By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Iraqi tech start-up Sandoog has won the Iraq round of Arabnet‘s Start-up Championship.

The company aims to solve local logistical issues using an e-logistics solution that allows merchants to send, track and manage their deliveries, invoices and customer base anywhere in Iraq.

As part of the IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April, Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet hosted the competition on Monday at The Station Co-Working Space.

In front of a large audience, startups had five minutes to pitch their business to a panel of judges made up of angel and corporate investors, along with key industry leaders.

The top three businesses, which will be entered into Arabnet’s Regional Startup Championship in Beirut, were:

Also taking part and making impressive pitches were Alsaree3, Brsima, Dakakenna, Erbil Delivery, IOT Kids, Sumer Card, and Tabib Baghdad.

By John Lee.

Kuwait’s Qualitynet is reported to have been granted a licence to provide internet, telecommunications and satellite services in Iraq.

According to CommsMEA, the move makes it the first Kuwaiti telecommunications service provider to win a service licence in the country.

Said Qualitynet CEO Mohammed Nizar Al-Nusif is quoted as saying:

Winning this licence comes after an extensive study of the needs of the Iraqi market, the estimation of investment volumes and feasibility studies for the establishment of infrastructure, and will complement our strategic plan for regional and international expansion.

“Our experts are currently working on deploying the network and infrastructure to provide our services to our customer base across Iraq, and to provide the network with point-of-presence devices through Qualitynet Iraq, for which it was officially established.

(Source: CommsMEA)

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mr. Mohamad A. Alhakim received Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the Ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad; they reviewed bilateral relations, areas of joint cooperation between Baghdad and Ankara, as well as regional issues and mutual interest.

Minister Alhakim called for Turkish companies to contribute to the reconstruction of liberated areas, focussing on infrastructure, to ensure the return of displaced families to their homes.

He also stressed the need to activate a loan agreed with Turkey at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference last year in Kuwait.

(Source: MOFA)

Saudi Arabia’s Industrialization and Energy Services Company (TAQA) has announced that its drilling subsidiary, Arabian Drilling Company (ADC), has agreed to acquire Schlumberger’s Middle East onshore drilling rigs business in Kuwait, Oman, Iraq and Pakistan for $415 million (SAR 1.56 billion).

According to a TAQA press release, the transaction transforms ADC into a regionaldrilling leader with one of the largest rig fleets, client portfolios and geographic footprints in the Middle East. ADC, a drilling rig partnership between TAQA and Schlumberger, was established in 1964 through a royal decree.

Through this expansion, ADC, Saudi Arabia’s current market leader and drilling national champion, will become an industry powerhouse, operating a superior fleet of 58 onshore rigs and 9 offshore rigs across the MENA region. The combined firm will have more than 5,900 employees and builds on ADC’s long-standing reputation of reliably serving national and international oil and gas companies for over 55 years.

The transaction will combine the outstanding track records of the parties with respect to operations, quality of service, health, safety and environment. It will also create economies of scale and cost synergies, making ADC a regional leader, encompassing a diversified, multi-country and multi-client offering.

For TAQA, the expansion represents a major step forward in its ongoing group-wide transformation and growth strategy. TAQA’s 2021 strategy is to become a leading regional oilfield services and equipment (OFSE) company and is based on three key pillars:

  1. creating value by strengthening the position and growth of its existing businesses and expanding into higher-tier services and new markets,
  2. sustaining value by providing differentiated, best-in-class client services and safety, using the latest technologies, and,
  3. realizing value and greater operational efficiencies by delivering more integrated client services that are safe, reliable and competitive.

“This acquisition is fully aligned with Saudi Vision 2030. It unlocks value and drives growth across our entire value chain through a more integrated regional approach, while positioning a leading Saudi company as a global player,” said TAQA chief executive officer Azzam Shalabi, who is also chairman of the ADC Board.

He said the transaction also follows on from ADC’s accelerated expansion activity in 2018 when 16 rigs were commissioned to support the growth of Saudi Aramco.

“This new combination clearly demonstrates that TAQA and ADC are delivering on their transformation and growth strategies, and further strengthens what is already a long-standing and trusted partnership between TAQA and Schlumberger. We look forward to supporting ADC in the next phase of its expansion and have full confidence that this will benefit all stakeholders, most notably our regional clients,” he added.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.

Moelis & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to TAQA, and Rothschild & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Schlumberger.

(Source: TAQA)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has announced interim oil exports for March of 104,696,872 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.377 million barrels per day (bpd), down from the 3.621 bpd exported in February.

These exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to 100,909,946 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 3,063,972 barrels, and from Qayara 722,954 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $6.709 billion at an average price of $64.082 per barrel.

February export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has said it will supply the equipment to enable an efficient, reliable, and independent power source for an Iraqi cement producing plant.

The 20 MW engine power plant is being built by Al Shumookh Lucky Investments Ltd, a JV company of Lucky Cement Limited and a limited liability company registered in the United Arab Emirates. The power plant will serve the Najmat Al-Samawa cement factory in Iraq. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in Q1, 2019.

Wärtsilä has a long-established relationship with Lucky Cement Limited, one of Pakistan’s leading cement producers and exporters. The company has earlier built two power plants for Pakistan and one power plant for Iraq based on Wärtsilä Smart Power Generation technology.

Intisar Haqqi of Lucky Cement commented:

“It is important that large cement producers operate with maximum efficiency to reduce their operating costs. For this a reliable and price predictable supply of electricity, independent from the grid, is essential. We have always had excellent support from Wärtsilä, and their power generating technology provides the certainty of supply that is needed.”

Pierpaolo Mazza, Regional Director, Wärtsilä Energy Business, added:

“There is no greater endorsement of customer satisfaction than repeat orders. This is the seventh order received from Lucky Cement Limited, which indicates the success of Wärtsilä’s engine power plants in meeting our customers’ expectations, regardless of extreme climatic conditions.”

The power plant will operate on two Wärtsilä 32 engines running on locally available heavy fuel oil (HFO) with diesel as a back-up fuel. The engine is designed to deliver outstanding efficiency with reduced fuel and water consumption in hot temperatures.

The equipment is scheduled for delivery towards the end of 2019, and the plant is expected to become fully operational during the third quarter of 2020.

Image caption: From left to right: Arif Akram, Wärtsilä Energy Business; Muhammad Qasim Latif, Wärtsilä Energy Business; Pierpaolo Mazza, Wärtsilä Energy Business; Adnan Ahmed and Najam ul Hassan, Al Shumookh Lucky Investments Ltd

(Source: Wärtsilä)

By John Lee.

Petrofac has announced that it has secured new awards and contract extensions, with a combined value of over US$30 million, to provide training solutions for key National Oil Company and International Oil Company clients in Oman, the UAE and Iraq.

In Iraq, where Petrofac has delivered more than 50,000 in-country delegate training days since 2010, a contract has been renewed to deliver training solutions.

(Source: Petrofac)

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Conservatives in Iraq’s Najaf want to legislate religiosity

Hundreds of residents in Iraq’s Najaf province rallied and called for a new law that would “strengthen the sanctity” of the city of Najaf, where the Imam Ali Shrine, Shiite seminaries and authorities — most notably top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani — are based.

The heavy presence of clerics’ black and white turbans made it obvious the city’s conservatives were spearheading the April 7 demonstration. The protesters’ anger was evident by their expressions and the slogans they chanted.

Click here to read the full story.

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