a result of its collapse because of the economic sanctions and successive wars.”

Ahmed submitted his thesis to the government-owned Al Iraqia University.

(Source: Xinhua)

China-based HQTS has been awarded a Conformity Certification (COC) certificate by the Government of Iraq to conduct quality assurance services on imported goods to the country.

Iraq’s Minister of Planning, Dr. Nouri Sabah al-Dulaimi, announced yesterday that HQTS was one of the just four successful bids and the only Chinese company selected out of 19 possible entries for this special opportunity.

This certificate, awarded by Iraq’s Central Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (COSQC), plays a vital role in the Iraqi economy. As per Iraqi law, all imported goods to the country must be inspected by a third party inspection company authorized by the COSQC. Given the scale of Iraq’s reconstruction and development efforts, this is a significant opportunity for HQTS.

As one of the world’s key energy exporters, Iraq is entering a period of increased stability and reconstruction with a growing consumer middle class. For this reason, the country will need many imported goods and products from around the world.

As one of the world’s industry-leading quality assurance service providers, HQTS is ready to ensure that the Iraqi government and its people receive only the highest quality goods the world has to offer.

(Source: Newswire)

Cabinet approves measures to expedite completion of investment projects

The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on national developments, and underscored that, during this period, ministries and other state institutions will continue to discharge their day-to-day duties and serve citizens.

The Cabinet:

  • discussed recommendations submitted by the Ministerial Economic Council on halting, until further notice, the imports of agricultural produce in which Iraq is self-sufficient.
  • agreed measures to expedite the completion of investment projects across Iraq, and approved a number of exemptions from applicable regulations to enable ministries, public bodies and local authorities to avoid delays to projects.
  • accepted the recommendation of the Ministerial Energy Council and authorised the Ministry of Electricity to sign an amendment to the original contract with China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC) to complete the 2X630MW Thermal Power Plant Project in Salahuddin Province, and instructed the Ministry of Finance to support the implementation of this project.
  • issued instructions and guidance on the installation of CCTV cameras in commercial outlets, malls, shops, and other facilities.

(Source: Iraqi Govt)

By John Lee.

China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp (CPECC) has reportedly won a $121-million contract to upgrade gas capture facilities at West Qurna-1 oilfield.

According to Reuters, the project is due to be completed within 27 months.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has announced the appointment of Ian Weatherdon as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”).

Mr Weatherdon has over 25 years’ experience in the international oil and gas industry and joins GKP from Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Limited where he was CFO.  Sino Gas is an energy company focused on developing natural gas assets in China and was an Australian listed Company (ASX:SEH) until acquired by a private equity firm.

Prior to this, he held various executive roles, including; Vice President of Finance & Planning for the Asia-Pacific region, and Vice President of Investor Relations for Talisman Energy Inc., the Canadian exploration and production company which was acquired by Repsol in 2015.  He also held the CFO role at Equión Energía Limited, a Colombian joint venture between Talisman Energy Inc. and Ecopetrol SA.

Mr Weatherdon was educated at the University of Calgary before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Mr Weatherdon will join the Board of GKP and assume the CFO role on 13th January 2020.  As previously announced, Sami Zouari will step down as CFO and a Director of the Company on 2nd December 2019, but will assist Mr Weatherdon for a short handover period.

Jaap Huijskes, Chairman of the Company, said:

Following a thorough search process, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Weatherdon as CFO.  Ian brings a wealth of highly relevant finance experience within the sector to the management team, and to the Board.  We look forward to him joining the team and to his contribution.  

“On behalf of the Company, I would like to again thank Sami Zouari for his outstanding contribution to Gulf Keystone, since joining the Company in 2015. We wish him all the best for the future.

Save as disclosed below there is no further information to be disclosed pursuant to sections LR 9.6.11, LR 9.6.12 or LR 9.6.13 of the Listing Rules, FCA Handbook.

Previous Directorships/Partnerships:

  • Talisman SAE Pte Ltd
  • Sino Gas and Energy Holdings
  • Daily Glory Investment Limited
  • Lucky Asia Industrial Limited

(Source: GKP)

By Vera Mironova and Mohammed Hussein, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

With ongoing protests making other investors nervous, Moscow is charging ahead.

Despite ongoing protests in Baghdad, which have seen the departure of many foreign diplomats for security concerns, Russia has doubled down.

Not only has its embassy stayed open in the recent weeks of turmoil, but its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (pictured), also paid a visit last month, first touring Baghdad and then Erbil.

His tour did not look like a regular diplomatic mission. There were no official agreements signed; politics, Syria, and terrorism seemed like an afterthought; and diplomats were in the minority during the week’s events.

In fact, the majority of the participants were businesspeople, including representatives of such Russian oil and gas companies as Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Soyuzneftegaz, and Lukoil.

Also in attendance were representatives of Technopromexport, a Russian company that builds energy facilities, and from Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation.

Click here to read the full story.

See also:

China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

By Daniel J. Samet, for The Diplomat. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

Iran is all over Iraq, U.S. Middle East watchers warn. At his nomination for U.S. ambassador to Iraq this March, Matthew Tueller mentioned Iran 17 times in his written statement.

This concern with Iranian influence was echoed at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a few months later, where officials from the State and Defense Departments advocated continued American engagement in Iraq as a buffer against Iran. One does not have to look far for pieces outlining strategies for containing Iranian expansionism in its western neighbor.

Analysts are right to worry about foreign influence in Iraq — a weak state racked by sectarian tension and extremism and currently embroiled in mass social unrest. Yet while the United States fixates on Iranian ambitions, a far more formidable power has stepped in. Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi revealed that his country was signing on to China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

His announcement coincided with his state visit to Beijing, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime feted with habitual adulation in state media.

The full article can be viewed here.

(Source: The Diplomat)

By Salam Zidane for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi led a delegation to China in September, Baghdad and Beijing activated an “oil for reconstruction” and investment program. Under the arrangement, Chinese firms work in Iraq in exchange for 100,000 barrels per day.

Iraq has said it needs more than $88 billion to develop and mend its rickety infrastructure after three years of combating the Islamic State (IS).

Speaking to the press, Abdul Mahdi said that, including this new deal, about 20% of Iraq’s daily oil production is being exported to China.

Click here to read the full story.