Siemens working with Iraq on Hydrogen Production

By John Lee.

As part of its efforts to switch to clean and renewable energy, Iraq's Ministry of Oil has said it is working with Siemens to produce hydrogen.

The German company will provide advanced technologies and equipment for the project, and set up workshops to support the initiative.

The first of these workshops was held on Monday.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Honeywell to Modernize Iraqi Refinery

By John Lee.

Honeywell has announced that the Lanaz refinery (pictured) in Erbil will use its technology to upgrade its operations so it can produce more cleaner-burning transportation fuels.

It says the project marks the first use of its UOP modular technology in Iraq, and will help Lanaz comply with increasingly strict specifications for fuel products.

The Lanaz Refinery was built in 2008, and processes about 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

(Source: Honeywell)

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A Christmas Gift for Iraqi Children

A message from the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF):

Dear friends of Iraqi children,

Need a holiday gift idea for family, friends, employees? Need to increase your year-end tax-deductible donations? We can help!

Make a gift in honor of someone special, and we will send you our two beautiful digital ICF Christmas cards, which you can share by email, or you can print out at home.

These cards are a special token for your gift, designed specially for ICF this year. Read more about our Christmas cards below, and please consider making a year-end contribution here:

Iraqi Children Foundation Special Christmas Cards for 2021:

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Jiyad: IEITI Annual Reports Continue, but Changes are Needed

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

IEITI Annual Reports Continue but Changes in Form, Quality and Substance are Crucial and Needed

Iraq Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (IEITI) issued its 2018 annual report and, currently, is processing its combined annual report, i.e., for 2019 and 2020 in a single issue.

Releasing the annual reports, though with two year time-lag, is undoubtedly commendable efforts. But the qualitative aspects and lack of impacts of these reports have been constantly identified with flaws and, thus, cause much concerns and raise very serious questions.

Consequently call upon IEITI and EITI is long overdue to undertake thorough revision aiming at making such annual reports different, better, relevant and helpful in enhancing real and effective transparency in the extractive industry in Iraq, more than what has been the case so far.

IEITI issued its tenth annual report, covering 2018, by end March 2021. 2018 preliminary report was delivered on 5 February 2020 and the final version was supposed to be released by latest end of 2020. Due to Covid-19 effect an extension of three months was granted by the International Secretariat of EITI- Oslo; it was release by 20 March 2021.

Currently, IEITI is processing its combined annual report, i.e., for 2019 and 2020 in a single issue; the preliminary report was presented to the MSG on September 2021 and the final report is scheduled for publication on March 2022.

Davinci Consulting / Geneva Group international (DCGGI) was contracted as the Independent Administrator- IP (according to EITI guidelines) to produce the annual reports for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

I reviewed all previous nine IEITI annual reports, and this current review is a continuation of my constant follow-up and monitoring of IEITI activities and my database relating to this topic.

This review covers first IEITI 2018 report followed by brief notes on the preliminary report of the forthcoming 2019/2020 combine report and ends with a few concluding remarks

IEITI 2018 Report

The 2018 Report comprises seven sections with executive summary and list for terms and abbreviations. It is a rather long report, 131 pages, and has 25 files (accessed through different web-links)

After reading the report I can make the following brief remarks on this report.

The executive summary, comparative to previous annual reports, is poor and  limited in coverage, conceptually ambiguous, misleading and, though it is short, its' data was presented twice in tabular and graphic forms; totally unnecessary.

Except a few substantive improvements much of the contents of the main report were repetition from previous reports and sometimes using the usual copy, modify and paste- CMP method.

The web-links to the above mentioned 25 files indicate those files are either prepared or provided by the related entities, mostly Iraqi entities. Some of the files are in MS Excel with many sheets of varying size, while others are in MS Word.

The consultant, i.e., the IP did not analyse or provide explanatory notes or reconciliation of the contents of most of these files. A random check on the contents of some of these files raises many questions on the validity, accuracy and relevance of their contents. IP left the burden of assessing and using these files on the readers. And since no comments on or revision of the annual report were posted on IEITI website, it seems the MSG members, probably did not read thoroughly the report itself and most or all these 25 files!!!

The reports uses excessively and unjustifiable both tabulations and graphs even for simple two items; this lengthened the report (page wise) and increase its size (bitwise). Moreover, some of the graphs are confused and confusing.

All tables in the reports haves no number and no title and some of them are not professionally done. No references were provided for these tables and thus, it is impossible to check their accuracy or validate their contents.

