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)

The 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 thanked health teams for their sacrifices on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest developments and the ongoing national effort to combat the pandemic.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Implement a previous decision by the government to award, free of charge, plots of land for health staff who have direct contact with Covid-19 patients
  • Direct the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to allocate additional places on postgraduate courses, outside its current plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, for health staff wishing to pursue further studies

The Cabinet discussed other items on its agenda, and decided to authorise the Minister of Finance to negotiate and sign loan agreements to ensure funding for several investment projects in the electricity and health sectors, as follows:

  • A loan to complete a project for the Ministry of Electricity to install (8) turbine refrigeration units and (32) other refrigeration units at a cost of 70,800,000 euros from Siemens
  • A loan for the installation and operation of (9) gas turbines for the Wasit power station for the amount of 36,000,000 euros  from Siemens for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by Standard Chartered Bank and with a guarantee from the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of health services infrastructure in the amount of 185,000,000 euros for the Ministry of Health funded by the German Development Bank (KFW)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of electricity infrastructure in the amount of 400,000,000 euros, for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by the German Development Bank, KFW
  • A loan for the multi-annual maintenance project – the fourth stage in the amount of US$120,000,000 implemented by GE with funding from an international bank and  guaranteed by UK Export Finance (UKEF)
  • A loan for Babylon’s 400 KV Power Plant Rehabilitation Project, in the amount of 38,000,000 euros, implemented by Sweden’s ABB company, funded by JPMorgan Bank and guaranteed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency,  EKN

The Cabinet also approved a draft law to ratify the agreement on air transport services between the Republic of Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, and to submit it to the Council of Representatives.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

By John Lee.

The CEO of Germany’s Siemens has said that US President Donald Trump would support his company’s role in reconstruction projects in countries like Iraq.

Joe Kaeser (pictured) made the comment to CNBC at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Following a hotly-contested competition in 2018, it was agreed that Siemens and rival GE would share the work to upgrade Iraq’s electricity system, with GE supplying 14 gigawatts (GW), and Siemens 11 GW.

Siemens employs around 60,000 workers in the US.

(Source: CNBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is delighted to be holding a Tech forum within the main Conference at Address Hotel in Dubai on December 8th.

Principal among the speakers are Mr Yassin Bhija of GE Healthcare and Mr Uwe Bork of Siemens Healthcare who are driving the healthtech panel – exploring the hot topic of ‘How best to Develop primary and general healthcare in Iraq.’

Iraq has structural and tactical issues in providing universal healthcare at all levels of delivery and in all locations and classes. The two leading healthcare companies will discuss how tech solutions in general can address the issue and how their particular capabilities contribute to the general provision of healthcare.

Following on the Education Tech panel, will be discussing ‘The importance of Digital literacy in Iraq’, led by Google’s Mr Martin Roeke, Dr Victoria Lindsay of the British Council and Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education.

The Forum is sponsored by Innovest Middle East, an investment company that invests in startups during their scaling up stage in key markets in the Middle East region. With representations in Lebanon, Dubai, KSA, and Iraq, Innovest Middle East has played a key role in driving the startup ecosystem through direct investments as well as through supporting incubation and acceleration platforms collaboration with governmental and international bodies. In Iraq, Innovest Middle East launched IRAQPRENEURS in 2018, in collaboration with the World Bank, Central Bank of Iraq and leading private organizations, which grew to become one of the leading nationwide entrepreneurship empowerment platform in Iraq.

Mr Bassam Falah, CEO of Innovest will be addressing the delegates on the progress in support of the Iraqi start up ecology.

More speakers are expected to confirm.

For more information and to register, please contact london@webuildiraq.org.

(Source: IBBC)

From Peace to prosperity:

The Conference to find out what’s happening for Iraq business.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Autumn Conference in Dubai on December 8th is set against a backdrop of relative peace and security in Iraq, and the prospect of oil revenues surging through the economy is driving a wider range of business opportunities and a prospective 8% increase in GDP.

