Iran Reported to have Shut Crossing with Kurdish Region

Iran reported to have shut crossing with Kurdish region; subsequently denied by Iran

Reports on October 15 claimed that the Iranian authorities shut a main border crossing with the Kurdish region amid increased tensions.

Ali Tawfiq, director of the terminal in Sulaimaniyah province reported that the main border crossing at Bashmaq had been closed by the Iranian authorities; he added that no reason has been cited for the Iranian move.

Iran has three main official crossings with the Kurdish region; Haji Omaran in Erbil Province and Parwezkhan, and Bashmaq in Sulaymaniyah province.

Reports later on October 15 claimed that Iran’s Foreign Ministry subsequently denied reports that Tehran had closed its border crossings with the Kurdish region.

(Source: GardaWorld)

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

Iraq Stock Market Report

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 12th Oct 2017).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD778 (+2.5%) / $795 (+2.1%) (weekly change) (-19.0% and -16.1% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 14.4bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD20.2bn ($15.9mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Al-Bilad Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BLAD) will resume trading on Oct. 15, 2017, because the company fulfilled ISX request to explain why the prices have touched the lower limit in the two sessions (Oct. 5-8, 2017). The company announced that the shares of Mr. Abdul-Jalal Said Btti were offered to be sold based on a decision of the Badaa’a Court.
  • Al-Ameen Financial Investment (VAMF) completed the capital increase procedures from IQD1.0bn to IQD1.5bn through 50% rights issue.
  • Iraqi Engineering Works (IIEW) will hold AGM* on Oct. 15, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. ISX suspended trading of IIEW starting Oct. 10, 2017.
  • Ishtar Hotels (HISH) resumed trading on Oct. 9, 2017 after fulfilling ISC disclosure requirements and publishing 6M17 financial results.
  • Gulf Commercial Bank (BGUC) held AGM* on Oct. 12, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results and distributing 1.96% cash dividend (IQD0.0196 dividend per share, 5.8% dividend yield). ISX suspended trading of BGUC starting Oct. 9, 2017.
  • Modern Chemical Ind. (IMCI) will hold AGM* on Oct. 20, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results and distributing cash dividend. ISX will suspend trading of IMCI starting Oct. 17, 2017.
  • Economy Bank (BEFI) sent to the ISX the CBI letter of Oct. 2, 2017 confirming its letter of Feb. 2, 2017 that the CBI has lifted the custody of BEFI and requested all relevant parties to settle their commitments with the new management to obtain all their financial rights as well as lifting the block on fixed and current assets so that the bank can resume its activities and fulfill its obligations.
  • Mamoura Realestate Investment (SMRI) completed the capital increase procedures from IQD19.2bn to IQD 22.78bn through 15% rights and 3.6% bonus issues.
  • Iraq Baghdad for General Transport (SBPT) resumed trading on Oct. 11, 2017 after discussing and approving 2016 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 130% cash dividends (IQD1.3 dividend per share, 9.3% dividend yield).
  • Cross Transactions: 5.0bn shares of Baghdad Soft Drinks (IBSD) on Oct. 9, 2017, which represents 2.8% of IBSD capital. 1.25bn shares of Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) on Oct, 9, 2017, which represents 0.47% of BTRI capital. 2.0bn shares of Al-Harir Money T. (MTAH) on Oct. 10, which represent 4.4% of MTAH capital. 2.0bn shares of Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) on Oct. 12, 2017, which represents 0.75% of BTRI capital. 0.5bn shares of Cihan Bank for Islamic & Finance (BCIH) on Oct. 12, 2017, which represents 0.2% of BCIH capital.

OMV Pockets $107m from KRG Settlement

By John Lee.

Austria’s OMV has said its third-quarter clean operating result “was positively impacted” by about 90 million euro ($107 million) following a settlement over a dispute relating to the Khor Mor and Chemchemal fields in Iraqi Kurdistan.

On August 30, 2017, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Dana Gas , Crescent Petroleum and Pearl Petroleum Company Limited reached a settlement under which the KRG agreed to immediately pay $1 billion to the consortium to settle the long-running legal dispute.

Of the EUR 90 million, OMV received approximately 60 percent as dividend from Pearl while around 40 percent was put into a dedicated accountfor future investments in Khor Mor.

(Source: OMV)

Genel Energy gets New COO

Genel Energy has announced that Paul Schofield is stepping down from the role of Chief Operating Officer and will leave the Company on 16 October 2017.

Dr. William (Bill) Higgs will succeed him in the role and will join the Company on 6 November 2017.

Dr. Higgs has nearly 30 years of global exploration, development and operations experience, including over five years in executive roles for independent Exploration and Production companies.

He is a qualified geologist with extensive expertise in all engineering and other technical and commercial aspects of hydrocarbon development and production. Most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Ophir Energy plc, he was responsible for managing the global asset portfolio.

Prior to joining Ophir he was Chief Executive Officer of Mediterranean Oil and Gas, overseeing the successful sale of the company in 2014. He previously spent 23 years at Chevron across a number of global roles, including responsibility for reservoir management of the giant Tengiz oil and sour gas field in Kazakhstan.

Murat Özgül, Chief Executive of Genel, said:

“I would like to thank Paul for his efforts at Genel and wish him all the best for the future. I look forward to working with Bill as we continue to maximise the value of our assets in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”

(Source: Genel Energy)

EU Steps Up Assistance for Stabilisation of Iraq

The European Commission has adopted a €60.4 million stabilisation package to support Iraq after the liberation of areas held by Da’esh, with the country still facing humanitarian, security, stabilisation and reconciliation challenges.

This new funding comes in addition to EU humanitarian aid in the country and other forms of financial assistance that now total €608.4 million since the beginning of the crisis.