There are many methodological and conceptual flaws, which could cause serious misunderstanding; below are a few examples.

Neither all activities of the Ministry of Oil nor all activities of the Ministry of Industry and Minerals are "extractive"!!!

Similarly, "associated gas", "free gas", "dome gas" all are "natural gas"; but the distinction between them is vital when one considers their data and how it is used. Moreover the term "gas burnt non-investable" is technically wrong and misleading as it justifies flaring!!!!  Also there is difference between "liquid gas" and LPG!!

There is no "Amman" oil in SOMO's export price setting mechanism for the Asian market. This error has been repeated in previous annual reports due to CMP method; but, why SOMO representative in the MSG did not correct this apparent repetitive flaw!!

Also SOMO do not use "ICE Brent" or "NYMEX WTI" as marker crudes in its price formula for European and Americas markets.

SOMO is not "The revenue recipient government agency" for "Crude oil exports" and not recipient government agency for "the value of oil loaded by IOCs operating within the licensing rounds".!!!!

Moreover, IOBs do not make direct payment of export revenues to DFI.

When it comes to SOMO, the IP seems to be totally confused in understanding the role of SOMO and the flowchart of oil export revenues, or different parts of the report were written by different people without coordination among them!!!

The focus on "Budget allocation" and "actual transfer" regarding petrodollar and governorate development funds is misleading because it ignores the chronic problems regarding actual spending and how it was done; as the experience since 2010 demonstrates.

There is no West Qurna oilfield; what there are WQ1 and WQ2 oilfields and each is contracted to very different consortiums of IOCs, offered under different bid rounds and thus having different technical service contracts.

Moreover, Majnoon oilfield has been under the National Efforts since mid-2018.

There are no reconciliation done for "Quantities and Values of Crude Oil, Oil Products and Gas provide to Refineries, Oil Products Distribution Company and Ministry of Electricity during" between related entities and MoE.

Occidental (Oxy) relinquished its participation interest in Zubair oilfields in 2016; so why it lifted more than 7.6 million barrels in 2018!!

I have computed that average oil price for "Crude oil lifted by the licensing round companies in exchange for cost recovery and remuneration fees entitled to them" was $64.29426 a barrel, while the average oil price for "Exported crude oil to International Oil Buyers" was $65.73435 a barrel; IP provides no explanation or clarification for this price differentials or aware of it at all??

The report provides no information or data on DFI but refers to 18 page report, so who supposed to do the needed reconciliation comparative to SOMO or IOBs data!!??

The Report says "The revenues of crude oil exports in both the federal Iraq and the Kurdistan region are considered material revenues as their contribution to the total revenues of the extraction sector exceeds the materiality threshold of 1%." This is a manifestation of gross confusion and total misunderstanding, on part of the IP, of what "materiality threshold of 1%" is all about and what the purpose behind it.

The percentage of unpaid CIT by IOCs amounts to 19% of due CIT; this huge difference should have been investigated, specified and explained in details by the IP, but did not do it convincingly.

Total oil production was reported without making specific reference to the effect of the natural decline on base-line production particularly for the six oilfields contacted under first bid round. Ignoring this fact is erroneous and causes serious miscalculation especially with regards to remuneration fees and related CIT.

The "the value of internal service payments made by the MoF through SOMO to the North Oil Company to cover the cost of production that is exported" does not correspond to oil exported by this company compared to other NOCs such as Missan OC and ThiQar OC; IP provides no clarification or explanation!!

There are more important comments, but I think the above provides enough indication on the quality of the report.

IEITI Forthcoming Joint 2019/2020 Annual Report

Currently, IEITI is processing its combined annual report, i.e., for 2019 and 2020 in a single issue; the preliminary report (99 pages) was presented on September 2021 and the final report is scheduled for publication on March 2022.

The structure of the preliminary report is, in substance, similar to that for 2018, with one important difference or improvement, i.e., MSG remarks on 2019/20 report.

Item twelve of the preliminary report provide 44 different remarks made by MSG members; some of the remarks are broad and generic, while others are specific and to the point.

It remains to be seen whether and how IP addresses, these remarks as well as my notes mentioned in the previous part above, in its final joint report due in March 2022.

As there are only three months left to deadline for releasing the 2019/2020 annual report, it might be a farfetched hope for a well improved report.

