The government of Japan has donated US$3.4 million to provide lifesaving health and nutrition assistance for vulnerable children in conflict affected areas in Iraq.

Approximately 4.2 million people have returned to their homes after fleeing the violence that erupted in 2014, however many find their homes and communities have been reduced to rubbles and essential health services overstretched.

“Across all conflict affected governorates, hospitals have been destroyed and those that are functioning are overwhelmed and struggling to meet health and nutrition needs, placing the lives of the most vulnerable children at risk of deadly diseases, including polio and measles,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.

“Japan has recently decided on a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to 63 million US dollars, including this project as contribution in health and nutrition sectors. With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis in Iraq reaches 500 million US Dollars,” said H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq said.

UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan in their unwavering support to vulnerable children and families in Iraq. Since 2015 UNICEF Iraq has partnered with Government of Japan to support the needs of children caught in cycles of violence.

The latest funding of US$.3.4 million will compliment Japan and UNICEF’s investment for Iraqi children by building the capacity of health workers, strengthening health systems in conflict affected governorates as well as providing immunization and nutrition services to nearly 1 million children and breastfeeding mothers in areas of returns as well as in the camps for displaced people.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Docomo Digital, part of Japan’s NTT Docomo, has said it is launching a mobile gaming platform with Zain Iraq, giving more than 16 million subscribers the ability to access hundreds of titles using direct carrier billing on monthly phone bills.

Zain Games’ GamEmpire is a bundle of native and HTML5 games that can be streamed directly to mobile phones or tablets.

Docomo Digital and Zain, a leading mobile operator in the Middle East and Africa, signed the initial agreement in early 2018 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The partnership allows Zain’s 46.9 million customers to access mobile content from Docomo and have it billed monthly through the carrier.

Zain, which operates in eight countries in the region, has already launched the service in Saudi Arabia,  Kuwait and Jordan. Additional rollouts are scheduled for Bahrain and Lebanon over the next few months.

Hiroyuki Sato (pictured), Docomo Digital CEO, said:

Launching our games platform in Iraq marks yet another important milestone in our important partnership with the Zain Group, and our first such partnership in Iraq.

“We are committed to expanding our footprint across the Middle East and we hope to bring our latest suite of content and billing services to Zain’s subscribers across the region.”

(Source: Docomo Digital)

Russia’s Lukoil has successfully completed testing of the fourth well as part of Eridu field (Block 10) appraisal phase in the south of Iraq.

The testing resulted in the commercial flow of dry crude oil that proves the current geological model of Eridu field as effective. ​

Lukoil continues geological exploration at Block 10. For instance, the company plans to drill and test several appraisal wells and to complete 3D and 2D seismic surveys for Eridu field and the block’s southern and central parts, respectively.

Block 10, covering 5.8 thousand square kilometers, is located 150 kilometers west of Basra, 120 kilometers away from West Qurna-2 field.

Interests in the project: Lukoil – 60% (operator), Inpex Corporation (Japan) – 40%. The Iraqi party to the agreement is represented by the state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC).

(Source: Lukoil)

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi expressed his country’s pride in the level of relations with Japan, commended the Japanese government for its support in the fields of security, stability, reconstruction projects, economic and cultural cooperation.

His Excellency said during his reception to the Japanese Prime Minister’s Special Adviser Kentaro Sonoura and his accompanying delegation: Japan will be an excellent partner for Iraq, while many infrastructure and service projects in Iraq have been done and we have a lot of interests and ambitions for future projects, underscoring that Iraq has begun to regain stability, health and doing vital role while the countries of the world coming to us because they do feel our country stability, strengthening the security and democratic life.

His Excellency Prime Minister presented an initiative for partnership, economic and rebuilding cooperation between the Iraqi and Japanese governments, including the call for the establishment of a joint fund to finance reconstruction projects through the quantities of Iraqi oil exported to Japan. The Fund also funds the Japanese side to encourage Japanese companies to operate in Iraq,

The Iraqi government will provide a package of projects in a way that ensures the success of the work of Japanese companies and accelerate their efforts and smooth work.

