Prime Power Middle East (PPME), a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Metro Power Holdings Corporation, has commenced operation of its power plant in Umm Qasr, Basra.

The power plant started its commercial operation last Sunday, 09 February 2020, and is designed to deliver base load of 24/7 power to the Umm Qasr Ports Authority Zone.

The gas-fired power plant is equipped with three latest version Wartsila W20V34SG engines with fast start capability able to provide power to the GCPI grid within 30 seconds. It is fully automated with the latest control system allowing stable electricity generation to the Umm Qasr Port grid.

Prime Power started discussions with the Iraqi government in 2016 in light of the growing power shortages. In May 2018, Prime Power signed a 23-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Genral Company of Ports or Iraq (GCPI).

Benefiting from natural gas supply from a specially built 15km natural gas pipeline, the Umm Qasr Port Power Plant is the first phase of a multi-phase development program that starts with its current Phase 1 operational capacity of 29.3MW reaching total generation capacity 68.4MW in Phase 2, with room to increase capacity up to 150MW in the coming years.

The power plant operation will be integrated with a distribution system to support the port industrial zone and surrounding cities.

Enrique Razon Jr., Prime Power Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to start our greenfield power plant in Umm Qasr Port. It is a testament to the potential of Iraq.

“Under a join operation framework with GCPI we were able to leverage the Basra Governorate’s natural gas resources to develop a first class state of the art facility that adds vital power generation infrastructure and services to state of Iraq.

“We see this plant as the first phase of many as we continue to be long term investors in Iraq and to contribute to its economic and social development.

In spite of some of geopolitical and social challenges Iraq is going through, the plant was built within record time and ahead of schedule.

Guillaume Lucci, Prime Power President and COO, said:

We are pleased to have delivered such critical infrastructure and services to GCPI and the Port of Umm Qasr.

“The completion of Phase 1, in less than one year, is a significant milestone in Prime Power’s strategy to build up an infrastructure portfolio that delivers fast and critical investments to regions in need.

“We will continue to rest on our strong presence on the ground as we work hand in hand with the government and the communities we serve.

Moving forward, PPME will continue to improve the electricity situation at the port, and is looking forward to launching the Phase 2 in the last quarter of 2020.

Prime Metro Power will continue to aim for an even greater contribution to the Iraq power market, and continue the boundless use of economical and sustainable power generation facilities.

(Source: ICTSI)

By Dr Renad Mansour, for Chatham House. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

After Latest Turn, is Muqtada al-Sadr Losing Influence in Iraq?

The populist cleric has repositioned himself in Iraqi politics multiple times, but his recent shift against youth-led protestors may signal his decline as an autonomous political force.

Following the US strike on Qassem Solaimani and Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has violently cracked down on youth-led protests in Iraq.

His paramilitaries and ‘blue hats’ – supposedly created to protect protestors from state and allied parastatal security forces – sought to end the months-long demonstrations by attacking the places where protesters have camped since October. In Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, they successfully captured the famous Turkish restaurant which had become a symbol of Iraq’s ‘October revolution’.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Who are Sadr’s Blue Hats in Iraq and what side are they on?

In the face of harsh criticism from religious authorities and the Iraqi public, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to retreat Feb. 8 from protests where they had clashed with anti-government demonstrators.

Sadr leads the Sadrist political current in Iraq and a group of followers among them called “Blue Hats.”

Click here to read the full article.

By John Lee.

Mobile telecommunications company Zain has reported that its Iraqi revenue was stable at USD 1.1 billion last year, despite a competitive landscape and economic and political issues in Zain stronghold regions.

Announcing its results for 2019, the company said:

[Zain Iraq] EBITDA grew strongly by 10% Y-o-Y amounting to USD 465 million (43% EBITDA margin) based on the operational transformation program.

“Accordingly, the operation reported a net profit of USD 63 million for 2019, up 28% Y-o-Y. Zain Iraq’s focus on customer experience, services expansion across the country and cost transformation combined with growth of data and digital revenue were key drivers of this exceptional performance.

“Retention and customer loyalty initiatives also resulted in the company serving 15.7 million customers.

(Source: Zain)

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the implementation of the KRG’s ambitious Reform Law.

The meeting of cabinet ministers was attended by the heads of the Financial Monitoring Diwan and Commission of Integrity in Kurdistan, as well as the President of Public Prosecutions.

Prime Minister Barzani emphasised the significance of the KRG’s modernisation efforts, which will enhance the efficiency of all government sectors and streamline the delivery of services to the public. He called on all parties to support the reform agenda.

A high-level committee was established to oversee implementation, and the Prime Minister requested that ministers submit recommendations on the prompt and effective enacting of the Reform Law within 15 days.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the role of financial monitoring authorities, the Commission of Integrity, and Public Prosecutions in supervising the reform process.

During the meeting, it was agreed that the cabinet, as part of its core responsibilities, will consider the restructuring the Kurdistan Region’s revenues and expenditures to bring greater transparency to the oil and gas sectors.

(Source: KRG)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday (12 February 2020) that Allied ministers had reaffirmed their support to Iraq and agreed in principle to enhance NATOs training mission.

In the first instance, this will consist of taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities.

Ministers also agreed to explore what more could be done, beyond this first step.

Read the Secretary General’s press conference here

(Source: NATO)

By John Lee.

Investment by Russian oil and gas companies in Iraq may increase three-fold, according to a report by Tass.

It quotes Russian politician Yury Fedorov [Nikolay Vasilyevich Fyodorov] as telling the Iraqi Ambassador to Russia, Abdul-Rahman Al-Husseini, that the total investment in Iraq by companies such as Lukoil, Bashneft and Gazprom Neft has exceeded $10 billion, and that this could triple.

Our companies such as Zarubezhneft, Tatneft and Rosneftegaz also show a high degree of interest,” he added.

(Source: Tass)

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

Iraq likely to continue importing Iranian natural gas under US waiver renewal

Iraqi officials have indicated that the United States is likely to renew a key Iran sanctions waiver that will allow Baghdad to continue importing Iranian natural gas to fuel its electricity needs, the AP reported.

The three-month waiver is set to expire Thursday.

Iraq relies on Iranian imports to meet the lion’s share of its electricity needs in the face of shortages that have helped provoke widespread protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full article.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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

Will Iraq’s new PM pass on forming government?

Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi has a difficult task ahead as he seeks to form a new government.

He is facing widespread lack of confidence from public protestors, as well as ongoing pressure from the country’s traditional political forces to adhere to their terms.

Click here to read the full article.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced the following investment opportunities:

(Source: National Investment Commission)