Concluding remarks

  • By end March 2022 IEITI have had issued twelve annual reports; on the face of it this is impressive record. IEITI should have accumulated enough human and systemic professional capacity at its National Secretariat to have active, proactive and impacting contribution in preparing the annual reports and to ensure its quality control;
  • It is about time that IEITI and EITI (IS-Oslo) take a stock of the experience so far and revise the structure, contents, methodology and the process for future annual reports that should focus on recent issues and their future implications more than the repetition of a distant past.
  • Future reports should focus on providing detailed and verified data relating to the operational aspects of bid rounds field development in terms of reconciled costs (Capex and Opex), payments, remuneration fees, taxes-CIT among others more than repetition of their contracts terms that have been known since 2009/2010.
  • Comparative data for field manged by national efforts and those manged by IOCs should be provided in as much details as possible and reconciled accordingly.
  • The same applies to different SOMO activities according to a well-articulated matrix comprising different types of crude for different market configurations and related data reconciliation framework. Records of actual oil export price setting during the year should be provide instead of repeating SOMO's standard document.
  • Corruption has become very serious complex problem in the country, and much of it is in the extractive activities; yet not a single word on corruption was mentioned in IEITI Final Annual Report 2018 or in the preliminary report for 2018/2020 report. Future IEITI should provide sufficient cover on this issue.
  • All contracts signed under the bid rounds have mandatory obligations to undertake at least two Environmental Impact Assessments-EIAs. IEITI annual report should call upon MoO and related IOCs to undertake and publish these EIAs.
  • All contracts signed under the bid rounds have non-refundable contribution to TTS Fund which has a total annual allocation that exceeds $55 million. IEITI annual report should provide comprehensive reconciled data on the annual utilisation for such funding.
  • A "Validation" mission, as per EITI framework, is scheduled for July 2022; it could be an opportunity to address the necessity and feasibility to improve IEITI future annual reports as proposed here. Unless such change and improvement take place, future IEITI reports will be released unnoticed, with no real impacts and become unnecessary formality.

Click here to download the full report in pdf format.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq's Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad's biography here.

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How Corruption Erodes Healthcare in Iraq

By Mac Skelton and Abdulameer Mohsin Hussein, for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Medicine Under Fire - How Corruption Erodes Healthcare in Iraq

The April and July 2021 hospital fires in Nasiriya and Baghdad left hundreds dead, adding insult to injury for a medical system that had already buckled under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Why did these deadly fires transpire?

In the media, journalists highlighted a lengthy series of contributing factors leading to the tragedy, including flimsy and highly flammable construction materials, the explosion of mismanaged oxygen tanks, electrical shorts, and a lack of fire safety equipment.

Underlying these defects, ordinary Iraqis pointed to a deeper cause: pervasive corruption in the healthcare sector. Corruption, they alleged, explained why it was that an oil-rich country had not built and maintained safe and secure health facilities.

This preliminary paper looks to the tragic phenomenon of mass-casualty hospital fires in Iraq's COVID-19 wards to kickstart a larger policy-oriented conversation on the political drivers, key mechanisms, and human costs of corruption in the healthcare sector.

Broadly speaking, the research contends that political parties in control of the healthcare system compromise the safety and efficacy of both public and private hospitals by systematically evading quality controls and maximizing profits from medical supply chains at all costs.

Click here to download the full report.

(Source: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung)

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Unaoil Bribery Conviction Quashed

By John Lee.

Ziad Akle, Unaoil's territory manager for Iraq, has had his conviction for bribery quashed by the UK's Court of Appeal today (Friday).

He had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment in July 2020 having been found guilty of paying over $500,000 in bribes to secure a $55-million contract to supply offshore mooring buoys in Iraq.

The court found that the refusal by Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to provide key documents to the defence was "a serious failure by the SFO to comply with their duty," adding that "that failure was particularly regrettable given that some of the documents had a clear potential to embarrass the SFO in their prosecution of this case."

Paul Bond, a former senior sales manager at SBM Offshore (SBM), which was a client of Unaoil, had his request for leave to appeal against his sentence denied.

The full judgement can be read here.

 More here, here and here.

(Source: England and Wales Court of Appeal - Criminal Division)

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KRG PM meets President of the Iraq Britain Business Council

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, on Saturday met Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Prime Minister Barzani highlighted the reforms of the ninth cabinet, its bid to diversify the economy and crucially to make the Kurdistan Region a focal point for business.

