Iraq in talks on Gas Exploration in Western Desert

By John Lee.

Iraq's Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail has said that the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) has opened a dialogue about gas exploration in the Western Desert in Anbar Governorate.

The company involved was not named, but was described as "one of the major international companies".

The Minister said Iraq is keen to attract investments, expertise and advanced global technology to explore for hydrocarbons, especially gas, and to work to increase national production of "free gas" in addition to investing associated gas.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

The post Iraq in talks on Gas Exploration in Western Desert first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum Launched; New Projects Announced

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi received a delegation of Saudi officials and business people in Baghdad on Monday.

Among the visitors was the Saudi Minister of Commerce, Acting Minister of Media, and Chairman of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi.

The delegation included businessmen representing 22 Saudi companies.

During the meeting, they discussed issues of common interest between the two countries, and ways to support and enhance them in all fields.

The two sides also signed an agreement to establish a metal silo to store wheat in Al-Diwaniya province, and a hospital in Al-Saqlawiya, Anbar province.

(Source: SPA)

The post Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum Launched; New Projects Announced first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Sterilizing the Streets: Preventing Spread of COVID-19

Sterilizing the streets: Local Peace Committees in Anbar join forces to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Eleven Local Peace Committees have taken the initiative to protect their communities from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by sterilizing public spaces in Iraq's Anbar governorate.

Markets, streets, residential areas, schools, government institutions, mosques, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in major areas in Anbar are being disinfected by the committees through trained response teams in coordination with Anbar's Defense, Health and Municipalities directorates.

Established in 2018 by UNDP Iraq to promote peace and stability post-ISIL, the committees are made up of security officers, local authority personnel, civil society organization representatives and tribal sheikhs.

Each committee is led by their local Mayor, who, since the onset of the pandemic, has been working to instruct the public to adhere to health protection measures, and have shifted the committees' focus to managing the outbreak.

Mayor of Habbaniyah district, Ali Dawood Suleiman, discusses the measures taking place in his local community. "We carried out many campaigns, including visits to hospitals and emergency rooms late at night to monitor the readiness of medical personnel to receive urgent cases," he said.

"We will also monitor prices in the markets in coordination with security agencies to ensure the price of goods does not rise," he added.

While the Anbar governorate is currently under curfew, basic food shops are open to residents during defined time periods. Local Peace Committee members in the areas of Ramadi, Habbaniyah, Fallujah, Amiriyat al-Samoud, Qarma, Rawa, Anah, Haditha, Rutba, Tuaim, and Heet continue to implement sterilization and communication campaigns to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

(Source: UN)

Sanctioned Russian Firm may Develop Iraq’s Block 17

By John Lee.

Russia’s Stroytransgaz has signed a preliminary contract for the exploration, development and production of Block 17, in Anbar province.

At a signing ceremony in Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Oil Minister Thamer Abbas Ghadhban said that preliminary studies and information indicate the existence of oil reserves ranging between 2 and 4 billion barrels oil equivalent of gas. The block measures 12,000 square kilometers.

The Director General of Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Department, Abdul Mahdi Al-Amidi, said that the contract commits the company to build a residential complex in Anbar province in addition to the development of infrastructure and services for the province, with an estimated value of $100 million dollars.

Stroytransgaz was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2014 in relation to Russian activity in Ukraine.

The deal needs final approval by Iraq’s Council of Ministers.

(Sources: Iraqi Oil Ministry, OFAC)

IOM assists Thousands Displaced from West Anbar

With some 8,500 people displaced over the past two weeks amid Iraq’s military operations to retake Anbar province, the United Nations migration agency announced today that it is stepping up provision of life-saving assistance.

“People newly displaced from their homes often arrive dehydrated, suffering from hunger and thirst,” said Dr. Hamed Amro, in a news release while assisting recently internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rutba.

While military operations to retake west Anbar were officially launched on 19 September, many families – often children, women and older people – walk long distances, some for several days, often in intense heat, to reach safe areas.

“Many require psychosocial support and need medical care. Some have chronic illness and exacerbated conditions due to long term lack of care, and others suffer from malnutrition; we have also received a few trauma cases,” Dr. Amro stressed.

From early January through 2 October, IOM’s Emergency Tracking has identified a total of 54,546 displaced individuals from west Anbar, particularly from Ana, Al Ka’im and Ra’ua districts.

An IOM update shows that some 85 per cent of them transited through Kilo 18 screening site and are displaced within Anbar governorate. By district, Falluja hosts 25,300 individuals, Ramadi another 15,100 and Heet 3,100. At the same time, 3,600 sought safety in the Baghdad governorate and 4,400 in the Erbil governorate.

Since January, 32,886 of the total 54,546 IDPs are currently registered in camps, and 21,660 in out-of-camp locations – with 21,132 in private settings and 528 in critical shelter arrangements.

In Anbar, IOM medical staff are providing immediate assistance to nearly 1,000 IDPs per week through four Mobile Medical Teams working in greatest-need locations, including Falluja city, Ameriyat al Fallujah, Heet and Garma. All are identified in cooperation with Anbar Directorate of Health, part of Iraq’s Ministry of Health.

In the past two weeks, IOM has worked closely with Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement in distributing 795 non-food item kits, including a plastic cool box and rechargeable fan, to families in Al Habanyah – in addition to 500 kits previously distributed to those not living in camps in Heet. Additional distributions are scheduled for the coming week.

“Life in Al-Ka’im city, under the control of ISIL, was extremely difficult,” said Ahmed, who, according to IOM, was displaced with his family of six to Haditha district, Anbar, in a perilous and long journey. “I hired smugglers to help my wife, four children, my mother and myself to escape. They drove us early morning through unpaved roads. Now we are displaced and living in an unfinished building; we have spent all our limited savings and have no money to cover our needs. The supplies we received today will help us get through this difficult time,” Ahmed told IOM staff at an aid distribution.

(Source: United Nations News Centre)