Construction Starts at 1.6 GW Power Plant in Anbar

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has laid the foundation stone for a new power station in the Al-Furat district of Anbar Governorate.

According to a statement from the Media Office of the Prime Minister, the total capacity of the plant is 1,642 megawatts, at a cost of one billion dollars, and the project will take 3 years to complete.

The project consists of four GT26 gas turbine units [from GE], with a unit capacity of 273 megawatts, and two steam units with a capacity of 275 megawatts.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

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New Oil Finds reported in Iraq’s Anbar Province

By John Lee.

The Governor of Anbar, Ali Farhan (pictured), has reportedly announced new oil discoveries in the province.

According to the state-controlled Iraqi News Agency (INA), the finds are in the Nukhaib and Tharthar areas.

Farhan is quoted as saying that, "the local government in Anbar worked to prepare the atmosphere for oil exploration and provided the security effort for companies in the province," expressing his hope that, "the Ministry of Oil will take steps to complete oil explorations after canceling the contract with the Korean company."

There was no mention of the size of the fields, and the news is not yet carried on the Ministry of Oil website.

(Source: INA)

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Iraq Clamps Down on Oil Smugglers

By John Lee.

As part of the national campaign to eliminate the smuggling of oil derivatives, five vehicles prepared for smuggling were seized and four people were arrested in Salah al-Din Governorate.

Four large storage tanks were also seized at the smugglers' base.

A further four premises were seized in raids in Nineveh, Anbar, Babil and Basra, resulting in the arrest of five suspects and the seizure of large-capacity iron tanks loaded with 20 petroleum products, in addition to caravans and other materials used in the process of smuggling and illegal trade.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Enhanced Access to Primary Health Services in Anbar

Japan and UNOPS Enhanced Access to Primary Health Services in Anbar Governorate

With the continued support from the Government of Japan, UNOPS handed over Al Adel Primary Health Center in Anbar, along with other six primary health centers in Al Ramadi, which were rehabilitated under the "Restoration of Access to Urgent Primary Health Services in Anbar Governorate" project.

In addition to the rehabilitation works, the project procured 25 pieces of medical equipment, 248 pieces of furniture, and more than 2000 supplies.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Dr. Wisam Salah, Deputy Director of General Office in the Directorate of Health in Anbar, said:

"The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq came at a time when the Government of Iraq was working to improve the living conditions of its citizens, who in previous years suffered from lack of basic services and infrastructure, especially health services, due to instability, conflict and many challenges. Not only this project improves the health services for the people in Al Ramadi, but also contributes to reducing the pressure on the hospitals designated for treatment of COVID-19 and severe cases."

H.E. Mr. SUZUKI Kotaro, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, congratulated on the completion of Al Adel Primary Health Center and said:

"The mission and activities of medical professionals dedicated to protecting people's health and saving lives in the most difficult situation should be lauded". He went on to say: "I would like to express my gratitude and respect to the people of UNOPS, who play indispensable roles in these operations".

Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram, the Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Amman, said:

"Thanks to the generous funding from the Government of Japan, UNOPS worked hand in hand with the Directorate of Health in Anbar to serve approximately 123,000 beneficiaries and make a difference in the health sector for the people of Iraq. UNOPS remains committed to supporting our Iraqi partners and the people of Iraq in their efforts to address the challenges in the health sector, and enhance their resilience to counter the future challenges."

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the health conditions in Iraq and increased the need to enhance the health centers' infrastructure and to improve their capacities in the provision of inclusive healthcare to the Iraqi people. The project supported the health sector through enhancing access for all to medical services in support of the COVID-19 response in the targeted areas of Anbar Governorate.

Through gender-sensitive rehabilitation of primary health centers, and the provision of medical equipment, supplies and furniture, the project contributed to improving the overall living conditions of the beneficiaries including vulnerable and marginalised populations, returnees, and internally displaced persons.

The project supported Sustainable Development Goal 3 - "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages".

(Source: UN)

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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)

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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)

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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)