Oil Exports Rise Again in October

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has announced preliminary oil exports for November of 105,050,804 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.502 million barrels per day (bpd), considerably up on the 3.348 bpd exported in October.

The exports were entirely from the southern terminals, with no exports from Kirkuk via Ceyhan.

Revenues for the month were  $6.008 billion at an average price of $57.194 per barrel.

October export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Former Iraqi Subcontractor Guilty in Kickbacks Conspiracy

A federal jury convicted a Romanian citizen for his role in a government contract kickback scheme that caused a loss of more than $3.4 million to the U.S. Department of State.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Emil Popsecu, 49, conspired to violate the Anti-Kickback Act related to the lease of real property in Iraq in 2011.

According to evidence adduced and presented at trial, a United States government contractor headquartered in Virginia and performing services for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq in 2011, was searching for real property to lease. A conspiracy formed between Wesley Aaron Struble, 49, a United States citizen living in Batangas, Phillipines, and Joes Rivera, 60, of Potomac, Maryland, both of whom were working as government contractors in Iraq.

Struble and Rivera approached an Iraqi company and its associates and agreed to accept kickbacks in exchange for help in causing the U.S. State Department contractor to lease property that the Iraqi company controlled.

Emil Popescu was late recruited to the conspiracy and asked to open a bank account in Baghdad, Iraq. After a lease was signed between the U.S. State Department contractor and the Iraqi company, Popescu withdrew cash from the bank account and made kickback payments directly to Struble and Rivera. Popescu also facilitated other kickback payments by withdrawing money from the bank account and giving it to the Iraqi company knowing that kickback payments were owed to Struble and Rivera.

Prior to trial, Struble and Rivera each pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy and were sentenced to four years and three years in prison, respectively.

Popescu faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 23, 2018. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Steve A. Linick, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the verdict. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian D. Harrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly R. Pedersen prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-cr-44 and 1:17-cr-052.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

More than 100 Iraqi Civilians Killled in November

A total of 117 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 264 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November 2017*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed in November (not including police) was 114, while the number of injured (not including police) was 264.

Of those figures, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 201 civilian casualties (51 killed, 150 injured). Salahaddin Governorate followed, with 24 killed and 60 injured, and Kirkuk had 12 killed and 28 injured. UNAMI has not been able to obtain the civilian casualty figures from the Anbar Health Department for the month of November.

The two bombings in Tuz Khurmatu, Salahaddin Governorate, and in Baghdad Governorate in November which caused numerous casualties among civilians are a horrible reminder that the terrorists can still inflict blows at peaceful citizens, and that all measures need to be taken by the authorities to protect civilians against the barbarism of the terrorists,” said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš.

*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations News Centre)

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.

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Alliant Techsystems in $28m Iraqi Defense Deal

Alliant Techsystems Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $28,778,721 firm-fixed-price modification (P00027) to a previously awarded contract (FA8106-16-C-0004) for the exercise of option year two for contractor logistic support for the Iraqi Air Force’s Cessna 208 fleet and the Cessna 208/172 trainer fleet.

Work will be performed in Iraq, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2018.

This contract is a sole-source acquisition.  Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Two more charged in UK’s Unaoil Investigation

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged two further individuals in relation to the Unaoil investigation.

Paul Bond and Stephen Whiteley have both been charged with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure the award of contracts in Iraq to Unaoil’s client SBM Offshore.

The charges relate to alleged corrupt conduct within Unaoil, between June 2005 and August 2011.

  • Paul Bond has been charged with two offences of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
  • Stephen Whiteley has been charged with one offence of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

Paul Bond and Stephen Whiteley will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 10am on Thursday 7th December.

The investigation is ongoing.

(Source: UK SFO)

Military Strikes Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, conducting 19 strikes consisting of 24 engagements between Nov. 27 and yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the most recent strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Yesterday near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted five strikes that engaged five ISIS tactical units and destroyed an ISIS fighting position, a tactical vehicle and an explosive hazard.

On Nov. 29 near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted three strikes that engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed a tactical vehicle, two ISIS watercraft, a heavy weapon, five ISIS vehicles and four supply routes.

On Nov. 28 near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted five strikes that engaged five ISIS tactical units and destroyed three ISIS watercraft, an ISIS barge, a weapons cache and 11 ISIS vehicles.

On Nov. 27 near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted three strikes that engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed a tactical vehicle, two ISIS watercraft, a rocket system and five ISIS vehicles.

Strikes in Iraq

Yesterday in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets.

  • Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIS construction vehicle.
  • Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed an ISIS bunker.

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on Nov. 29.

On Nov. 28 near Qaim in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike that destroyed an ISIS fighting position.

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on Nov. 27.

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)

November Market Review: Tentative Recovery

By Ahmed Tabaqchali (pictured), CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The dog days of the summer extended from October into the first 10 days of November, as the 40 day Arba’een pilgrimage came to an end, with continued declines in turnover and prices.

This pattern was sharply reversed as buying interest drove prices and turnover significantly higher. The market, as measured by the RSISUSD Index, was up almost +10% by mid-month, with daily turnover almost doubling on the up days as the chart below shows, before settling in at +4.3% as the buying activity subsided.

Please click here to download Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report.

Mr Tabaqchali is the CIO of the AFC Iraq Fund, and is an experienced capital markets professional with over 25 years’ experience in US and MENA markets.

His comments, opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any fund or security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax or investment advice. The information provided in this material is compiled from sources that are believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made of its correctness, is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding Iraq, the region, market or investment.