Peace is enabling the economy to diversify through the revenues that pay for a range of infrastructure projects. So this Autumn we are focusing on a range of sectors set to benefit from a stable Iraq: namely, Water, Transport and Logistics, Energy and Tech.

The recent protests have also spurred on Government reforms and incentives to drive employment, entrepreneurship and service diversity, and increase the volume of opportunity that lies ahead and the prospects for not just business-to-business but also a burgeoning consumer market.

The Iraqi Electricity Minister will likely be speaking about his reforms to open up the market to SME’s, training and new players. Other ministers including those from Construction and Transport are attending.

The recent announcement of a 10year tax-free period for SMEs in Iraq will also stimulate the Tech entrepreneur market and drive the uptake of engineering skills.

At this conference, we will discuss big-picture economics with Professor Frank Gunter (Lehigh University), Ahmed Tabaqchali (AFC Iraq Fund), and Simon Penny (UK Trade & Investment), who will address the economic backdrop in the Middle East, and the context for Iraq in particular.

The World Bank and Wood Plc will cover the water sector, while Rolls Royce, Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT), and Menzies will look at transport and logistics, and Iraq’s Electricity Minister, GE, Siemens and Enka will focus on energy.

Alongside the conference our Tech Forum brings experts on HealthTech and Educational Tech, including speakers from GE, Siemens Healthcare, KPMG, EY, Google and the British Council, among others.

While key opportunities will be outlined, the real opportunity for business is to meet the people directly involved in contracts and supply-chain opportunities. This is the place to do business, to network and to find out what’s happening in the Middle East’s most potentially dynamic market that is Iraq.

For further information and to find the latest updates on speakers – more are expected – please contact  london@webuildiraq.org or visit the website to register for tickets.

https://iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/autumn-conference-at-the-address-hotel-dubai

The year it’s all on the up…

By John Lee.

Under the guidance of the Iraqi Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, the patronage of the Iraqi Minister of Electricity, H.E. Dr. Luay al-Khatteeb and in continuation of their dedicated efforts to strengthen Iraq’s power sector, Mass Energy Group Holding (MGH) and GE Power signed a new agreement that will help establish Phase 3 of the Besmaya [Bismaya] Power Plant, taking the total capacity of the facility up to 4.5 gigawatts (GW).

Under the scope of the agreement, GE will supply MGH with four 9F gas turbines and four generators to equip Besmaya Phase 3. The project has already been approved by Iraq’s Council of Ministers and MGH will supply electricity from the new extension of the plant to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

The agreement was signed in the presence of H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb and John Rice, Chairman of GE Gas Power by Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH and Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems and Power Services businesses in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb said:

As the first independent power project in Central Iraq, Besmaya set benchmarks in public-private sector partnerships and contributions to Iraq’s electricity network.

“It has not only shown that Iraq can be an attractive destination for private sector investments in the energy sector but more importantly, it has played a critical role in helping the government to increase supplies of reliable, efficient, and affordable power to meet the needs of our citizens. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with MGH and GE through the further expansion of Besmaya Power Plant.”

Besmaya Phase 3 is the largest new power plant by output to be added to Iraq’s national grid since 2014. The project is anticipated to bring another 1.5 GW of power online by 2021, with the first 500 megawatts (MW) scheduled to be added to the grid as early as next year. Up to 1,200 people are expected to be employed in the construction of Besmaya Phase 3.

Ahmad Ismail said:

At Mass Energy Group Holding, our mission is to make investments in the interests of the public by being an active contributor to the construction and development of Iraq’s power sector. In GE, we have found a reliable partner that is not only committed to the same values but also able to provide industry-leading technology, as well as world-class execution and service expertise on the ground in Iraq.

“We are excited to start working on the next phase of Besmaya today and remain committed to partnering with the government and people of Iraq to keep addressing the country’s power generation needs in the future as well.

