$100m to Support COVID-19 Vaccination in Iraq

By John Lee.

The World Bank has approved a new US$100 million project to scale up Iraq's health sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iraq COVID-19 Vaccination Project will support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations to priority population groups and strengthen the institutional systems needed to enable the safe and effective distribution and use of COVID-19 vaccine at scale.

It aims to help the country procure COVID-19 vaccines, improve its capacity to manage health care waste, and raise public awareness on the importance of vaccination against the virus.

The project builds on existing support the World Bank and other development partners have given the Government of Iraq for its COVID-19 response under the Iraq Recovery, Reform, and Reconstruction Fund (I3RF) and the Emergency Operation for Development Project.

Iraq has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, recording almost 2 million COVID-19 cases and more than 21,000 deaths to date.

The government began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in March 2021 and has been able to increase coverage rapidly in the past month. More than 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with about 11% of the population having received the first dose and 7% fully immunized with two doses.

A comprehensive, well-coordinated vaccination campaign is key to a country's future recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its economy and public health. The new project will play a critical role in ensuring affordable, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in Iraq, extending coverage to 3 million of the country's population.

"Improved access to vaccination is needed to limit the spread of the disease and lessen the burden on the already weak health system in Iraq," said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. "The new project will support Iraq in its acquisition and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, which are essential to protect lives, enable the country to reopen safely, and kickstart economic recovery."

The Iraq COVID-19 Vaccination Project falls under the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Program (SPRP), using a Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA) that was approved by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors in April 2020, as well as additional financing agreed to last October. It includes a I3RF grant for vaccine delivery.

The I3RF was founded in partnership with the Government of Iraq in 2018 and is funded by Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Sweden. It provides a platform both for financing and strategic dialogue for development and reconstruction, with a strong focus on targeted national reforms and public and private investment in socio-economic recovery and reconstruction. The fund seeks to be a strategic platform for development coordination and dialogue, and it aims to support the climate change agenda of the country, gender equality, peace building, and citizen engagement.

World Bank financing will complement activities conducted by other development partners, filling in critical gaps to ensure the deployment of vaccine is successful. The World Bank is committed to continue supporting Iraq's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the resilience of its health system to future shocks.

(Source: World Bank)

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Iraq Oil Exports increase in September

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced preliminary oil exports for September of 92,422,485 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.081 million barrels per day (bpd), up slightly from the 3.054 million bpd exported in August.

The exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 89,224,354 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 2,922,857 barrels. Exports to Jordan by truck totaled 275,274 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $6.771 billion at an average price of $72.612 per barrel.

August's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Iraq discusses Oil Cooperation with Azerbaijan

By John Lee.

Iraq's Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail has visited Azerbaijan to discuss cooperation between the two countries in the field of oil and gas.

Azerbaijan's Minister of Energy, Parviz Shahbazov, said it would be possible to supply Iraqi crude oil and oil products to the world market via SOCAR, the state-owned oil and gas company of Azerbaijan, adding:

"We can assess the prospects to expand energy cooperation."

The Ministers also exchanged opinions on Iraq's plans for renewable energy, and on the situation in the world energy market.

(Source: Azerbaijan Ministry of Energy)

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Iraq Finalises August Oil Exports

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced finalised oil exports for August of 94,660,239 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.054 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the 2.918 million bpd exported in July.

The exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 91,655,930 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 3,004,309 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $6.554 billion at an average price of $69.235 per barrel.

July's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Shell “in talks” to boost Iraq’s Gas Production

By John Lee.

Shell is reported to be in talks with Iraq to boost Basra Gas Company's capacity.

According to S&P Global Platts, BGC is planning to increase capacity for gas production from 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) now to 1.4 Bcf/d in two years; discussions with Shell could see that increase further to 2 Bcf/d.

A statement in May from Iraq's Ministry of Oil said that Iraq will invest $3 billion in BGC over the next five years, increasing gas production capacity from 1 Bcf/d to 1.4 Bcf/d this year, and further to 2.4 Bcf/d by 2025.

Shell is also said to be continuing negotiations with Iraq over the giant Nibras [Nebras] petrochemical plant, which was initially agreed in 2015.

More here.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

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Petrofac Shares Jump following Iraq Bribery Plea Agreement

By John Lee.

Petrofac shares closed the day up more than 26 percent on Friday, after the company announced that it has reached a plea agreement with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to bribery in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Company indicated guilty pleas to seven counts of failing to prevent former Petrofac group employees from offering or making payments to agents in relation to projects awarded between 2012 and 2015 in Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, contrary to Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010. These offers or payments were made between 2011 and 2017.

It added that all employees involved in the charges have left the business.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place at Southwark Crown Court commencing on Monday 27 September 2021. The Company will make a further announcement following sentencing or any adjournment.

In a statement to the markets, Group Chief Executive Sami Iskander said:

"With my new management team we are rebuilding the company into a new Petrofac that's relevant for the future, across both traditional and new energies, built on a foundation of the highest ethical standards."

(Sources: Petrofac, SFO)

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Iraq “the Biggest Commercial Opportunity in Petroleum Today”

By John Lee.

Petrel Resources has said that "Iraq remains the biggest commercial opportunity in petroleum today."

In the company's Interim Statement to the markets on Wednesday, Chairman David Horgan added:

"The geology is unsurpassed.  The oil market is sharply recovering.  But contracts must be updated for effective exploration and development."

"The focus is once again Iraq."

The company claims to have an interest in Iraq's Block 6 in the Western Desert, subject to ratification.

More here.

(Source: Petrel Resources)

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Baker Hughes to help Capture Gas at Iraq’s Southern Oil Fields

By John Lee.

Iraq's South Gas Company (SGC) has announced a project to capture gas at the Nasiriyah and Garraf [Gharraf] oil fields, in partnership with the American company Baker Hughes.

Instead of flaring, the gas will be used to increase electricity generation, while reducing the environmental impact of oil production.

The project will also help reduce Iraq's dependence on gas imported from Iran.

(Source:  Ministry of Oil)

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Iran “Appoints Special Envoy” on Iraq Petroleum Issues

By John Lee.

Iran's has reportedly appointed a special representative for petroleum issues involving Iraq.

According to ABNA24, Seyyed Abbas Beheshti will coordinate with the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and the Central Bank of Iran to accelerate payments of arrears.

It adds that Iraq owes Iran nearly $6 billion for imports of natural gas to produce electricity.

(Source: ABNA24)

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