Baroness Nicholson gave a briefing on the council's work, especially its last conference which was held in Dubai and which concentrated on developing UK, Iraq, and Kurdistan Region trade relations.

(Source: KRG)

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IBBC Dubai Autumn Conference fields Top Speakers in All Sectors

As a measure of confidence in the global and Iraqi economy, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is seeing a marked upswing in quality and quantity of speakers at the Autumn Conference at the Address hotel, Dubai 22nd November.

The topic, in line with COP26 and the new energy horizon, is one of sustainability. Not only is this a key question for the oil and gas sector in Iraq, but also for the diversification of the economy and sustainable finances and industrial sectors within the country. With the hope of formation of a new government and stronger oil prices and government revenues, this could be described as a critical juncture in the evolution of Iraq.

Will the Government make the bold reform steps its people require? Can the economy diversify and enable the private sector to flourish? How will Iraq reform its energy sector and inflect towards renewable power, and develop its agricultural intentions at a time of water scarcity? How best to train and employ the many young people in the short term and how can the digital transformation of Iraq be delivered.

The Oil Minister H.E Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael intends to attend, along with Dr Salem Chalabi President of TBI, the Iraqi Ambassador to UAE, the British Ambassador to Iraq, and HM Consul General to Middle East. There is a very strong showing among IBBC members, leading IOC's including BP, TotalEnergies, and Basra Gas Company, and major suppliers to the Energy Sector such as Hydro-C and Oilserv and the ability to meet their CEO's at the event.

Professor Frank Gunter will give his insightful analysis of the economic outlook for Iraq and the steps to reform it must take to create a sustainable economy.

Finance too is fielding heavyweight speakers from IFC, Standard Chartered, Sardar Group (Principal Sponsors), Emirates credit insurance and a representative Director General of the Finance Ministry. Of particular interest are companies dedicated to supporting reform in Iraq, notably City and Guilds via GEMs and Stirling Education who are setting up international level qualifications for Iraqi companies for the first time, to raise standards and opportunities for Iraqi companies and youth, and SAP who are dedicated to the digital transformation of Iraq and will be outlining their vision and practical steps to achieve this. Both skills and digital applications are key drivers of a sustainable economy and take centre stage in this respect.

On the Industry Panel we see Dahlia Energy, Sardar Group, Al Busttan and Khudairi discussing the diversification of the economy and how they can help sustain momentum into the future, with their forward-looking businesses.

In parallel the online Tech conference is addressing data and its benefit to Government, business and the citizen. Sponsored by SAP, who will lead on the benefits of data in digital transformation, complimented by UK's GDS, Mastercard on smart cities, UK's Agri-epicentre and British Water and Serco; all leaders in their fields and passionate about the benefits of technology and data in delivering sustainable future economies.

For companies looking to meet the main business leaders in Iraq, this really is a conference to attend. Not only to meet Government officials and ministers, but also the leading supply chain organisations and IOC's and to learn about the future opportunities and likely evolution of Iraq's economy. To this end there is a pre-conference reception the night before at the Iraqi pavilion Dubai Expo 2020, and many opportunities to interact with delegates during lunch and coffee breaks, as well as the ability to sign up to view the conference online.

For more information and the latest speaker line up- please go to: IBBC Autumn Conference - IBBC (iraqbritainbusiness.org)

About the sponsors:

Saradar Group: Principal sponsors

With more than 30 years of rich experience in the automotive sector, Sardar Group became the leading group in the Automotive Sector in Iraq. Their intimate knowledge of the Iraqi market helped import, stock and sell the right brands, types, and models, while their excellent reputation, track record and credibility have helped grow the business times many over since 2003.

Since 2005 with a desire to move from Automobile Trading to providing its customers with all-round Automotive Solutions, Sardar Group started utilizing the synergies of its existing operations to diversify its automotive business activities to include Trading, Leasing of Vehicles, Equipment & Machinery and most importantly Aftersales Service Support.

Today, Sardar Group represents world-renowned automotive brands and heavy construction equipment & machinery exemplified in the following brands:

  • Toyota & Hino (in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation)
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover
  • Polaris
  • Doosan
  • TOTO

Hydro-C : Gold Sponsors

Hydro-C is catalysing the transition of fossil fuel-based energy to renewables by means of introducing sustainable green solutions into the industry to decarbonise operations and projects, and maintain profitable output. The company plan to focus on Solar, Wind and Hydro powers as a source of energy to achieve net Zero with energy providers and IOCs by 2050 in Iraq. By trading the UK innovative solutions and replicating successful projects which can cut on emissions and support sustainable growth. The company focus is on investing in the young generation, education, new technologies and innovations to support this transition.