Concerning that initiative, His Excellency Prime Minister confirmed that this initiative will strengthen the Mutual relationship between the two countries, accelerate reconstruction efforts, establishing economic projects, provide job opportunities for Iraqis, diversify national wealth and reduce dependence on oil, also providing opportunities for Japan’s presence in the Iraqi market and the region in general.

The Japanese official expressed his interest in the project; He said that he was present when His Excellency Prime Minister presented those projects during His Excellency visit to Japan as oil minister, assuring that he expressed interesting in that vision.

It was agreed that the Iraqi side will submit a statement of the main lines of the project through the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad to be studied by the Japanese authorities, thus contributing to the consolidation of cooperation between the two parties.

The Japanese official conveyed greetings and congratulations to His Excellency Prime Minister on the occasion of the government formation, reaffirming the Japanese government’s aspiration to expand mutual relations with Iraq in all areas and move more effectively in support of Iraq’s stability, reconstruction, completion of service projects, supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to develop the Iraqi economy, strengthening security and stability and empowering democratic experience.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

The Basra Gas Company (BGC) is expected to increase production from its current level of 900 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) to 1,050 mcf/d by the end of this year.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil on Thursday added that the project aims to reach a target of 2,000 mcf/d from the fields of Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna 1.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation has been awarded a contract for port construction in the Republic of Iraq.

Extended by the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI), the contract covers a port rehabilitation project in the country’s southern region of Basra, and is valued at approximately 110 million US dollars. The project is being funded through ODA loans provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project will be executed through a partnership between MC and multiple international contractors, including Turkey-based energy infrastructure provider Calik Enerji (CE), in which MC holds shares, and construction firm Gap Insaat, also Turkey-based.

Both part of the Calik Holding group, these two sister companies will play a major role in executing construction while MC will be responsible for overall project coordination and serve as the prime contractor, facilitating the import of steel structures and other necessary supplies from Japan.

The objective of this project is to modernize existing industrial port facilities around Basra by (i) expanding the oil products berth at Khor Al-Zubair Port, and (ii) building a new service berth for working ships and service boats at Umm Qasr Port.

The rehabilitation of ports throughout Iraq is essential to meeting increasing demands for port infrastructure, which is growing rapidly as the volumes of trade flowing in and out of the country grows. Rehabilitating this critical infrastructure will also contribute to further stabilizing the country’s economy as post-war reconstruction advances.

This project is particularly noteworthy given that Khor Al-Zubair and Umm Qasr are the only ports currently in operation in the Basra region, where a system of ports located in the 48 kilometer wide tip of the country wedged in between Iran and Kuwait along the Persian Gulf gives Iraq its only outlet to the sea.

In addition to this project, MC intends to continue leveraging provisions under the Japanese Government policy framework for promoting export of “high-quality infrastructure” to identify opportunities that support Iraq’s efforts towards reconstruction, economic development, and increased quality of life.

(Source: Mitsubishi Corporation)

(Picture: Takehiko Kakiuchi, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation)

Sri Lanka’s Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC) has successfully secured a contract with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) of Japan to build two vessels; Pilot Station Vessel and Buoy Tender Vessel, for General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI).

TTC and GCPI signed the Prime Contract on 27th April 2018 in Dubai. Subsequent to the signing of the Prime Contract, TTC signed the Sub Contract Agreement with CDPLC as TTC’s preferred Shipyard for the construction of these vessels on 2nd May 2018 in Japan.

TTC is a trading and investing company which is also a group company of TOYOTA. By recognizing the potential of CDPLC, TTC decided to collaborate with CDPLC for this project to compete and submit bid proposals in response to a tender floated by GCPI in July 2017.

After the selection of the Bid proposal submitted by TTC in collaboration with CDPLC, there were contract negotiation meetings in Basrah, Iraq and in Colombo, Sri Lanka. These negotiations and discussions were able to strengthen the relationship between the parties to enter in to a successful contract.

Both the Pilot Station Vessel and the Buoy Tender Vessel will be constructed using modern technology and will be in accordance with latest rules and regulations of the maritime industry. Both vessels will be classed to Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK).

The Pilot Station Vessel is a catamaran type vessel which will be used to transport of pilots and provisions, to provide pilots with accommodation services and to provide station and necessary support for pilot boats.

