First National Conference to Address Early Marriage in Iraq

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC), in partnership with the Women Empowerment Department (WED), and support from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Canada, organised a two-day conference to address early marriage in Iraq.

The conference, which took place on 11-12 June, recognised the alarming situation with early marriage which has increased from %21.7 to %25.5 for the past ten years in Iraq.

The event brought together government entities, local authorities, religious and tribal leaders, civil society organisations, young people, academia, and representatives of the international and donor community to discuss the root causes of early marriage, its impact and solutions to address it.

Representatives of the government of Iraq and the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, ambassadors, tribal and religious leaders, academia and experts shared profound evidence on the devastating consequences of early marriage on the socio-economic progress, psychological and physical health of young girls and boys, families, communities and society at large.

UNFPA Representative of Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, said:

"Tribal communities and young people affected by early marriage have asked us to raise our voice and advocate more for women and girls' rights and empowerment and take a step forward in addressing early marriage in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region. This event shows the criticality of reducing early marriage to fulfill the rights of girls and women, and accelerate achievement of SDGs in Iraq."

The conference participants discussed and elaborated recommendations that will be taken by the Women Empowerment Directorate under the leadership of the Secretary-General of the COMSEC to support the local authorities to reduce and prevent early marriage in Iraq.

The Early Marriage is #NotNormal also includes a social media campaign and a partnership with Rakuten's Viber to promote the end of early marriage.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

(Sources: Relief Web, UN)

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US Law Firm Awarded for Iraq Advisory Role

By John Lee.

New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has won the Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year award at Law.com International's Middle East Legal Awards 2022.

According to a press release from the firm, it "was recognized for advising on Iraq's gas growth integrated project, one of the largest projects ever in Iraq."

The firm represented the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and two Iraqi state-owned companies, Basra Oil Company (BOC) and South Gas Company (SGC), in the major $27-billion investment project with France's TotalEnergies.

Cleary partner Andrew Bernstein and associate Jad Nasr were mentioned as part of the team advising the Iraqi government in a Law.com International article about the deal.

The firm had previously advised Iraq's oil ministry on a $17.2 billion deal with Shell and Mitsubishi to develop the infrastructure required to process natural gas in the southern part of Iraq.

(Source: Cleary Gottlieb)

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Iraqi Min of Oil Denies that TotalEnergies Deal is Stalled

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has denied reports that its multi-billion-dollar deal with France's TotalEnergies has stalled amid disputes over terms, and that it risks being scrapped by the next government.

On Monday, Reuters cited sources at the Ministry, and other oil industry sources, as saying that the deal was mired in disputes.

In a statement, the Ministry expressed its astonishment that the media reports include what it calls "inaccurate information."

(Sources: Ministry of Oil, Reuters)

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French Oil Consultancy Wins Iraq Contract

By John Lee.

French-based petroleum consultancy Beicip Franlab has signed a deal to provide consultancy services to the Iraqi Oil Ministry's Reservoirs & Fields Development Directorate.

The Minister of Oil and President of Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, said that Franlab will give advice that can be used to develop the oil sector, stating that the contract will help the Ministry of Oil and the oil companies to make the right decisions to develop the oil reservoirs in the interest of the national economy and the development of the oil and gas industry in the country.

The French ambassador to Baghdad, Eric Chevalier, said the signing marks a new stage in the development of relations with Iraq in the field of oil, gas and energy.

The Representative of Beicip Franlab, Thierry Le Maux, said the deal will help extend the life of the oil and gas fields.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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INOC to be Partner in TotalEnergies Basra Projects

By John Lee.

The Iraqi cabinet has approved a plan for the newly-formed Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) to be a financial partner with TotalEnergies in its projects in Basra.

It said it will support INOC to "maximize revenues and financial returns to the general budget."

In September, TotalEnergies signed a number of major agreements covering several projects in the Basra region, designed to enhance the development of Iraq's natural resources to improve the country's electricity supply.

These agreements include:

  • The construction of a new gas gathering network and treatment units to supply the local power stations, with TotalEnergies also bringing its expertise to optimize the oil and gas production of the Ratawi field, by building and operating new capacities.
  • The construction of a large-scale seawater treatment unit to increase water injection capacities in southern Iraq fields without increasing water withdrawals as the country is currently facing a water-stress situation. This water injection is required to maintain pressure in several fields and as such will help optimizing the production of the natural resources in the Basra region.
  • The construction and operation of a photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 1 GWp to supply electricity to the grid in the Basra region.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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TotalEnergies signs $10bn New Deals in Iraq

TotalEnergies, the Iraqi Ministries for oil and electricity, and the country's National Investment Commission (NIC) have signed, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Iraq, major agreements covering several projects in the Basra region, designed to enhance the development of Iraq's natural resources to improve the country's electricity supply.

Iraq, a country rich in natural resources, is indeed experiencing electricity shortages while it faces a sharp increase in demand from the population.

TotalEnergies, with the support of the Iraqi authorities, on the one hand will invest in installations to recover gas that is being flared on three oil fields and as such supply gas to 1,5 GW of power generation capacity in a first phase growing to 3 GW in a second phase, and, on the other hand, will also develop 1 GWac of solar electricity generation capacity to supply the Basra regional grid.

