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 Maggie Tennis and Strobe Talbott, for The Slate. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Hours before Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, Vladimir Putin visited Syria to huddle with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad over the mounting U.S.-Iran crisis.

Russia has repeatedly condemned the U.S. airstrikes that killed Iranian Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

It’s fair to assume that leaders in Moscow are seeking to turn the situation to their advantage.

Full report here.

By John Lee.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reportedly banned US carriers from flying in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The ban was imposed due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations due to potential for miscalculation or misidentification”.

The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, has reportedly issued a similar order.

(Source: Reuters)

The Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Moscow Meets with President of Russian-Iraqi Business Council and the Executive Director of the Council

The Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Moscow, Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Husseini, met with the Chairman of the Russian-Iraqi Business Council Mr. Benderski Eduardo, and the Executive Director of the Council Mr. Maxim Meliakov.

The two sides discussed the remarkable positive development in the bilateral relations cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow, especially in the field of energy.

Ambassador Al-Husseini stressed Iraq’s desire to develop work in all fields, including: industry, agriculture, education, housing, water resources, and other sectors, revealing the existence of significant investment opportunities in Iraq, and expressed the readiness of the embassy to provide all facilities for investment of Russian companies and businessmen wanting a visit to Iraq.

The Ambassador called for holding meetings to discuss the results of the meetings of the joint Iraqi-Russian Committee, and the implementation of the items of the minutes of the Committee.

On his part, the President of the Russian-Iraqi Business Council stressed that the Council is exerting great efforts to develop relations and enhance cooperation between the two countries in all fields, revealing that the Council will study the problems and obstacles to overcome them.

The Executive Director of the Council explained that the Board was briefed on all investment opportunities adding that the Council is working closely with the Joint Committee to address the obstacles to enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazprom Neft Middle East B.V. has produced its three-millionth tonne of oil since starting commercial production at the Sarqala field in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

Total cumulative production at the Sarqala field has reached three million tonnes, or 23 million barrels of oil, as at December 2019. Daily liquid hydrocarbon production at this asset is currently running at 4,000 tonnes of oil, or 30,500 barrels, per day.

First oil was obtained at the Garmian block (which the Sarqala field is part of) in 2011, with commercial crude shipments commencing in 2015, following the commissioning of the Sarqala-1 well. A second well was commissioned in 2018, with a third due to come online in 2019.

Surface facilities and infrastructure have been significantly expanded in the course of developing this field. Final works on expanding the central processing facility (CPF) are expected to be completed by end-2019 — production throughput having reached 35,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Concurrently with this, the pipeline processing system has been updated, and the production-process automated control system modernised. Formation-water utilisation infrastructure (with throughput capacity of 5,000 bpd) is to be built at the Sarqala field in the near future.

Sergei Petrov, CEO of Gazprom Neft Middle East B.V., said:

“Our work at the Garmian block has allowed us to compile detailed information on the geological structure of the Sarqala field — allowing us not just to develop the asset effectively, but also identify potential for its future development. Preparations are now underway on drilling a further well. Commissioning this will allow us to maintain hydrocarbon production volumes in the KRI.”

(Source: Gazprom Neft)

By Vera Mironova and Mohammed Hussein, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

With ongoing protests making other investors nervous, Moscow is charging ahead.

Despite ongoing protests in Baghdad, which have seen the departure of many foreign diplomats for security concerns, Russia has doubled down.

Not only has its embassy stayed open in the recent weeks of turmoil, but its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (pictured), also paid a visit last month, first touring Baghdad and then Erbil.

His tour did not look like a regular diplomatic mission. There were no official agreements signed; politics, Syria, and terrorism seemed like an afterthought; and diplomats were in the minority during the week’s events.

In fact, the majority of the participants were businesspeople, including representatives of such Russian oil and gas companies as Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Soyuzneftegaz, and Lukoil.

Also in attendance were representatives of Technopromexport, a Russian company that builds energy facilities, and from Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation.

Click here to read the full story.

See also:

China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

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.

Iraq recognizes its urgent need to develop a defense system to prevent violations of its airspace and targeting of its Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) sites.

Whether the solution will be Russia’s S-400 missile defense system has been a matter of contention for many months.

Hisham al-Hashimi, a security expert at the Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor that increased talks about beefing up security are probably an attempt to allay the anger of the Shiite parties supporting the PMU, after its sites were attacked on several occasions recently.

Click here to read the full article.

Iraq is not discussing the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, Iraq’s ambassador to Russia has told Rudaw, following rumors Baghdad is in the market for such a system to counter recent Israeli airstrikes on Iraqi territory.

There haven’t been and there aren’t any discussions or consultations between the Iraqi government and the Russian government concerning the acquisition of S-400 weapons,” the Iraqi ambassador said.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

(Picture: Соколрус)

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

A series of alleged Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq have sent shockwaves across the region and beyond. The attacks on Iraq in particular are unprecedented, with long-term effects yet to be revealed.

The immediate effect, however, is that both the general public and the elites of Middle East nations have raised the need to protect their skies more effectively. Currently, air defense systems are hindered by more than a lack of innovative equipment.

They are also hindered by their overdependence on external powers, especially the United States. Shortly after the strikes, it didn’t take long for Russia to move closer to Iraq in terms of military-technical cooperation.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Соколрус)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister Muayad Salih has said that he expects Russian companies to increase their investment in Iraq.

Tass quotes him as saying that a Russian company is starting to develop of fields in the area of the Ramadi city, adding:

“Hopefully investments there will top $45 billion by 2030.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Legal Department at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Mr. Luqman Al-Faily, met with the Russian ambassador to Baghdad Mr. Maxim Maksimov, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad.

During the meeting, they discussed procedures for the mutual exemption of entry visas between the two countries for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports.

(Sources: Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Tass)