This is a 50m length vessel with a breadth of 18m and a depth of 6.1m. The vessel is driven by two powerful diesel engine and shall develop a speed of 14 knots. The vessel shall be fully air-conditioned and shall provide accommodation for 47 persons.

The Buoy Tender Vessel is designed to be used to retrieve and launch marine navigation buoys, to provide repair and maintenance to marine navigation buoy, to transport marine navigation buoys and/or spare parts and to transport general cargo.

This is a 60m length vessel with a breadth of 12m breadth and a depth of 4.6m. The vessel is driven by twin diesel engines and is capable of achieving a speed of 12 knots. The vessel also shall be equipped with a Crane with a lifting capacity of 22 tons. This vessel too provides fully air conditioned living quarters for its complement of 29 persons.

The two vessels are to be delivered in Iraq in April 2020.

(Source: Colombo Dockyard)

JICA to Support Reconstruction through Development and Rehabilitation of Water Supply and Irrigation Facilities:

On 3 May, 2018, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government signed two loan agreements at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

These two ODA (Official Development Assistance) loans, amounting to JPY 34,880 million (approximately USD 329 million) in total, will be used for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II) and Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2).

The loan agreements were signed by Dr. Maher Hammad Johan, Acting Deputy Minister of Finance and Masayuki Hirosawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.  These concessional ODA loans aim to contribute to economic and social reconstruction of Iraq by supporting the Government of Iraq and Iraqi people in efforts to reconstruct and develop further the basic infrastructures for utilization of water resources.

The first loan, Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II) amounting to JPY 19,415 million (approx. USD 183 million), is the second tranche loan for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project.  The entire project is intended to develop water supply facilities and to improve quantity and quality of water supplied in Basrah city and Hartha city.

A new treatment plant with a reverse osmosis plant and transmission system, including a reservoir and a pumping station, are under construction with the finance of the first tranche, the amount of which is JPY 42,969 million (approx. USD 350 million).  The second tranche will be utilized mainly for construction of transmission lines.  After the completion, approximately 600, 000 residents and businesses in the two cities are expected to have access to clean and reliable water.

The second loan, Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2) amounting to JPY 15,465 million (approx. USD 146 million), aims to improve agricultural productivity by construction and rehabilitation of irrigation/drainage facilities and restoration of farmland mainly in the Tigris and Euphrates river basin.

While agriculture is the main source of employment and livelihoods for rural population in Iraq, its productivity remains low due to drought in summer seasons, aged irrigation and drainage systems, and rising salinity level of soil and water, and reduced river inflow from the upstream countries. Following the previous first phase project in similar nature assisted by JICA, this second phase project is expected to contribute to increased agricultural production, reduced soil degradation, more job opportunities, and alleviation of poverty in rural areas.

These loans are very concessional with the low interest rates and long repayment periods: the interest rate of 1% and the repayment period of 20 years including 6-year grace period for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II), and the interest rate of JPY 6-month LIBOR+0.15% and the repayment period of 25 years including 7-year grace period for Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2).

(Source: JICA)

By John Lee.

Having sold its stake in the West Qurna 1 project to Japan’s Itochu, Shell is now said to be “fully committed” to the giant Basra Gas Company (BGC), which captures gas from Iraq’s southern oilfields.

Frits Klap, managing director of BGC, told Reuters that processing capacity has more than tripled to 938 million standard cubic feet (scf) per day since operations started in 2013, and further expansion is planned:

“We are going to go for something called BNGL, or Basra NGL (natural gas liquids) expansion, which really is going to take us from 1 bcf to 1.4 bcf through two trains, each of 200 million scf per day.”

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has arrived in Tokyo for discussions with major Japanese industry and government.

He met the CEO of Sumitomo Corporation, Kuniharu Nakamura to discuss future projects in Iraq, including the establishment of factories for car manufacturing in Iraq and providing after-sales services.

He also met Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), who said that Japanese companies are keen to invest in Iraq, adding that his organization wants to expand its office in Iraq.

The rehabilitation of the Haritha power plant in Basra was discussed with the President and CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, Takehiko Kakiuchi, while Ichiro Kashitani, President and CEO of Toyota Tsusho Group, discussed supplying fixed and mobile power stations.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)