By Abdel Hamid Zebari for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

There is an old Arabic saying that “gold is both for decoration and storing.” Currently, Iraqis, particularly residents of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, are taking these words to heart. In the absence of a trustworthy banking system, they are converting their money into gold and stashing it in their homes. The Department of Standards and Quality Control for Gold and Minerals in the Kurdistan Region acknowledges that, indeed, large quantities of gold are being imported and distributed.

Bakr Aziz, the director of quality control for gold in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Planning, revealed to Al-Monitor, “During the past six months, 49.4 [metric] tons of gold have been imported into Iraq through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports.” By comparison, according to Aziz, during the first seven months of 2012, some 34 tons of gold were imported.

He further explained, “Amounts of gold are brought in according to the needs of the Iraqi market. These quantities are brought in through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports and distributed to all of Iraq.” These two airports have surplanted Baghdad’s airport as shipment points for gold due to the deteriorating security situation in central and southern Iraq and the lack of security in the airports there. By contrast, there is a “high level of organization in the Kurdistan Region’s airports.” Aziz reiterated, “[These airports] are secure, making it easier to bring gold into Iraq via the Kurdistan Region.”

The director also pointed out, “Currently, there is strong demand for Turkish and Gulf gold [from Dubai], especially 21-karat gold, while there is not much demand for local gold.” Some of Iraq’s imported gold originates in Europe, but this portion constitutes only a small amount of overall imports.

The newly arrived Italian Consul in Erbil, Dr Carmelo Ficarra, met with Minister Falah Mustafa to discuss ways of building upon his predecessor’s success.

Italy has a Consular Office in Erbil, which is due to be upgraded to a fully-fledged Consulate later this year.

In welcoming him to Kurdistan, Minister Mustafa encouraged him to use their presence in Erbil and the KRG Representation in Italy to promote political, economic and cultural ties. He added that the KRG places much importance on its ties with Italy as part of its efforts to enhance ties with the international community at large.

During the meeting, the two sides also touched on the political developments in Iraq, including the recent visit by President Masoud Barzani to Baghdad and his meetings with senior government and political representatives.

Dr Ficarra said that he was looking forward to beginning his tenure in Kurdistan and reaffirmed Italy’s support its political process and ongoing prosperity.

Minister Mustafa expressed his appreciation to Italy’s former diplomat in Erbil, Dr Simone De Santi, and assured Dr Ficarra of his strong support.

(Source: KRG)

By John Lee.
India is interested in building refineries and petrochemical plants in Iraq, according to a report from the Economic Times.
Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily (pictured), who led a 28-member delegation to participate in the 17th India-Iraq Joint Commission meeting in Baghdad, expressed interest in setting up gas-based projects including fertiliser plants.
He also emphasised the need to deepen the relationship between the two countries by increasing economic cooperation, and offered to share knowledge and expertise in agriculture, infrastructure technology, and pharmaceuticals.
In the discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Saleh al-Mutlaq, the delegation discussed cooperation and possibilities in the oil and gas sector, and also in other sectors such as steel and railways.
(Source: Economic Times)

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

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The newly arrived Italian Consul in Erbil, Dr Carmelo Ficarra, met with Minister Falah Mustafa to discuss ways of building upon his predecessor’s success.
Italy has a Consular Office in Erbil, which is due to be upgraded to a fully-fledged Consulate later this year.
In welcoming him to Kurdistan, Minister Mustafa encouraged him to use their presence in Erbil and the KRG Representation in Italy to promote political, economic and cultural ties. He added that the KRG places much importance on its ties with Italy as part of its efforts to enhance ties with the international community at large.
During the meeting, the two sides also touched on the political developments in Iraq, including the recent visit by President Masoud Barzani to Baghdad and his meetings with senior government and political representatives.
Dr Ficarra said that he was looking forward to beginning his tenure in Kurdistan and reaffirmed Italy’s support its political process and ongoing prosperity.
Minister Mustafa expressed his appreciation to Italy’s former diplomat in Erbil, Dr Simone De Santi, and assured Dr Ficarra of his strong support.
(Source: KRG)

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

Post your commentary below.