The agreement builds on a proven track record of successful power generation projects executed in collaboration between MGH and GE in Iraq. Besmaya is already the largest power plant in Iraq in terms of output and among the largest across the Middle East and North Africa.

Phase 1 of Besmaya Power Plant is capable of generating up to 1.5 GW of power, while Phase 2 can already produce up to 1 GW and is expected to add up to another 500 MW as it starts combined cycle operations during the end of 2019 / early 2020. GE has provided eight 9F gas turbines and 4 steam turbines for the first two phases of Besmaya. Moreover, MGH and GE have earlier brought up to 4 GW of power online in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through the Erbil, Duhuk, and Sulaymania projects.

Joseph Anis said:

On behalf of GE, I would like to thank MGH and the Ministry of Electricity for their continued trust in us. GE has been honored to collaborate with various organizations to support the development of Iraq’s electricity sector for over 50 years.

“From being among the first to help rebuild power infrastructure in conflict-affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul, to providing equipment and services for Iraq’s first independent power plant, we have not just promised but continuously delivered on our commitment to help power progress for the people of Iraq.

(Source: GE)

By John Lee.

Under the guidance of the Iraqi Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, the patronage of the Iraqi Minister of Electricity, H.E. Dr. Luay al-Khatteeb and in continuation of their dedicated efforts to strengthen Iraq’s power sector, Mass Energy Group Holding (MGH) and GE Power signed a new agreement that will help establish Phase 3 of the Besmaya [Bismaya] Power Plant, taking the total capacity of the facility up to 4.5 gigawatts (GW).

Under the scope of the agreement, GE will supply MGH with four 9F gas turbines and four generators to equip Besmaya Phase 3. The project has already been approved by Iraq’s Council of Ministers and MGH will supply electricity from the new extension of the plant to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

The agreement was signed in the presence of H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb and John Rice, Chairman of GE Gas Power by Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH and Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems and Power Services businesses in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb said:

As the first independent power project in Central Iraq, Besmaya set benchmarks in public-private sector partnerships and contributions to Iraq’s electricity network.

“It has not only shown that Iraq can be an attractive destination for private sector investments in the energy sector but more importantly, it has played a critical role in helping the government to increase supplies of reliable, efficient, and affordable power to meet the needs of our citizens. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with MGH and GE through the further expansion of Besmaya Power Plant.”

Besmaya Phase 3 is the largest new power plant by output to be added to Iraq’s national grid since 2014. The project is anticipated to bring another 1.5 GW of power online by 2021, with the first 500 megawatts (MW) scheduled to be added to the grid as early as next year. Up to 1,200 people are expected to be employed in the construction of Besmaya Phase 3.

Ahmad Ismail said:

At Mass Energy Group Holding, our mission is to make investments in the interests of the public by being an active contributor to the construction and development of Iraq’s power sector. In GE, we have found a reliable partner that is not only committed to the same values but also able to provide industry-leading technology, as well as world-class execution and service expertise on the ground in Iraq.

“We are excited to start working on the next phase of Besmaya today and remain committed to partnering with the government and people of Iraq to keep addressing the country’s power generation needs in the future as well.

The agreement builds on a proven track record of successful power generation projects executed in collaboration between MGH and GE in Iraq. Besmaya is already the largest power plant in Iraq in terms of output and among the largest across the Middle East and North Africa.

Phase 1 of Besmaya Power Plant is capable of generating up to 1.5 GW of power, while Phase 2 can already produce up to 1 GW and is expected to add up to another 500 MW as it starts combined cycle operations during the end of 2019 / early 2020. GE has provided eight 9F gas turbines and 4 steam turbines for the first two phases of Besmaya. Moreover, MGH and GE have earlier brought up to 4 GW of power online in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through the Erbil, Duhuk, and Sulaymania projects.

Joseph Anis said:

On behalf of GE, I would like to thank MGH and the Ministry of Electricity for their continued trust in us. GE has been honored to collaborate with various organizations to support the development of Iraq’s electricity sector for over 50 years.

