By John Lee.

France’s Total is said to be interested in bidding to build the greenfield 150,000-bpd Nassirya oil refinery.

The Director General of the Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC), Ali Warid Hammood, told Reuters at the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference in Berlin that bids are still open for the project, and that international oil companies interested in the project would be bidding as refiners only.

The project was initially offered as part of the Nassiriya Integrated Project (NIP), tying it to oilfield development. In January 2018, Iraq dropped the NIP, saying it will rely on a newly formed state oil company to develop the Nassiriya oil field, and leaving only the nearby refinery project for investors.

Hammood confirmed to Reuters that DQOC will develop the field by itself.

It is currently producing 80,000-100,000 barrels of oil per day, with plans to double capacity within three years.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has hosted a meeting in Baghdad with the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, confirming the significance of the economic and financial relations between the two countries.

Both sides expressed hopes for major cooperation in all sectors, including oil, industrial, agricultural, commercial, transportation, and housing.

Mr. Lemoyne said that he saw a keenness from the Iraqi side to encourage and invite the French companies to invest in Iraq.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

French company Alstom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraqi government for the development of urban transport in Baghdad and Basra.

The MoU was signed during the Franco-Iraqi government authorities meeting, in the presence of Dr.Sami Al Araji, Head of National Investment Commission (NIC) of Iraq and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State.

The MoU covers two major projects. The first project is to implement a 20 km Elevated Train in Baghdad, with the supply of rolling stock, electromechanical systems, tracks, associated civil works. The light rail system would link Al-Mustansirya, AlShab, Al-Wazyria, Alsarafia AlEtafia bridge, Al-Khadumia, AlMuthana airport and Al-Alawi.

The second project focuses on the development of the Metro System in Basra, which consists of two elevated lines of approximately 30km each, 15 stations and one depot for each line from North to South, from Zubair to Shat Alarab and from East to West, from Karma to the Desert.

These projects would significantly contribute to the development of the country’s urban infrastructure and national economy.

“We appreciate the opportunity to develop industrial cooperation with the Republic of Iraq, in order to better address the country’s needs for urban transportation. Alstom is ready to bring its innovative technologies and sees the signature of this MoU as a first step towards the development of a long-term partnership with Iraq”, said Bernard Peille, Managing Director of Alstom in Western & Central Asia.

Alstom is already well established in the Middle East & Africa Region with more than 3,800 employees, 1,800 suppliers and present in more than 15 countries in the region with offices and joint-ventures in Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Kazakhstan.

(Source: Alstom)

At the beginning of the meeting, the French President welcomed the Prime Minister, stressing the great interest in this visit and expressed the common desire of the two countries to develop friendly relations and cooperation. He also congratulated the victories achieved by the Iraqi forces and the success achieved by Iraqis in liberating their country.

The two leaders held a bilateral meeting and then proceeded to preside over the joint expanded governmental meeting, followed by a joint press conference.

Prime Minister Al-Abadi thanked President Macron for the invitation to visit France, stressing Iraq’s pride in the level of the bilateral relations and the great opportunities for development in the economic and trade fields, and thanked the French government for the offer of 430 million euros loan to support the Iraqi budget and contribute to financial stability in Iraq.

PM Al-Abadi said Iraq is a success story and we want to preserve the unity and sovereignty of our country, and continue cooperation between our two countries in confronting Daesh and the establishment of security and peace. The Prime Minister announced the liberation of Hawija, congratulating Iraqis and the world on this victory which was achieved with the heroic acts of Iraqis and only the border area with Syria is left to liberate.

PM Al-Abadi declared that the referendum in the Kurdish region is a departure from the Constitution and has been rejected by the Federal Court and the government and parliament, and we must restore the authority of the federal state to the region and all Iraq, with our utmost care for the Kurdish people and respect for the aspirations of all Iraqis, calling on the Peshmerga to fight alongside the Iraqi army to achieve security and stability under the leadership of the federal authority.

“We stand with you in peace, as we have stood with you in the war, and we will continue to support Iraq to win together the war against peace and peace and we will continue our military, security and economic commitment,” Macron said, referring to his country’s support for Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity and building strategic cooperation relations, expressing his country’s readiness to provide all that will achieve security and stability for Iraq and its people.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider Abadi has visited the headquarters of the largest French employers organization in Paris and held a meeting with the heads of 25 major French companies.

The Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF) has more than 750,000 member firms, 90 percent of them being small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 50 employees.

At a separate meeting during his visit to Paris, the French Government agreed to subsidise Iraqi students accepted on further education courses in France.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, visited Iraq on 25 and 26 August with Ms Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces.

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian met with the President of the Republic of Iraq, Mr Fuad Masum, the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and his Iraqi counterpart, Mr Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He also met with Kurdish authorities, including the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr Masoud Barzani.

The victory of Iraqi forces in Mosul represents a decisive blow to Daesh’s territorial claims, and the group’s grasp on Iraqi territory continues to weaken. This battle was launched in October 2016 with the French army providing support to the Iraqi forces whose bravery is commended by Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The fight against Daesh must continue in order to liberate the areas of Iraq still under occupation, notably Tal Afar, Hawija and the Anbar province. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian provided reassurance of France’s constant commitment alongside the Iraq to defeat the terrorist organization and also stressed the need to protect civilians.

France will support the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq to achieve sustainable peace which reconciles all parts of Iraqi society. It is with this goal in mind that Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed the attribution of a loan of €430 million [$515 million] to Iraq for 2017. This loan will allow the country to access international funding programmes with greater ease, something which is key to helping the reconstruction phase.

