United Kingdom

UK Confirms Support for Iraq

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi received a phone call from British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday evening, during which they discussed strengthening collaboration between their two countries, and Iraq’s Rebuilding Conference which is to be held soon in Kuwait.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Johnson confirmed the UK’s support for Iraq in the fields of investment, private sector development, and the involvement of British investment companies in Iraq.

Mr. Johnson renewed British Prime Minister Teresa May’s invitation for the Prime Minister to visit United Kingdom.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Rotork to supply Karbala Refinery Project

By John Lee.

British-based engineering company Rotork is to supply the Karbala Refinery project in Iraq.

According to a press release from the company, Rotork will provide large quantities of IQ3 non-intrusive intelligent electric valve actuators, designed specifically for automated flow control systems in hazardous environments.

Due to open in 2020, the State Company of Oil Projects’ (SCOP) Karbala Refinery will have a refining capacity of 140,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd). Production will meet the latest international standards, serving the growing domestic demand for oil in Iraq and reducing the current level of refined product imports.

(Source: Rotork)

IBBC welcomes Guests at House of Lords

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its bi-annual Council Meeting on 30 January, followed by a Reception & Dinner for IBBC members and guests.

Both the meeting and the reception and dinner were hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The Meeting was Chaired by IBBC’s Deputy Chairman Alistair Kett of PwC and discussed at length the current state of Iraq and presented over 30 members present with a detailed brief of events in the last six months.

The Council also discussed future events and the progress of IBBC’s Sector Tables. Several exciting new developments were reported, including the launch of a new Iraq Britain Business Council website, which is expected to go live in the coming weeks and the development of the Young Executives Network.

The Council Meeting was followed by a Reception & Dinner hosted by Baroness Nicholson in the House of Lords, where the 80 guests present were privileged to hear from Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade & Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth and Minister of State at the Department for International Development.

After dinner, Ambassador Jon Wilks, her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq, gave an address to members, which highlighted his vision for UK-Iraq relations. The Ambassador spoke at length about the need for a coordinated and fruitful relationship between business communities of both countries to enhance the encouraging signs of stability witnessed in the last six months since the defeat of Daesh.

The Ambassador also touched upon the critical need to redevelop infrastructure in the newly liberated areas and the pivotal role of the private sector to facilitate further economic growth. Ambassador Wilks reaffirmed the Embassy’s longstanding commitment to promote trade and investment with the support of organisations such as the Iraq Britain Business Council.

Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC said:

“2017 has been an exceptional year for IBBC both in the volume and quality of attendees to our conferences in UK and Dubai, the very well attended and successful trade missions to Baghdad and Basrah and for the number of International and Iraqi companies that have joined our network.

“IBBC has welcomed Chevron, Al Burhan, Shamara, Ratba’a and Al Bilal groups, Leicester and Northampton University, Serco, Rolls Royce, MenziesAviation, GulfTek and Al Jaber Company. All in all we are seeing confidence and opportunity return to Iraq with overall economic perspectives for the country being at its best since 2010 – 2011.”

IBBC and its members are determined to build on these foundations to continue building economic and political ties, industry capabilities, knowledge sharing for UK, Iraqi and international businesses sharing the same high values and standards.

(Source: IBBC)

$210m UK Support for GE Power Deal

The UK’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Rona Fairhead (pictured), has announced $210.8 million in support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) for the second project agreed under the UK-Iraq infrastructure Memorandum of Understanding.

The contracts with the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq, valued at $220 million, will see GE Global Services UK upgrade and repair existing turbines across 10 sites to deliver an improved, more secure power source. The project will sustain 6.5 Gigawatts of generating capacity, powering millions of homes across Iraq.

This is the second project supported under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 2017 between the UK and Iraq Governments, in which UK Export Finance (UKEF) affirmed its commitment to support Iraq’s infrastructure development.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said:

“I’m delighted that UK Export Finance will be supporting this project under the recently signed infrastructure Memorandum of Understanding between our two governments. This project demonstrates the UK’s commitment to supporting Iraq’s continued economic development, and through Government support we are laying the groundwork for future UK-Iraq trade.”

GE Global Services UK will deploy Advanced Gas Path (AGP) solutions and controls software, a technology that will improve gas turbine performance and enable power plants in the Baghdad, Karbala, Kadisiyah, Babil, Najaf and Basrah regions to operate more dynamically.

