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British Businesses Training and Educating in Iraq

By Ashley Goodall.

Is the UK overlooking a key USP for British International businesses?

Education and training footprint of British companies around the world has a significant and excellent impact on communities and economies and is often taken for granted.

As the UK ramps up its trade rhetoric and a ‘Global Britain’ emerges, one of the key benefits that British companies bring is being overlooked: Education and training…

The penny dropped for me as I attended a meeting of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members to find that one after the other, each company was committed to the concept of a learning organisation that are locally integrated. Not only are British companies employing as many local people as possible, but also training them to deliver increasingly complex managerial and technical roles.

Oil and gas companies, Shell and BP in particular, deliver an extraordinary amount of training in Iraq alone. The effect on the local communities and national economies is a massive injection of know-how and a source of social stability, development, prosperity and economic progress, let alone the transformative power training confers on individuals, families and communities.

Not only are our companies a source of prosperity, but when partnered with UK Universities offer a double whammy for the delivery of global standards and expertise that  few countries can match in country and via external courses, such as delivered by Oxford Brooks and Northampton Universities.

Emerging economies appreciate this expertise, as it raises business operations to global standards and enables them to compete with the best, to encourage inward investment and generate employment opportunities in their regions.

Oil and Power companies in particular make a big social impact on their suppliers. Osama Kadhum Managing Director of Ratba’ contracting in Iraq says his staff received 3885 hours of training in Majnoon Oilfield from Shell alone, ensuring the highest technical and supervisory standards are applied.

GE power likewise employ over 90% of local staff, often sent for technical training in USA or x for 6-12 month stretches supporting local recruitment , diversity of employees, and women for increasingly leadership and supervisory roles. Shell in Iraq train over 7,900 local staff in Basra for whom they are delivering over 200,000 training days per year. BP and its Partners are developing the Rumaila field which is supported by a 93% Iraqi workforce.

Around 2,400,000 training hours have been delivered to staff in a variety of technical disciplines, core skills, leadership and safety.  And these figures do not include community initiatives such as an extensive community vocational training programme that has been running for 3 years, or 400 women from a remote community that have been trained in the Rumaila funded Qarmat Ali Women’s Training Centre.

In Baghdad Serco have set up an ATC Academy for Air traffic Controllers. Multiply this scale of training globally in just Iraq and you begin to see the scale and quality of training that British companies deliver among International, Emerging and Frontier markets.

More widely Rolls- Royce has committed an ambitious plan to reach 6 million people worldwide through their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) education programmes between 2014- 2020. This bold target will encourage a more creative and engaging outreach through the company’s supply chain, through the wider STEM sector and to inspire society to attract talented young people from around the world to the world of STEM.

Businesses are often castigated by the media, but the reality is that they are usually a force for good, prosperity and ultimately stronger communities. So let’s celebrate the important impact British companies’ commitment to education and training brings to millions of people and their ability to change the world.

Ashley Goodall is a martketing consultant to Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

IBBC holds Successful Inaugural Dubai Networking Event

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has held its first major networking event in Dubai, to accommodate the demand from its members, who operate from Dubai as a regional business hub.

Vikas Handa, the IBBC UAE Representative said over the last few years UAE has emerged as the hub for companies doing business in Iraq, prompting IBBC to open a representative office in Dubai. “I am delighted with the turnout of over 90 delegates, which was more than double the expected attendance,” he said. UAE Ministry of Economy, British Consul General and oil, gas and infrastructure majors attended.

Sponsored by Amec Foster Wheeler, the event brought together leading oil, gas and power companies as well as Infrastructure corporations. Key speakers included Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager of BP Iraq and Mr Zohdee Mohd Faiz of Petronas who addressed the audience. Delegates were also generally engaged with discussing several business opportunities and the chance to learn from each other.

A key insight to emerge was from the UAE Ministry of Economy representative Miss Hindi Al Youha, who announced that an Iraqi delegation from the Iraqi industry ministry would be visiting UAE in September to follow up on collaboration between the regions.

IBBC will be holding its Autumn Conference at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina on 12 November which will be attended by International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank focusing on business in Iraq post ISIS, rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure as well as the latest opportunities in Oil & Gas sector.