By Abdel Hamid Zebari for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
There is an old Arabic saying that “gold is both for decoration and storing.” Currently, Iraqis, particularly residents of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, are taking these words to heart. In the absence of a trustworthy banking system, they are converting their money into gold and stashing it in their homes. The Department of Standards and Quality Control for Gold and Minerals in the Kurdistan Region acknowledges that, indeed, large quantities of gold are being imported and distributed.
Bakr Aziz, the director of quality control for gold in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Planning, revealed to Al-Monitor, “During the past six months, 49.4 [metric] tons of gold have been imported into Iraq through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports.” By comparison, according to Aziz, during the first seven months of 2012, some 34 tons of gold were imported.
He further explained, “Amounts of gold are brought in according to the needs of the Iraqi market. These quantities are brought in through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports and distributed to all of Iraq.” These two airports have surplanted Baghdad’s airport as shipment points for gold due to the deteriorating security situation in central and southern Iraq and the lack of security in the airports there. By contrast, there is a “high level of organization in the Kurdistan Region’s airports.” Aziz reiterated, “[These airports] are secure, making it easier to bring gold into Iraq via the Kurdistan Region.”
The director also pointed out, “Currently, there is strong demand for Turkish and Gulf gold [from Dubai], especially 21-karat gold, while there is not much demand for local gold.” Some of Iraq’s imported gold originates in Europe, but this portion constitutes only a small amount of overall imports.

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

Post your commentary below.

The Dutch Minister for Migration and State Secretary of Security and Justice, Mr Fred Teeven, met with Minister Falah Mustafa as part of his visit to the Kurdistan Region to discuss bilateral ties.
The visit is part of an effort to further strengthen ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands.
Minister Mustafa expressed his appreciation to the delegation on behalf of the KRG for their assistance to the Kurdish community during times of difficulty. He said, “We have a historical relationship with the Netherlands. But we are not living in the past today, we are focused on the future and to delivering prosperity to our people.”
The two sides also touched on ways of strengthening ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands. Minister Mustafa said that the KRG wants to interact with the international community and welcomes the exchange of visits. He said, “These visits are important as they allow you to see the developments firsthand.”
The meeting included detailed discussions about the role the Netherlands can play in promoting the rule of law, advancing human rights, and encouraging transparency and accountability in Kurdistan. It later touched on the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad, as well as on regional developments.
Minister Mustafa also called for the establishment of an EU Office in Erbil, similar to the one in Baghdad to ensure the Kurdish position is conveyed to the European Union, saying that the time to do so is now. He added that this would help further strengthen political, economic and cultural ties.
Dutch Minister Teeven expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality and said he was surprised by the notable difference between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. He assured Minister Mustafa that he would follow up discussions with his colleagues in Brussels to convey the request for an EU Office in Erbil. He added that it is important for Kurdistan to be covered in specific agreements between Iraq and EU to ensure that it can benefit.
He said, “We have had an enjoyable and productive visit to Kurdistan, and I will explore some of these areas with my colleagues in the Netherlands and in the EU Commission.”
Minister Teeven was accompanied by the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Harry Molenaar; Head of the Embassy Liaison Office in Erbil, Mr. Jeroen Kelderhuis, as well as several other senior officials from his ministry.
Several officials from the Department of Foreign Relations also attended the meeting, including the Deputy Head, Mr Karwan Jamal; Ms Siham Jabali, Assistant-Head of DFR, and other advisors and staff members.
(Source: KRG)

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

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Gulf Keystone has announced that further to the approval of the Field Development Plan for the Shaikan field, a world class commercial discovery, announced on 26 June 2013, the Company has commenced its development drilling programme with the spudding of Shaikan-10. In parallel, production operations from the newly commissioned Shaikan production facility (“PF-1″) are scheduled to commence shortly.
Shaikan-10 to launch aggressive development drilling campaign
Shaikan-10, the Company’s first development well, spudded on 5 July 2013, launching a development drilling campaign as part of the approved phased development of the Shaikan field, which Gulf Keystone operates. The well is being drilled with the Weatherford 842 rig, which previously drilled Shaikan-8, also part of the agreed phased development. This rig also drilled the Shaikan-1 discovery well in 2009 and the Bijell-1 discovery well in 2010.
Shaikan-10 will be followed by a minimum 3-rig development and production drilling programme, which will commence in early 2014.
Shaikan-10 is intended to become a production well and is to be tied to the second Shaikan production facility (“PF-2″), which is currently under construction. Analogous to PF-1, it is of modular design and its production capacity will be of 20,000 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”). Shaikan-2 and -5, already completed as production wells, will also be tied to PF-2.
PF-1, which has now been completed and commissioned, when combined with PF-2 later in the year, will allow the Company to achieve its immediate short-term production target of 40,000 bopd.
Commenting on today’s announcement, John Gerstenlauer (pictured), Chief Operating Officer, said:
It is a recognised fact that Gulf Keystone has done outstanding work during the exploration phase and we continue targeting significant exploration upside of the Shaikan field with Shaikan-7, which is currently being drilled.
“Our next immediate target is to complete the Company’s transition from an exploration to a key producer in the Kurdistan Region in 2013. The spudding of Shaikan-10 is yet another step in the right direction.
“The implementation of our Field Development Plan has started and we will shortly commence production from one of the world’s largest onshore conventional oil & gas developments. Focusing on our production milestones agreed with the Ministry of Natural Resources, we are working hard to get to 40,000 bopd of Shaikan production from PF-1 and PF-2, and then to progress to 150,000 bopd within 3 years and 250,000 bopd within 5 years.
(Source: GKP)