This visit also gives new momentum to the relationship between France and Iraq in all areas. France wishes to develop its links with Iraq in all fields, including political dialogue, economic relations or cooperation efforts.

(Source: French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs)

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi took a phone call this week from French president Emmanuel Macron, who congratulated Dr. Al-Abadi for the triumphs achieved against Daesh.

Macron stressed France’s continued commitment to support Iraq in the fight against terrorism, supporting the Iraqi government efforts to restore stability, building its institutions, and developing relations between the two countries.

Dr. Abadi thanked France for its air support for Iraqi forces, and for its contributions in the fields of training and logistical support, before inviting French companies to participate in the “mega investment opportunities” in Iraq.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

France contributes US$980,600 to resilience in Iraq

The Government of France has contributed US$980,600 (€833,500) to UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) to promote recovery and resilience-building in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the ISIL takeover of the Ninewah Plains in 2014. Most have yet to return. Families from these areas, particularly Karemles, Hamdaniya (Qaraqosh), and Bartella, face multiple challenges due to the destruction caused by ISIL, including a lack of job opportunities, the disruption of basic services, and heavily damaged housing.

France’s contribution to ICRRP will help restore livelihoods and facilitate the return of internally displaced people from the Ninewah Plains, including vulnerable minority communities, through housing rehabilitation and the provision of grants to small businesses. The project will be implemented by two non-governmental organizations, L’Oeuvre d’Orient and Fraternite’ en Irak.

UNDP’s Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“These communities have been through so much. France’s contribution comes at just the right time to help families return home safely, voluntarily and in dignity.”

The French Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Bruno Aubert, said:

“This integrated project will allow these communities to benefit again from basic services, and help them engage in local economic activities that produce income for their families.”

UNDP’s ICRRP provides fast-track support to vulnerable families in newly liberated cities and villages where social tensions threaten community cohesion.

ICRRP is designed as a resilience and recovery programme to help families withstand the multi-dimensional shocks associated with post-liberation and large-scale returns.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

Erbil International Airport (EIA) this week signed a partnership deal with Lufthansa Consulting, part of the Lufthansa Group, to support the development and implementation of its masterplan.

The contract, funded by EIA, will secure for the airport key expertise across a range of airport disciplines from project management, through planning, design, cargo, security and safety.

The partnership with Lufthansa Consulting represents the first stage in the long term development of EIA and builds on a masterplan developed in 2014 that was shelved due to the economic downturn and war with ISIS.

Welcoming Lufthansa Consulting, Talar Faiq, Director General, EIA said:

The expertise that Lufthansa Consulting can bring is essential as we seek to develop and expand infrastructure and services at EIA. Managing projects, keeping them on time and to budget is vital part of developing Kurdistan’s gateway to the world.

“In the coming months EIA will re-calibrate its masterplan to take into account new realities, of passenger growth, the anticipated increase in cargo activity and the very real increase in aircraft movements.

“Once our priorities are defined EIA will develop design and implementation tenders and will, where appropriate, offer investment opportunities to the private sector. Lufthansa Consulting will support the airport’s own team, and will deploy their experts as needed.

From September, EIA will be commence several projects developed over the last three years:

  1. Repairs to terminal roof, airfield and other infrastructure to be undertaken by Turkish company Makyol.
  2. Landscaping: $17.5m, 18 month project, to implement a design developed by German company Daber & Krigle. EIA completed contracts and technical agreements with French company Jardin in July, following a competitive tender.
  3. Fuel Farm Re-habilitation: EIA will seek to bring on line a four-million-gallon fuel farm. This $6.5m project will deliver much needed fuel storage capacity at EIA and once complete will offer greater resilience to the airport’s ability to operate in event of fuel shortages.
  4. Water Treatment plant: Increased passenger numbers, the presence of US and coalition forces at EIA as part of the international support for Operation Inherent Resolve and irrigation requirements for our landscaping project have created the need to an increase in water treatment capacity. The $7m project will commence in November.

Ms Faiq said :

I, like many people, look forward to the terminal roof being fixed. Delays due to complex contractual issues have been solved and we look forward to the airport constructor’s Makyol implementing the necessary repairs in the coming weeks.

“The range of projects to be delivered in the coming months demands the highest level of project management. Lufthansa Consulting will provide the support we need to deliver on behalf of Kurdistan.

Lufthansa’s Catrin Drawer said:

“Lufthansa Consulting was honoured to develop a new masterplan in 2014. We look forward to supporting EIA and the KRG with expert resources as they seek to manage a range of complex projects across the airport site to upgrade the infrastructure and services for further business development and attracting potential investors.”

(Source: EIA)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of €3.2 million (US$3.5) from the Government of France today for its cash assistance programme supporting families affected by conflict in Iraq.

“This new French contribution is in response to the urgent need for food assistance among Iraqi families who have recently been displaced by ongoing conflict,” said Bruno Aubert, Ambassador of France to Iraq. “The Government of France is keen to support people in need who are living in harsh conditions.”

WFP will use this contribution to support more than 200,000 displaced Iraqis through SCOPE, WFP’s electronic platform for humanitarian assistance. Each family member will receive around €15 per month (US$17) to buy the food of their choice and other basic supplies from local shops.

“This generous contribution from France will help put food on the tables of thousands of Iraqi families whose lives have been turned upside down due to violent conflict,” said Sally Haydock, WFP’s Representative in Iraq. “Cash-based assistance empowers people and stimulates economic activity. Wherever possible, WFP aims to support people in need while boosting the Iraqi economy.”

Since 2014, France has supported WFP in Iraq with €12 million (US$13.7), contributing to a significant increase in food assistance for the most vulnerable Iraqis.

(Source: United Nations)