“From being among the first to help rebuild power infrastructure in conflict-affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul, to providing equipment and services for Iraq’s first independent power plant, we have not just promised but continuously delivered on our commitment to help power progress for the people of Iraq.

(Source: GE)

Seedstars World, the largest seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, hosted its Iraq round this Friday, at The Station, where 8 selected startups were invited to present their companies in front of the local jury panel.

The local winners were chosen for their innovative sustainable solutions on their different fields. The 1st winner of the competition was IOT Kids,  an online platform teaching kids how to code using scratch and also direct courses in certain private schools. IOT Kids will go on to represent Iraq at Seedstars Regional Summit.

In second place went to Tabib Baghdad, an online booking platform that connects doctors with patients.

Third place was taken by Ur Transport, a revolutionary airboat eco friendly design which will serve as the major future infrastructure for rivers.

After a careful screening and training on Day 1, the Seedstars team shortlisted 8 of the best seed-stage startups in Iraq who pitched on August 2 for the opportunity to compete at the Seedstars Summit, that annually takes place in Switzerland. The list of the Jury members will included Ali Hili, Youth and Entrepreneurship at Zain Iraq, Bassem Abdel Hadi Hassan, Spokesperson for the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Noor Alhandal, Chairman at Ashur International Bank, Khaled Alabadi, Project Manager at GE, Dhafer Hasan, Programme Analyst at UNDP and Anas Al-Chalabi, Business Development Manager at Social n’ Tech

A lot of partners have supported Seedstars at making this event happen. The Main Partners of the Event are Central Bank of Iraq continue to position themselves as great believers in the impact of entrepreneurship. The Local Partners of the event are The Station and Social N’ Tech . Further support is provided by Careem, one of the regions most successful startups, as Entrepreneurship Partners.

In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars closely worked with Mohammad Salah, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. “As the Seedstars ambassadors in Baghdad, we’re more than proud to have hosted the competition in Iraq; This event was a massive networking and funding opportunity to the finalists. Bringing Seedstars to Iraq will open the door for other global incubators, accelerators and competitions by encouraging them to expand to Iraq. we are here to make a difference, to create opportunities and give exposure to the ecosystem” explains Mohamad Salah , Managing Director at Social N Tech.

Mira Charkawi, Community Events Manager at Seedstars also said:

“At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth and buzz. We are very excited to have been in Baghdad, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality”.

Continuing on its world MENA tour, Seedstars World’s next stop is in Cairo taking place at Seedstars Seedspace on the 21&22 of August. Seedstars World is looking for smart startups that solve regional issues and/or develop profitable products for the global market. Startups are invited to apply on the above mentioned websites.

(Source: Seedstars)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has established a Health Sector Table.

This Table will be chaired by Professor David Kerr, Rhodes Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics, and Head of Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.

It is being supported by the Iraqi Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr Ala Alwan, who attended its first meeting.

The Table’s first meeting was held at IBBC’s offices on the morning of Friday 28th June. Its purpose is to allow relevant member organisations to become involved in the further development of the Iraqi health sector.

Healthcare is a priority for IBBC, and the Minister will personally be liaising with this Table. Also present at this meeting were representatives of Almanseer Insurance, Serco, Protechnique, GE Healthcare, Perkins+Will UK, PwC, Management Partners, and The Amar Foundation.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

General Electric (GE) is reportedly expected to win a large share of the multibillion-dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq’s electricity system.

According to a report from Reuters, “under U.S. prodding, Iraq is asking both Siemens and GE to bid on contracts and expects to make awards to each of the companies“.

Following a hotly-contested competition last year, it was agreed that Siemens and GE would share the work to upgrade they system, with GE supplying 14 gigawatts (GW), and Siemens 11 GW.

The Financial Times subsequently reported that the deals were not certain to be approved.

(Source: Reuters)