Should anyone wish to attend the conference or any future IBBC events, please contact London@webuildiraq.org

CONTACT: Christophe Michels (IBBC Managing Director): 020 7222 7100;

E-mail: London@webuildiraq.org; Website: www.webuildiraq.org

If you are based in the Gulf and Dubai please contact Vikas Handa directly at: Vikas.handa@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

IBBC Networking Reception in Dubai

On Tuesday 1 August, 2017, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) will hold its first networking event in Dubai.

The event follows the appointment of Vikas Handa (pictured) as IBBC UAE representative. Vikas intends to host regular networking events in the UAE for IBBC members and companies that are interested in working in Iraq.

Since last year IBBC has committed itself to have a stronger presence in the UAE which is generally seen as the major platform for international business operating in Iraq.

IBBC participated in ADIPEC in 2016 and successfully organised its first conference in Dubai in December of the same year. The organisation is now set to further expand its activities in the United Arab Emirates to bolster trade with Iraq at this crucial time for the country and the wider region.

The event will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. It is sponsored by Amec Foster Wheeler and several IBBC members, including Petronas and BP, will make informal comments about their operations in Iraq. IBBC Deputy Chairman and Iraq Representative, Mr Rasmi Al Jabri and IBBC Managing Director, Mr Christophe Michels, will be in attendance.

Companies that are not part of IBBC but would like to learn more about business opportunities in Iraq can register their interest in attending this event by emailing london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

Ratba’a Contracting joins IBBC, seeks JVs with UK Firms

Ratba’a Contracting Company has just joined the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Ratba’a is an Iraqi Company based in Basra and Baghdad and is owned by Haj Aboud Al Khlaidy & Sons Group.

The group works to deliver projects in key sectors such as oil and gas (currently Shell, Petronas and BP are major clients), infrastructure and distinctively, the agricultural technology market for greenhouses.

Ossama A. Kadum, Managing Director, explained on a visit to the IBBC Cumberland Lodge weekend retreat that:

“Ratba’a are on the look out to collaborate with British companies with strong design and planning expertise and IOC’s for whom Ratba’a can deliver high quality engineering contracts and build projects.”

Mr Kadhum’s staff has a high commitment to training, quality assurance and engineering expertise that has enabled the company to prosper and grow through a difficult macro environment.

Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC said:

“Ratba’s strength in Iraq is their scrupulous adherence to high standards of delivery, which distinguishes them from many local contractors. High standards are something IBBC expects and admires among and for our members. We are very pleased to welcome Ratba’a on board and the value they will add to our members.”

(Source: IBBC)

Sarens delivers Oil Rig to North Rumaila

Maneuvering through narrow streets in the stifling heat, 24 Sarens employees and 5 police officers successfully delivered an oil rig to the North Rumaila Oil Field in southern Iraq. This super-giant oil field is an important resource: it contains an estimated 17 billion barrels of oil, or 12% of the country’s reserves.

Sarens performed the operation on behalf of Rumaila Operating Organization (ROO) and BP Iraq N.V.

The oil rig had a 93t mast measuring 32m x 3.6m x 7m, as well as a 147t bottom structure measuring 22m x 9m x 6m. The following equipment was deployed for its transport and installation:

  • 1 x 250 mobile crane
  • 1 x 120 mobile crane
  • 14 axle line conventional trailer
  • 9 axle line conventional trailer
  • K-25 hydraulic suspended wooden supports
  • Climbing jack system

Oil Rig 2

Transport was smooth and the client was happy with Sarens’ performance, including the use of SPMTs for the operation.

“This is the first rig move in Rumaila Oil Field via SPMT,” says branch manager and technical solutions manager Shwan Askari. “Sarens transported the total substructure about 5 kilometers, saving time and money. The entire operation was carried out safely.”

(Source: Sarens)

Genel Co-Founder Nat Rothschild Resigns

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that Nathaniel Rothschild and Simon Lockett have resigned from the Board. Accordingly, they will no longer stand for re-election at the Annual General Meeting of Genel Energy on 6 June 2017.

Rothschild, along with form BP boss Tony Hayward, created the company in 2011 when their investment company Vallares completed a reverse acquisition of Turkish Genel Enerji.

Simon Lockett was Chairman of the HSSE Committee and member of the Audit and Nomination Committees. Board Committee memberships are under review and updates will be made when appropriate.