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

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By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
The June 30 events in Egypt deserve to be carefully and attentively interpreted at all levels, as far as Iraq is concerned.
The rapid political change in Egypt did not take place against the old political leaderships, which had spread like cancer in the Arab countries for decades and required the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings to be undone. This time, the Egyptian popular movement was against political Islam movements, which were the biggest winners in the Arab revolutions.
Contrary to the tendencies that attempt to describe Egypt’s June 30 events as a “military coup,” in reality it was a popular movement par excellence, before the army intervened in determining its options.
In this regard, it is right to say that isolating the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohammed Morsi (pictured) would not have happened by popular will alone without the army’s intervention. The same is true for former President Hosni Mubarak.
Based on that, the controversy over the terms “revolution” and “coup” should not prevail over the attempt to interpret the real side of the conflict in Egypt and the region. It precisely falls under the description of the political Islam movements’ experience in governing the peoples of the region, and the significant mistakes that have been committed, especially when monopolizing power, and considering the political right as being divine.
The popular resentment against religious parties in the region cannot be understood separately from the Iraqi experience. Iraq is a vivid example of the experience of both Shiite and Sunni political Islam.

Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com.

Post your commentary below.

The Dutch Minister for Migration and State Secretary of Security and Justice, Mr Fred Teeven, met with Minister Falah Mustafa as part of his visit to the Kurdistan Region to discuss bilateral ties.

The visit is part of an effort to further strengthen ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands.

Minister Mustafa expressed his appreciation to the delegation on behalf of the KRG for their assistance to the Kurdish community during times of difficulty. He said, “We have a historical relationship with the Netherlands. But we are not living in the past today, we are focused on the future and to delivering prosperity to our people.”

The two sides also touched on ways of strengthening ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands. Minister Mustafa said that the KRG wants to interact with the international community and welcomes the exchange of visits. He said, “These visits are important as they allow you to see the developments firsthand.”

The meeting included detailed discussions about the role the Netherlands can play in promoting the rule of law, advancing human rights, and encouraging transparency and accountability in Kurdistan. It later touched on the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad, as well as on regional developments.

Minister Mustafa also called for the establishment of an EU Office in Erbil, similar to the one in Baghdad to ensure the Kurdish position is conveyed to the European Union, saying that the time to do so is now. He added that this would help further strengthen political, economic and cultural ties.

Dutch Minister Teeven expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality and said he was surprised by the notable difference between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. He assured Minister Mustafa that he would follow up discussions with his colleagues in Brussels to convey the request for an EU Office in Erbil. He added that it is important for Kurdistan to be covered in specific agreements between Iraq and EU to ensure that it can benefit.

He said, “We have had an enjoyable and productive visit to Kurdistan, and I will explore some of these areas with my colleagues in the Netherlands and in the EU Commission.”

Minister Teeven was accompanied by the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Harry Molenaar; Head of the Embassy Liaison Office in Erbil, Mr. Jeroen Kelderhuis, as well as several other senior officials from his ministry.

Several officials from the Department of Foreign Relations also attended the meeting, including the Deputy Head, Mr Karwan Jamal; Ms Siham Jabali, Assistant-Head of DFR, and other advisors and staff members.

(Source: KRG)

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

The June 30 events in Egypt deserve to be carefully and attentively interpreted at all levels, as far as Iraq is concerned.

The rapid political change in Egypt did not take place against the old political leaderships, which had spread like cancer in the Arab countries for decades and required the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings to be undone. This time, the Egyptian popular movement was against political Islam movements, which were the biggest winners in the Arab revolutions.

Contrary to the tendencies that attempt to describe Egypt’s June 30 events as a “military coup,” in reality it was a popular movement par excellence, before the army intervened in determining its options.

In this regard, it is right to say that isolating the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohammed Morsi (pictured) would not have happened by popular will alone without the army’s intervention. The same is true for former President Hosni Mubarak.

Based on that, the controversy over the terms “revolution” and “coup” should not prevail over the attempt to interpret the real side of the conflict in Egypt and the region. It precisely falls under the description of the political Islam movements’ experience in governing the peoples of the region, and the significant mistakes that have been committed, especially when monopolizing power, and considering the political right as being divine.

The popular resentment against religious parties in the region cannot be understood separately from the Iraqi experience. Iraq is a vivid example of the experience of both Shiite and Sunni political Islam.