UKEF, in partnership with the Swiss export credit agency SERV, will provide the Government of Iraq with $210.8 million in support for the project. UKEF will provide $105.4 million of this support as a direct loan, with the remaining $105.4 million given in the form of a guarantee on a loan from JP Morgan Chase, for which SERV will reinsure UKEF.

This is the second of three phases of a wider turbine maintenance programme as part of the Iraq Power Up Program, where GE Global Service UK has been contracted to deliver in the period from 2017 to 2019. It follows support for a GE and Enka UK contract to construct two new power stations, agreed last year.

(Source: UKEF)

UK brings UNMAS Contribution to $20m

The UK Government has donated an additional 1 million GBP (1.3 million USD) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), increasing the UK total contribution to 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD).

The additional funding will boost UNMAS support to stabilization efforts by increasing survey and clearance of critical infrastructure in liberated areas. This is important before rehabilitation can commence and crucial for the safe, dignified and voluntary returns of displaced people.

The contribution will be used to deploy additional assets to Mosul during the months of January, February and March, in line with emergency operational needs. UNMAS began survey and clearance operations in Mosul’s Old City in late November 2017.

UNMAS efforts to ensure a coordinated stabilization response into Mosul have accelerated activities. Following planning meetings between the Government, UNMAS, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNEP, and UNESCO, UNMAS has now provided survey and clearance teams in five districts in the Old City.

UNMAS works in close collaboration with the Directorate for Mine Action and Iraqi Security Forces to complement the clearance work that has already taken place by the Government of Iraq following the liberation of Mosul.

Close collaboration with UNDP to provide survey and clearance capacities, as well as threat assessments, are an integral part of the Funding Facility for Stabilization’s (FFS) rapid needs assessment process in Mosul.

Between 1 December and 16 December 2017, UNMAS received 139 additional tasks from FFS, conducting survey and clearance in water treatment plants, hospitals and education centers. The additional funds will go towards continuing this response.

Jon Wilks, British Ambassador to Iraq, said:

“The survey and clearance work carried out by UNMAS is vital to the safety of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. This latest contribution demonstrates the UK’s enduring commitment to UNMAS’ work and to supporting humanitarian and stabilisation efforts in Iraq.”

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq, stated:

“Continuous support from the United Kingdom allows UNMAS to further extend its support and activities to enable stabilization priorities and humanitarian activities, encouraging the safe return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to areas previously occupied by ISIL.”

Thanks to the generous contribution from the UK Government, UNMAS’ work has been made possible.

UNMAS will continue ensuring that explosive hazards are cleared in support of stabilization efforts and enabling access for humanitarian activities across Iraq. The total contribution of 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD) is supporting this life saving work in liberated areas of Anbar, Salah ah-Din, Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates.

(Source: United Nations)

Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) visits Baghdad

On 21st and 22nd January the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Deputy Chairman Mr Rasmi Al Jabri and Managing Director Mr Christophe Michels visited Baghdad.

They met with Dr Abdulkariem Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission to discuss the upcoming Spring Conference in London on 24 April and plans for a conference in Baghdad. Outstanding issues on behalf of IBBC members were also raised.

A similar meeting was held with Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, which is playing the leading role at the ‘Supporting Private Sector’ day of the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, to be held in Kuwait on 13 February.

Additional meetings were held with IBBC members BP, Najaf Chamber of Commerce, Baghdad Chamber of Commerce and the International Islamic Bank, which hosted the IBBC visitors for Lunch at the famous Alwiyah Club.

IBBC also met with Jaafar Al Hamdani, Chairman of the Iraqi Federation of Chambers of Commerce to discuss the ongoing relationship with the federation and to make plans for a conference in Baghdad.

‎IBBC is greatful to Al Burhan Group for generously hosting it’s delegates at the Al Burhan Centre close to Baghdad Airport during their stay.

(Source: IBBC)

BP to Boost Oil Production at Kirkuk Oilfields

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding with BP to rehabilitate the oil fields in Kirkuk governorate.

Michael Townsend, CEO of BP, said that the company is going to prepare the necessary studies to increase production at the Kirkuk oil fields to 750,000 bpd.

The two men inspected the Kirkuk fields on Thursday and ordered a speeding-up of rehabilitation operations.

(Source: Oil Ministry)

Prince Charles: AMAR gives us Reason to have Faith in Humanity

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

HRH The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the work of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Addressing the celebration in London’s Lancaster House on Wednesday, Prince Charles said:

Today is an opportunity to honour the work of the remarkable AMAR teams … whose professionalism has delivered extraordinary outcomes in health and education for so many people over these twenty-five years.