Tony Hayward, Chairman of Genel, said:

Nat contributed greatly to Genel’s development as both a founder and subsequently a Non-Executive Director. Despite a challenging external environment, the Company has made significant progress during his involvement, and Genel has been instrumental in the development of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s oil industry.

“Simon brought with him significant experience to the Board, and made a valuable contribution in his time at Genel. We wish them both the best in their future endeavours.

(Source: Genel Energy)

Iraq Britain Business Council launches Young Executives Network

At the end of May 2017, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) launched its latest initiative: the Young Executives Network. The event was held at the IBBC offices in Westminster Tower, London, where Mr Zaid Al Elyaseri, Country Manager of BP Iraq, was the first guest speaker.

Around 30 young professionals, executives and entrepreneurs attended the meeting, which is designed to connect, support and facilitate a strong business support network for those with Iraqi descent or who have a strong interest/affiliation with Iraq.

The IBBC Young Executives Network is a platform committed to strengthening and maintaining the longstanding relationship between Iraq and Britain by bringing together the ideas and expertise of subject matter experts, IBBC members and young professionals in the UK, Iraq and internationally.

It is a diverse and pluralistic platform created to foster collaboration, encourage discourse and support the development of connections within the business, academic and cultural ecosystem of Iraq.

The Chairwoman and Chairman of the IBBC Young Executives Network, Dunya Hatem Shamkhi and Sammy Sharifi, gave an overview of the core values, benefits and mission statement of the new initiative after an introduction by Managing Director of IBBC, Christophe Michels. In his introduction, Mr Michels said that YEN “was designed to enable young executives of Iraqi descent to find a way to positively engage with their country of origin which they might find difficult to engage with otherwise”.

He added that “Zaid Elyasery was the perfect role model for the YEN, born in Baghdad but leaving Iraq as a child with his parents and only returning to the country in his thirties and under the Umbrella of BP”. He also remarked that he “could not think of better qualified chairpersons than Dunya and Sammy to lead the IBBC Young Executive Network, Dunya being an Architect and Sammy a Property Developer, they literally embodied the IBBC’s founding credo together we build Iraq”.

This was followed by a presentation from the Iraq country manager of BP, Mr Zaid Elyasery, on BP’s history of involvement in Iraq, the integration of a local Iraqi workforce into field operations and his optimism for the Young Executives Network to bring Iraqi and UK young professionals closer together and strengthen future ties between the two economies.

But more importantly, Mr Elyasery told his personal story that lead him to take the helm of BP in Iraq. Zaid inspired his audience and promised to fully support the IBBC Young Executives Network in future.

For more information on membership criteria, benefits and the objectives of the Young Executives Network, read more here, or contact: mailto:london@webuildiraq.org

Back to the Future: The Restoration of Iraq, and British Expertise

By Ashley Goodall.

Back to the future.  The restoration of Iraq and British expertise.

Iraq has been in the news for a generation and our perceptions have been coloured by conflict and the near destruction of the Middle East’s most wealthy and civilised country. In the 1970’s Iraq was not only a secular and relatively harmonious multi-cultural society, but highly educated, enormously wealthy and a centre for cultural tourism.

While the media is focussed on the awful impact of IS, and the conflict in Mosul is still raging, it’s fair to say large swathes of the country, especially the South, have been free from conflict and are relatively peaceful. Indeed, the conduct and effectiveness of the Iraqi army has given hope to a peaceful aftermath in Mosul and Anbar province, with prospects for an end to IS and reconciliation with the Sunni groups in the west.

Today, similar conditions exist for a return to that wealth and civilisation- as the country comes together, Daesh are being seen off, the oil price is rising, the IMF and ISF are loaning the country $14bn for infrastructure, and educated expat entrepreneurs are beginning to return home with investment and know how.

Now that the UK is going global we should consider Iraq a strong business opportunity. Iraq is open for Investment, from the most basic Infrastructure: roads, rail, ports, airports and water, to new private housing, schools and universities, with Iraq’s abundant energy, oil, gas and petrochemical industries, to professional services and cultural tourism. Iraq is effectively virgin territory for investors, construction and professional and telco and cultural tourism services alike – in fact, all the things the UK excels in.