SAP: Gold Sponsors

SAP is one of the world's leading producers of software for the management of business processes, developing solutions that facilitate effective data processing and information flow across organizations. SAP helps companies and organizations of all sizes and industries run their businesses profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people's lives. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world's transaction revenue touches an SAP system. SAP's machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers' businesses into intelligent enterprises. Their end-to-end suite of applications and services enables its customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a different

City&Guilds/ GEMS: Gold Sponsors

City and Guilds was Founded in 1878 and Granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1900.

Global leader in skills development. 4 million people each year use City and Guilds to develop skills that help them into a job, develop on that job and prepare for their next job. Global Benchmark operating in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE

Vocational Education / City and Guilds Models in Iraq:

  • To Partner with Training Institutions for delivery of City and Guilds qualifications - pathway to work programmes with curricula developed by employers.
  • Accredit employers' own training so employees can obtain internationally recognised qualifications.
  • Partner with Iraqi investors to set up Private Technical and Vocational Institutions that deliver City and Guild qualifications.

Operational in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and exploring a project in Najaf.

Serco: Silver Sponsors

Serco is managing Air Traffic control systems in Iraq and internationally. In the Middle East, Serco employs more than 4,500 people across four countries including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq

Basra Gateway Terminal: Bronze Sponsors

Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) is Iraq's premier container and multi-purpose cargo handling facility. It is situated in Umm Qasr, 50 km from Basra and 500 km from Baghdad.

Operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), BGT's team of high-performing Iraqi and International port professionals deliver customer-focused, high productivity and congestion-free port services to Iraq's economy.

Bell Finance LLC: Bronze Sponsors

Bell Finance Limited Liability Company was created in the US State of Delaware in July 2019 to build upon the Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation's lending and educational activities in Iraq since 2005 (www.immdf.org). Bell will continue IMMDF's lending activities by co-financing with Iraqi banks qualifying private sector projects that generate employment and economic growth in Iraq, incorporating Iraqi private sector companies as equity partners. Bell will also continue and expand IMMDF's educational activities in Iraq.

(Source: IBBC)

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Iraq Ratifies Paris Agreement on Climate Change

By John Lee.

Iraq has officially ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Agreement will enter into force for Iraq on 1st December 2021.

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change, adopted in 2015. It aims to keep the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celcius.

The official notification from the UN can be read here.

(Source: UN)

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UK SFO reclaims £100,000 from Unaoil Executive

Following a successful investigation and conviction of four individuals for corruption at Unaoil, the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has recovered criminal gains of almost £100,000 from a former senior executive.

The full amount must now be paid into the public purse within 28 days.

Earlier this year, the SFO was praised by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) for its work to recover the proceeds of crime, with cases "handled proactively and efficiently by dedicated and skilled staff."

This latest recovery means the SFO's confiscation of illicit gains since 2017 stands at well over £1.2 billion. Other notable successes include the £1.2 million secured from the luxury West London property of corrupt Brazilian agent Julio Faerman and the £2 million recouped from the sale of two properties and a cache of jewellery linked to suspected Birmingham fraudster Nisar Afzal.

Commenting on today's court order, Emma Luxton, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the SFO, said: "The SFO relentlessly pursues those who line their own pockets with illicit gains and we have a proud record of recovering funds for victims and for the UK taxpayer."

Stephen Whiteley, a former territory manager for Unaoil, was found guilty in July 2020 of paying over $500,000 in bribes to win a $55 million contract for Unaoil to supply oil infrastructure in Iraq. The SFO secured the convictions against Whiteley and three other senior oil executives in an investigation which uncovered schemes to pay a total of $17 million in bribes to win $1.7 billion in contracts for Unaoil in Iraq.

In October 2021, the SFO announced that Petrofac Limited had been ordered to pay £77 million after it admitted failing to prevent senior executives at Petrofac from systematically paying £32 million in bribes to win over £2.6 billion in oil and gas contracts in the Middle East. It was the third set of convictions in the case after David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021. The SFO's Petrofac investigation originated from its investigation into Unaoil.

The SFO's Proceeds of Crime Division continues to investigate the criminal gains of the convicted Unaoil executives.

(Source: UK SFO)

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