US “struggles” to convince Iraq to cut ties with Iran

By John Lee.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry spent the last two days trying to convince the Iraqi government that it’s in its best interest to cut energy ties with Iran.

But according to a report from Washington Examiner, his efforts have had limited success.

Perry tweeted:

“In bilateral meetings with Iraqi President @BarhamSalih, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi, and Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi I reaffirmed that the U.S. stands ready to assist the Iraqi people in transitioning from Iranian energy dependence to using their full domestic energy potential.”

Iran is Iraq’s neighbor and an important supplier of the natural gas that fuels the nation’s electric grid, which is crucial to Iraq’s economy and oil industry.

More here.

(Source: Washington Examiner)

Meeting Between UK and Iraqi Chambers of Commerce

On Wednesday 12th December, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a first meeting between the British Chambers of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce & Industry representatives from the Kurdish Region of Iraq.

Erbil Chamber of Commerce is a founding member of IBBC and the IBBC is now the affiliate Chamber for Iraq of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Liam Smyth, International director represented the British Chambers.

Dr Dara Al Khayat, Chairman Erbil Chamber and Chairman of the Kurdish Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry was joined by the Chairmen of Sulaimani and Dohuk Chamber of Commerce.

The work of all the Chambers was discussed and in particular areas where the KRG requested UK involvement was identified.  Apart from oil and gas and utilities there was much discussion about the agricultural and food processing potential of the region. In addition mining, tech and textiles were also put forward as sectors which foreign investment would be most welcome.

Both sides looked forward to continuing engagement with each other to mutual benefit.

(Source: IBBC)

Dana Gas Increases Production in Iraq

Dana Gas PJSC, the Middle East’s largest regional private sector natural gas company, announces that as a result of the ramp up of production from its debottlenecking project in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, its group production reached 70,000 barrels of oil per day (boepd) on the 19 November and has since been sustained above that level.

The Company’s principal operations are in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Egypt, where the drilling of the Balsam-8 well has also led to a sharp increase in overall production. Current group production, in excess of 70,000 boepd, represents a significant increase compared to the Company’s 9M 2018 average of 62,250 boepd.

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO, Dana Gas, said:

“Production in excess of 70,000 barrels oil equivalent per day is a great achievement for Dana Gas. At the start of the year, we planned a drilling programme in Egypt and a debottlenecking project in the KRI that would significantly increase production. We have successfully delivered both projects. The increase in production will help offset the lower realised hydrocarbon prices that have impacted the oil industry in the last quarter and support growth in our revenue and net profit figures for the full year 2018 and beyond.

“We remain excited about the long-term future of our world-class assets in the KRI. Further investment is underway to double current production to 900 MMscf/d over the coming three years, together with an increase in condensate to 36,000 bpd and LPG to 1200 MTpd.”

In the fourth quarter 2018, Dana Gas Egypt completed the drilling of the Balsam-8 well and tied it in to the network. The well was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, adding over 5,000 boepd to the Company’s output.

In the KRI, the Company announced a 30% increase in production capacity at the Khor Mor field (pictured), which it jointly operates on behalf of Pearl Petroleum. The expansion of the gas processing plant consisted of a series of plant additions and modifications to de-bottleneck throughput, raising output capacity from 305 MMscf/d of natural gas to 400 MMscf/d, with over 15,000 barrels per day of condensate. This is expected to add up to $50 million annually to the top line without incurring any additional operational costs.

The Company recently posted a strong set of quarterly financial results. 9M 2018 revenue increased 6% to $351 million (AED1,287 mm) from $330 million (AED1,210 mm) over the same period last year and 9M 2018 net profit was $41 million (AED149 mm) versus a net loss of $6 million (AED22 mm) in 9M 2017, excluding one-off items.

(Source: Dana Gas)

Iraq buys Grain from US, considers Russia

By John Lee.

Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Hashim has reportedly signed a deal on Thursday to import wheat and rice from the United States.

According to Reuters, the agreement covers the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, Kurdistan 24 reports that a Russian delegation visited Baghdad this week to discuss exporting wheat to Iraq.