The picture for British industry is even stronger when we recognise British companies already play a leading role in the business ecology: Shell and BP are key players in the economy and offer an umbrella for British engineering companies; Eversheds, EY and PWC provide legal and accountancy services to our companies and Standard Chartered are there to service our finances.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) with its long term and trusted relationships in senior government circles can also guide and assist members on political issues and through its extended membership there is a wealth of knowledge to assist new members in doing business in Iraq.

Tawfiq Tabbaa, Managing Partner of Eversheds Iraq, has seen a 25 percent increase in business, and the prospects of acceleration as international business moves back to Iraq, including a budegoning tech sector and a requirement for professional services to service international and local companies.

Alistair Kett, a Partner at PWC, observes:

“To the casual observer, any headlines relating to Iraq will be dominated by the ongoing defeat of Daesh and the associated albeit complex security picture. A closer look, however, reveals a country that has started a huge transformation. With significant financing available for huge infrastructure projects and many recognised organisations already embedded in their design and delivery the economic and commercial potential of this market is clearly shifting quickly.”

Mohammed Al Charchafchi, Chairman of Zain Iraq, indicates that:

The Iraqi economy is recovering and is projected to grow at 7 percent in the next few years, one of the highest growth rates in the world, this also applies on the GDP per capita and the contribution of non-oil revenue to the GDP of the country. The growth is mainly driven by the increased production of oil, inflow of FDI, structural reforms by the government and implementation of the IMF terms.

And IBBC new member GE has recently won a $1.4-billion contract to build new electric power stations. Frederic Ribieras, VP Global Growth says:

“GE just signed several new contracts worth a total of $1.4 billion with the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity to add a further 2,000 MW via gas turbines, that drastically increases supply to Iraq’s grid. Thanks to GE’s global reach and relationships with various financing institutions and export credit agencies, GE also has been able to set up some $2 billion in credit to support the projects. This will enable the Iraqi government to improve its power supply without short-circuiting its finances.”

As if that is not bright enough the Chinese intend to bring the New Silk road (OBOR) and its investment train through northern Iraq to provide access to China and the West, for Iraq’s petrochemical industries. And the Iraqis are surprisingly loyal to the UK.

So we see an immediate future where Iraq begins to re-take its place in the league of wealthier nations, keen to expand consumer and professional services, fuelled by oil and petrochemical wealth and servicing an educated and capable population with a government willing to reform and invest.

It’s time to go back to the future and back to Iraq with British expertise and investment.

Ashley Goodall is a consultant at the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Interview with Zaid Elyaseri, Iraq Country Manager, BP Iraq

The CWC Group’s Director, Nawar Abdulhadi interviews Mr Zaid Elyaseri, Iraq Country Manager, BP Iraq ahead of the 11th edition of the Iraq Petroleum Conference in May.

Mr Elyaseri shares with us his experience working in the Rumaila oilfield, how BP is optimising and innovating in the current market and his outlook for the future of the industry in the country:

Nawar Abdulhadi: Why is Iraq such an important market for the Oil & Gas industry?

Zaid Elyaseri: As well as being the fourth largest oil-producing country in the world, Iraq’s reservoirs harbours approximately 145 billion of oil reserves, so the country today is clearly an important market for the oil and gas industry and how the world meets its energy needs.

Moreover, with OPEC’s recent decision to curtail oil production supply, there is now clearly an emphasis on extracting oil that delivers values for money for both national governments and IOCs.

In the case of the Rumaila oilfield – which accounts for over a third of Iraq’s total oil production – the lifting cost per barrel is relatively low, making Rumaila’s oil production among the country and the world’s most competitive oilfields. So, despite its many challenges and because of this access to prolific and low-cost oil-production, Iraq is likely to remain a key player in the international oil market.

 

Nawar Abdulhadi: How does the Government of Iraq and the oil and gas industry work together to drive innovation?

Zaid Elyaseri: Innovation manifests itself in different ways. And in times of austerity the industry in Iraq has had to learn to work smarter.

In the face of a deep operational budget cut, at Rumaila we’ve had to reassess the way we work across the operation. We’ve had to look at where we could optimize processes – for example we now take a lot less time to drill a new well, to put on production and to complete a workover. Innovation at Rumaila has been about doing the same job better, in less time and for less money. I’d add that in many ways, the greatest innovations take place out on the field: the daily jobs that maintain and maximise production in what is largely a brownfield operation.