“Each and every one of them, whether they work in Iraq or in another part of the Middle East, or in London or Washington, should feel deeply proud of all that AMAR has achieved. So too, should the many businesses and commercial entities – and in particular the Iraq Britain Business Council [IBBC] – whose magnificent support over the years has made all of this work possible.

“If I may, I would also like to pay a special tribute to Baroness Nicholson whose indefatigable leadership and extraordinary professionalism has been so crucially important to this endeavour for so many years.

He continued:

“AMAR has given us all reason to have faith in humanity. It has saved countless lives, created hope from despair and achieved nothing short of miracles.”

AMAR thanked the Prince for his wonderful support of the organisation since its founding, and in particular as its Patron for the past thirteen years.

Please help ensure Iraq’s children have the childhoods they deserve — support AMAR’s work today: https://appeal.amarfoundation.org/

(Sources: AMAR International Charitable Foundation, Clarence House)

UK to Invest $13m in Iraqi Counter-Terrorism

On 29 November 2017 the British Prime Minister became the first major foreign leader to visit Iraq since the fall of Mosul, announcing the UK’s commitment to addressing the evolving threat from Daesh and countering the dispersal of foreign fighters as Daesh is squeezed out of the battlefield in Syria and Iraq.

Speaking to British troops in Iraq, the Prime Minister said that our military success against Daesh means they are increasingly losing control of their territory and resources, but in response to our military success, Daesh has become more diffuse, organic and networked.

So the Prime Minister has committed to three specific things to counter the evolving Daesh threat and to manage the risk of foreign fighters returning to Europe:

  • First, we will deepen our counter-terrorism relationship with Iraq. The UK will invest £10m over the next three years to build Iraq’s counter-terrorism capability to meet the new threat. This means more personnel working with Government of Iraq counter-terrorism agencies. And it means deploying law enforcement resources to develop effective judicial pathways. This will allow us to spot and respond to terrorist threats against Iraq and ourselves, in partnership with Iraqi security forces.
  • Second, we will work with partners across the region to develop border infrastructure, watch-lists and biometric capabilities, to counter foreign fighter dispersal. This will help ensure foreign fighters are identified, stopped, and disrupted before they can harm people, and so we can manage the return of women and children.
  • Third, we will do more to tackle terrorist abuse of the internet. The Prime Minister has advocated, most recently at the UN General Assembly with President Macron, Prime Minister Gentiloni and 70 other countries, for the major communications companies to live up to their responsibility, and remove content within one to two hours of release. The companies have begun to act: they have set up the industry led Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism but they need to go further and faster in identifying and removing content and ultimately preventing it from going up in the first place.

The Prime Minister has also announced today that the UK will continue to support Iraqi defence and security through the provision of officer training, including places for Iraqi students on high profile UK courses at the Military Colleges and the Defence Academy, and UK training teams continuing to develop Iraqi trainers, supporting them in the delivery of courses on topics such as Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices, combat medicine, military planning, logistics, and force protection.

The Prime Minister visited British, Coalition and Iraqi troops at Taji earlier today and congratulated them on the success of the counter Daesh campaign. Around 80 British troops are based at Taji, and the Prime Minister had the opportunity to see them alongside their Coalition counterparts, training the Iraqi security forces.

Speaking in Iraq, the Prime Minister said:

Daesh’s ability to spread propaganda at speed drew terrorists to Iraq and Syria from around the world, contributing to the death of many thousands of innocent people and the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure.

“Military success against Daesh means they are increasingly losing control of the territory, resources and population that allowed them to be a uniquely dangerous threat to Iraq, the region and Europe.

“But we have always expected that the threat Daesh posed would evolve. In response to our military success, Daesh has become more diffuse, organic and networked. The UK is committed not only to defeating Daesh militarily but also to countering the dispersal of foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria.

(Source: Office of the British Prime Minister)

Restrata awarded Licence for GPS Tracking Systems in Iraq

By John Lee.

Restrata has been awarded a National Communications and Media Commission (CMC) licence to sell and maintain GPS tracking systems in Iraq.

The CMC Licence for GPS Tracking is an Iraq Government mandate and is being enforced locally through inspection teams running compliance checks on both vendors of GPS tracking systems, and their end users.

A Restrata spokesman said of the award:

“We praise the Iraq Government for taking a proactive stand on GPS Tracking standards and for championing the highest levels of compliance.”

Founded in 2001, Restrata is a British owned group with headquarters in the United Arab Emirates.

(Source: Restrata)