(Sources: Reuters, Kurdistan 24)

Iraq Stock Market Report

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 13th December 2018).

Note: ISX will be closed during December 26, 2018 – January 1, 2019 due to the end-of-year closing operations. The next session will be held on Jan. 2, 2019.

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD668 (+2.2%) / $717 (+2.2%) (weekly change) (-17.6% and -14.2% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 15.7 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD7.8 bn ($6.4 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • According to the ISX announcement, the opening price of the IQD5.0 mn class bonds (CB125) will be IQD5,283,836 on Sunday (Dec. 16, 2018). [Table: 2.3]
  • ISX will suspend trading of Commercial Bank of Iraq (BCOI) starting Jan. 8, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 13, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • Iraqi Land Transport (SILT) will hold a GA on Dec. 26, 2018 to discuss dismissal of the current board of directors and re-elect 5 original and 5 alternative members. The company has been suspended trading by an ISC decision since Aug. 6, 2017 for not disclosing 2016 and 2017 annual financial results and 3M18 financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Iraqi Agricultural Products (AIRP) starting Dec. 23, 2018 due to the AGM* that will be held on Dec. 27, 2018 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • Mansour Hotel (HMAN) resumed trading on Dec. 13 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 15% cash dividends (IQD0.15 dividend per share, 1.3% dividend yield).
  • Al-Mosul for Funfairs (SMOF) resumed trading on Dec. 12, 2018 after discussing and approving 2015, 2016 and 2017 annual financial results.
  • The Light Industries (ITLI) will hold an AGM* on Dec. 27, 2018 to discuss and approve 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended since Jul. 13, 2016.
  • National Islamic Bank (BNAI) resumed trading on Dec. 11, 2018 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 4% cash dividend (IQD0.04 dividend per share, 3.8% dividend yield).
  • Cross Transactions: 294.7 mn shares of Asia Al Iraq Islamic Bank (BAIB) on Dec. 13, 2018, which represents 0.3% of BAIB capital. 11.03 bn shares of Iraqi Islamic Bank (BIIB) on Dec. 12, 2018, which represents 4.4% of BIIB capital. 592 mn shares of Al-Nobles for Money Transfer (MTNO) on Dec. 11, 2018, which represents 1.3% of MTNO capital.

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

EUR 57.5m Contracts to Support Mosul Recovery

EU Signs Contracts of 57.5 Million Euros with UN to Support Mosul Recovery, Promises Additional 20 Million Euros Next Month

A delegation from the United Nations in Iraq and the European Union Mission to Iraq yesterday toured a number of EU-funded and UN implemented projects in Mosul, seeing first-hand the clearance, stabilization, rehabilitation and development work undertaken in the northern Iraqi city more than a year after its liberation from Da’esh.

Illustrating the joint efforts in post-Da’esh Iraq, the EU signed a contract with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) worth 47.5 million euros, another with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) totaling 10 million euros, and announced 20 million euros in additional support for UNESCO as well as a further 15 million support for FAO, to be signed in January 2019.

The conflict with Da’esh has destroyed many areas of Mosul and Ninewa Governorate, and displaced a large number of the population. Since the military defeat of Da’esh a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. Some areas still lack basic services, and the UN, in support of the Iraqi authorities, are working to ensure a decent living for the people to facilitate the dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The delegation called on the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Agoub, after which a signing ceremony was held.

EU Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Pierre Amilhat, said:

“The Iraqi people have suffered enough, and the country is on the cusp of entering into a renewed phase of state-building. Today exemplifies the strong commitment the EU along with its UN partners have in shouldering Iraq in this critical phase. With the territorial defeat of Da’esh, all of us together have a window of opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable country and restore the trust between the people and their Government. This multi-pronged initiative will join the dots between the various reconstruction components, and significantly contribute to the betterment of the Iraqi people”.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Gerardo Noto, said:

“We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development”.