These agreements include:

  • The construction of a new gas gathering network and treatment units to supply the local power stations, with TotalEnergies also bringing its expertise to optimize the oil and gas production of the Ratawi field, by building and operating new capacities.
  • The construction of a large-scale seawater treatment unit to increase water injection capacities in southern Iraq fields without increasing water withdrawals as the country is currently facing a water-stress situation. This water injection is required to maintain pressure in several fields and as such will help optimizing the production of the natural resources in the Basra region.
  • The construction and operation of a photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 1 GWp to supply electricity to the grid in the Basra region.

These projects represent a total investment of approximately $10 billion (100% share).

Patrick Pouyanné, TotalEnergies' Chairman and CEO, said:

"These agreements signal our return through the front door to Iraq, the country where our Company was born in 1924. Our ambition is to assist Iraq in building a more sustainable future by developing access to electricity for its people through a more sustainable use of the country's natural resources such as: reduction of gas flaring that generates air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, water resource management and development of solar energy.

"This project perfectly illustrates the new sustainable development model of TotalEnergies, a multi-energy Company which supports producing countries in their energy transition by combining the production of natural gas and solar energy to meet the growing demand for electricity. It also demonstrates how TotalEnergies can leverage its unique position in the Middle East, a region where the lowest-cost hydrocarbons are produced, to gain access to large-scale renewable projects."

(Sources: TotalEnergies, Ministry of Oil)

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AA to distribute Laboratoires Gilbert in Iraq

Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) member AA for Global Trading and Commercial Agencies has announced that it has started importing the products of Laboratoires Gilbert of France to Iraq, as per an agreement signed in 2020.

Based in France's Normandy region, Laboratoires Gilbert manufactures and markets 30 brands and 1,900 references such as Physiodose, Physiolac, Dolodent, Luc and Léa, Comptoir Aroma, Algotherm, Laino, Hei Poa, and Comptoir du Bain among others.

Currently, AA is the commercial agent of several brands including Metrex Research (USA), Laboratoires Gilbert (France) and Palmer's (USA).

(Source: IBBC)

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Iraqi Cabinet Approves TotalEnergies’ Projects

By John Lee.

The Iraqi cabinet has approved the agreement between the Ministry of Oil and French company TotalEnergies to implement four major energy projects in the country:

  1. Plants to collect and refine associated natural gas at the fields of Artawi [Ratawi], West Qurna 2, Majnoon, Tuba [Subba] and Lahais [Luhais]. This will include a Central Gas Complex at Artawi;
  2. Development of the Artawi field;
  3. The integrated seawater project [Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP)?], which the ministry has been trying to implement for more than ten years; and,
  4. A 1,000MW solar energy plant.

The project was originally agreed in March.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Iraq Borrows $360m to Reduce Gas Flaring

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing in Basrah Gas Company (BGC) to support one of the largest gas flaring reduction projects in the world, helping to improve energy access, prevent associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and support a more resilient, sustainable energy sector in Iraq.

BGC is an Iraqi joint venture created to treat and process associated gas that would otherwise be flared. The project is expected to increase BGC's processing capacity, thereby avoiding more unnecessary flaring and associated GHG emissions by around 10 million tons per annum. It will support Iraq's transition to a lower carbon path and improve access to a domestic energy source, helping the country meet its growing power needs.

IFC is the lead arranger of the five-year, $360 million loan to BGC.

Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Minister of Oil for Iraq, said:

"Signing the loan agreement reinforces the collective efforts to increase investment in associated gas flaring reduction using world-class technologies. It is in line with our objectives of turning flared gas into cleaner valuable energy and reducing the impact of the Green House Gas emissions on the environment.

"This loan opens new horizons for cooperation and collaboration that serve common purposes and interests, reiterating Iraq's commitment to increasing investment in associated gas flaring reduction and to achieving the objectives set by the Paris Agreement."

Malcolm Mayes, BGC Managing Director, said:

"We are delighted to have successfully signed this loan with IFC, the first loan facility of its kind in the energy sector in Iraq-a milestone to be proud of.

"The agreement demonstrates the strength of Iraqi companies and their ability to attract funding and trust from international banks. The intent of this five-year loan is to support BGC's growth project and turn the otherwise wasted flared gas into much needed energy for the country. Our strategy is in alignment with the government of Iraq's vision to power Iraqi homes with electricity and create a more sustainable energy industry."

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, said:

"This pioneering project has the potential to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, including lower GHG emissions and increased fiscal revenues, and will improve energy access and lower costs for Iraqi citizens.

"The project comes after years of hard work and strong cooperation by all parties involved. We hope that it will send a strong signal to other investors and help drive more private investments to tackle climate change and support inclusive growth in Iraq."

IFC's investment comprises a $137.76 million loan for IFC's own account, a $180 million loan in which participations were syndicated to eight international banks (Bank of China, Citi, Deutsche Bank AG, Industrial Commercial Bank of China, Natixis, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank), and a $42.24 million loan through IFC's Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a platform that allows institutional investors to participate in IFC's loan portfolio. The loan is without recourse to or guarantees from any of the shareholders.

Iraq is endowed with significant reserves of natural gas, mainly produced as a byproduct of legacy oil extraction. However, in the absence of adequate infrastructure to capture and process it, about 70 percent of all natural gas produced in the country is flared. Capturing associated gas for subsequent use can help Iraq reduce overall emissions.

The project benefits from long-standing engagements of the World Bank Group in Iraq's energy sector. Iraq joined the Global Gas Flaring Reduction initiative in 2011 and committed in 2013 to eliminate all routine natural gas flaring by 2030.

(Sources: IFC, Iraqi Govt)

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