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini (pictured) said:

“At this important juncture in Iraq history, we stand at the side of the Iraqi people and authorities who have shown courage and resilience in their fight against Da’esh. Today more than ever, the EU is present to assist them in building their post-Da’esh future.

“We are and will continue to be active on the political, humanitarian, security and development sides to help stabilising the liberated areas. This is a pre-condition for reconciliation, for the return of the many internally displaced who are eager to come back and for the longer term stability in Iraq.”

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said:

The liberation of Mosul and other areas previously occupied by Da’esh is a first step towards peace. The EU has been supporting the needs of millions of Iraqis and will not stop there. They can also count on EU assistance for the further stabilisation and development efforts of their country.”

The stabilisation package includes €50.4 million help to restore basic services, repair essential public infrastructure, as well as to reactivate economic activity through grants to small businesses. This will be done through the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilisation, which is working in newly retaken areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk, Ninewah and Diyala Governorates. Thanks to more than 1,200 projects, over 2.2 million people have been able to return to their homes.

A further €10 million will continue to facilitate the clearance of lands previously contaminated by explosives, by supporting the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). This will also help creating the conditions for a safe, voluntary and dignified return of more than 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In the past year and a half, with the EU playing a key role in coordination, UNMAS has surveyed and cleared more than 1.8 million m² of land in and around Fallujah and around 160 thousand m² in al Anbar Province.

(Source: European Commission)

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, conducting 31 strikes consisting of 39 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported yesterday.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 27 strikes consisting of 33 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Abu Kamal, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle.
  • Near Raqqa, 24 strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; damaged nine fighting positions; destroyed 11 fighting positions, 12 vehicles, two communication nodes and one ISIS supply route.
  • Near Shadaddai, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters and one staging area.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Qaim, three strikes destroyed an ISIS training camp and staging area.
  • Near Rawah, a strike destroyed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device and three ISIS supply routes.

Oct. 10 Strikes

Additionally, two strikes consisting of six engagements were conducted in Syria and Iraq on Oct. 10 for which the information was not previously available:

  • Near Raqqa, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.
  • Near Rawah, a strike destroyed a VBIED, an ISIS fuel tanker and a vehicle.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, conducting 31 strikes consisting of 39 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported yesterday.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 27 strikes consisting of 33 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Abu Kamal, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle.
  • Near Raqqa, 24 strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; damaged nine fighting positions; destroyed 11 fighting positions, 12 vehicles, two communication nodes and one ISIS supply route.
  • Near Shadaddai, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters and one staging area.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Qaim, three strikes destroyed an ISIS training camp and staging area.
  • Near Rawah, a strike destroyed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device and three ISIS supply routes.

Oct. 10 Strikes

Additionally, two strikes consisting of six engagements were conducted in Syria and Iraq on Oct. 10 for which the information was not previously available:

  • Near Raqqa, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.
  • Near Rawah, a strike destroyed a VBIED, an ISIS fuel tanker and a vehicle.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Agility Center of Excellence Opens in Rumaila

Agility has opened a state-of the-art training facility, known as the Center of Excellence, at the Rumaila Energy Park in southern Iraq.

In partnership with Strategic Analytics Team (SAT), the Center of Excellence offers training courses for the local workforce in the oil and gas industry, led by internationally accredited trainers.

Training covers a wide variety of topics, including health and safety, lifting and hoisting, defensive driving and logistics solutions. With SAT’s expertise in the field of operational logistics, courses will meet international oil and gas industry standards and focus on developing accredited local content, while enhancing the capabilities of Iraq-based contractors.

The Rumaila Energy Park is a one million-square meter, fully serviced industrial park developed by Agility Real Estate to provide a one-stop-shop for companies operating in southern Iraq. The park includes warehouse facilities, workshops, lay-down yards and offices. It is strategically close to the region’s major oil and gas subcontractors.

The inauguration was attended by representatives from oil and gas companies and academic institutions, as well as Iraqi government officials.

Colin Hindley, CEO, Agility Iraq, said:

“The Center of Excellence is part of Agility’s ongoing commitment to building Iraq’s infrastructure and human capital. We are strongly committed to building local capacity in our areas of operations, and this new center is part of this strategy.”

Paul Jorgensen, Senior Partner, Strategic Analytics Team, said:

Our partnership with Agility makes the Center of Excellence the first of its type in the Gulf region. At SAT, we take pride in our knowledge and skills in the logistics business, and we are in a unique position to impart the same to aspiring professionals seeking further development.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for both SAT and Agility. With a fully developed culture of learning in an open environment that enables access to the latest information and technological innovations, we want the Center of Excellence to become the go-to resource for both logistics companies and students.”

Agility Iraq has offices in Basra, Baghdad, and Erbil, serving international airports and the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al Zubair.

Agility’s operations include freight forwarding (air, ocean, road), cross-border trucking, customs clearance, project logistics, open yard/warehousing distribution, approved HSSE training and route surveys. All of Agility’s operations in Iraq are ISO 9001, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18001-certified.

(Source: Agility)

Petronas may Exit Majnoon Oil Field

By John Lee.

Malaysia’s Petronas has reportedly decided to withdraw from its 30-percent participating interest in Iraq’s giant Majnoon oil field.

According to Bloomberg, the decision came as the company considers the returns to be too low. It is expected to hire advisers to help find an interested party to take up the holding.

Shell is also said to be trying to sell its 45-percent stake in the field, following a failure to reach agreement with Iraq’s Ministry of Oil. Both Chevron and Total have expressed interest in the project.

Petronas is currently involved in Iraq’s Badra, Garraf, Halfaya, and Majnoon.

(Source: Bloomberg)