Earlier, the EU-UN delegation visited the Old City, site of some of the worst fighting – and destruction. They inspected the reconstruction work at the Al-Nuri Mosque, a symbol of Mosul’s history and culture that Da’esh deliberately destroyed its landmark leaning minaret before their retreat from the city. The work is part of ongoing projects to repair heritage sites by UNESCO throughout Mosul Old City’s funded by the EU.

UNESCO has launched “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”, an initiative that has the support of the Government of Iraq and in line with the Initial Planning Framework for Reconstruction of Mosul, which was jointly developed by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and UNESCO in collaboration with the Governorate of Ninewa, to rehabilitate Mosul’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Restoring the identities within the communities of Mosul and other liberated areas of Iraq contributes to reconciliation and promotes more just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“UNESCO is very grateful to the EU for its contribution to the reconstruction and restoration of the Old City of Mosul, in the context of the UNESCO ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul Initiative’. This support contributes to the physical reconstruction of one of Iraq’s most emblematic historical cities, which has been severely damaged and destroyed. It also benefits directly the local community – by providing skills and jobs to thousands of young people” stated Louise Haxthausen, Head of UNESCO in Iraq. “We are particularly pleased that part of this contribution is dedicated to the urban rehabilitation of the old city of Basra, another highly significant historical city of Iraq,” added Louise Haxthausen.

UN-Habitat and UNDP are also working together in Mosul to rehabilitate damaged houses, repair secondary infrastructure, retrofit public facilities such as schools to promote the environmental responsiveness of buildings, and involve youth in redesign of public open spaces. Yuko Otsuki, Head of UN-Habitat in Iraq, expressed gratitude for the EU support “to continue improving the living conditions of Iraqi population through urban recovery investments and job and income generating opportunities in conflict-affected areas.”

The delegation toured Mosul University, once a major centre of learning in Iraq that Da’esh turned into a command post and weapons cache. Mosul University, Iraq’s second largest university, has suffered major damage, and it is estimated that rehabilitation work would require 350-500 million dollars. The university was cleared of explosive hazards, included Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The work of UNMAS lies at the core of the stabilization and rehabilitation work. Mindful that no stabilization work and return of IDPs can be sustainable without ensuring a safe environment, the EU signed a contract granting UNMAS 10 million euros to continue the clearance of contaminated hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, religious sites and neighborhoods.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the international community and more specifically by the EU. With this contribution, UNMAS Iraq will be expanding the clearance capacity in Mosul and also deploy capacity in Sinjar,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

The group also visited the Ninewa Directorate of Agriculture where they were briefed about a project supported by the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support recovery of agricultural livelihoods by revitalizing of food production, value chains and income generation in Ninewa.

“I am so pleased to see the EU has agreed to help us rehabilitate key facilities and equipment of the Directorate as well as rebuilding livelihoods for so many smallholder farmers. Creating jobs in this heart land of agriculture is really key to community stabilization,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Country Representative in Iraq.

The EU has contributed a total of 184.4 million euros since 2016 to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

Iraq’s GDP to Grow 4.1%

By John Lee.

GDP growth in Iraq is expected to hit 4.1 percent in 2019, up from 2.8 percent this year, acccording to data from Moody’s.

The gain is based on an expectation of oil prices averaging $75 per barrel, and would be the highest level since 2016’s 13.1 percent expansion.

The National quotes the report as saying:

“Higher oil prices and output, as well as an expected increase in investment spending because of the improved security situation, have bolstered Iraq’s economic outlook … However, oil price volatility and potential further social unrest that could weaken Iraq’s economic infrastructure, as well as Iraq’s vulnerability to environmental risks, exacerbated by outdated infrastructure are continued risks to growth.”

More here

[In April, Fitch predicted 4.5 percent growth for 2019. – Ed.]

(Source: The National)

Increased Oil Production at Halfaya

By John Lee.

Production at Halfaya oilfield has reportedly increased by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a total of 370,000 bpd.

Adnan Noshi, head of Maysan Oil Company, told Reuters that output rose after the completion of a new oil processing facility.

A further increase to 470,000 bpd is expected next quarter.

(Source: Reuters)