Iraqi PM lays Foundation Stone for $4bn Refinery Project

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has laid the foundation stone for the South Refineries Company (SRC)'s new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) complex at Basrah Refinery.

The project will be built by Japan's JGC Corporation, and will increase refinery capacity by 55,000 barrels per day (bpd).

It will be funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

More information here, here and here.

(Sources: Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

The post Iraqi PM lays Foundation Stone for $4bn Refinery Project first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Japan Invests Additional $600k for Life-Saving Services in Iraq

Japan Invests Additional US$ 607,500 for Life-Saving Maternal and Protection Services

The Government of Japan approved an additional US$607,500 to support the continuation of reproductive health and gender-based violence-related services provided by UNFPA.

In 2020, Japan contributed US$ 1.3 Million to increase the utilisation, access, and continuation of life-saving, survivor-centred, multi-sectoral gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health (SRH) services in Baghdad, Salahuddin, Anbar, and Nineveh governorates of Iraq.

The new funding will ensure that people in need, particularly returnees in the targeted areas, receive comprehensive reproductive health and gender-based violence services while supporting the prevention of COVID-19 through raising awareness of the most vulnerable communities including the people with disabilities and through the provision of Personal Protection Equipment to services providers.

His Excellency Mr Suzuki Kotaro (pictured), Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated: "Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting over US$50 million including this project as assistance for women and girls."

"With this package, the total amount of Japan's assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$590 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure the protection of women and girls among internally displaced persons, returnee and host community", he added.

"The complexity of challenges faced by the people of Iraq, particularly women and girls, has grown due to COVID-19. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing gaps in social systems. UNFPA strives to ensure that vulnerable women and girls receive a comprehensive package of services, a continuum of care, as well as timely referrals," said Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative to Iraq.

Japan has been a UNFPA strategic partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$12,459,585 over the last six years ensuring most vulnerable women and girls affected by the crisis across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

UNFPA is thankful for the Government of Japan for their commitment to the reproductive rights of women and girls and ending gender-based violence.

(Source: UN)

The post Japan Invests Additional $600k for Life-Saving Services in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

China to Buy of Exxon’s stake in West Qurna?

By John Lee.

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are reportedly considering acquiring Exxon Mobil's remaining stake in Iraq's West Qurna 1 oilfield.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the stake could fetch more than $500 million.

ExxonMobil originally had a 60% stake in the field, but sold 25% to PetroChina and 10% to Pertamina in November 2013. (Shell originally had a 15% stake, but sold it to CIECO West Qurna Limited, a subsidiary of Japan's Itochu Corporation, in 2018 for $406 million.)

Itochu's website lists the current interests as: ExxonMobil (US (Lead Contractor), 32.7%; Petrochina (China) 32.7%; Itochu (Japan) 19.6%; Pertamina (Indonesia) 10.0%; Oil Exploration Company (Iraqi state-owned company) 5.0%.

More here.

(Source: Bloomberg)

The post China to Buy of Exxon's stake in West Qurna? first appeared on Iraq Business News.

JGC signs Contract for Basra Refinery Upgrade

By John Lee.

Yesterday (Thursday), the South Refineries Company (SRC) and Iraq's Ministry of Oil (MOO) signed the contract with Japan's JGC Corporation to start construction of a new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Complex at Basrah Refinery.

The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan project.

The contract ceremony was successfully held at the Governmental Palace with the presence of H.E. Mr. Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismael, Minister of Oil, H.E. Dr. Eng. Khaled Battal Najim Abdullah Al-Jujifi, Minister of Planning, Mr. Husam Hussein Weli, Director General, SRC, Mr. Shu Nakagawa, Charge d'Affaires ad interim, Embassy of Japan in Iraq, Mr. Yutaka Yamazaki, President of JGC Corporation, and Mr. Kei Toyama, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office.  At the sideline of the ceremony, H.E. Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi hosted the meeting with the participants.

For this project named "Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (I)(II)", JICA has so far concluded three loan agreements for:

  1. engineering services loan in the amount of JPY 2,079 million [$20 million];
  2. first tranche loan in the amount of JPY 42,435 million [$403 million]; and,
  3. second tranche loan of JPY 110,000 million [$1.04 billion].

This project is the largest Japanese ODA loan project in Iraq. Under the assistance of JICA's concessional loans (low interest rate at 0.20% and the repayment period of 40 years including 10-year grace period). It is expected to be completed in 2025.

According to a statement from JICA, the project to construct Iraq's first-ever FCC Complex will unleash the potential of Iraq's refining sector to produce the larger volume of the high-value outputs, promote the transfer of refining technologies from Japan and help save valuable foreign currencies to import huge amount of fuels.

It says the new plant will also reduce sulfur content in the oil products in accordance with the international environmental standards, adding:

"The project is expected to pave the way for energizing private sector involvement in the downstream of Iraq's energy industry and provide economic and employment opportunities for the people of Iraq, especially in Basrah.

"JICA looks forward to the collaborative efforts made by Iraqi government and the contractor to overcome every challenge to be encountered during project implementation, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  JICA reaffirms its commitment to making every possible means to support in delivering the project benefits and realizing its effectiveness."

(Source: JICA)

The post JGC signs Contract for Basra Refinery Upgrade first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Japanese Firm awarded $3.7bn Iraq Deal

JGC Holdings Corporation announced today that JGC Corporation, which operates the overseas engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) business of the JGC Group, has been received the Letter of Award for the Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project for an Iraqi oil refining company under the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. Details of the project are as follows.

 
1. Client South Refineries Company

(Oil refining company under the Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

2. Construction location Basrah, Republic of Iraq

(Approx. 550 km SE of the capital of Baghdad)

3. Primary equipment(processing abilities) Fluid catalytic cracking unit (34,500 barrels/day),
vacuum distillation unit (55,000 barrels/day),
diesel desulfurization unit (40,000 barrels/day), etc.
4. Contract services Engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning
5. Contract type Lump sum contract
6. Order amount Approx. 400 billion JPY
7. Scheduled completion 2025

Iraq is one of the world's leading oil-producing countries, with a confirmed crude oil reserve of 145 billion barrels and a daily crude oil production of 4.41 million barrels. However, the two refineries currently in operation were constructed in the 1970s and their production capacity has decreased due to war damage and deterioration. Unable to meet domestic demand for petroleum products, Iraq has to import petroleum products such as gasoline.

This upgrading of the Basrah refinery will newly install, on land adjacent to the existing Basrah refinery, fluid catalytic cracking unit, vacuum distillation unit, and diesel desulfurization unit, etc., thereby increasing production to 19,000 barrels/day of gasoline and 36,000 barrels/day of diesel fuel, making it possible to reduce the gap in supply and demand for petroleum products.

In addition, the petroleum products produced at the modernized refinery will meet international environmental standards and it is expected that they will contribute to reducing the environmental impact. This project is positioned as spearheading the modernization and sophistication of Iraq's oil refining sector.

Funding for the project will be procured through Japanese ODA loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and is the largest-scale reconstruction assistance from Japan since the 2003 Iraq War.

In carrying out this project, the Group plans to conduct skills training for more than 1,000 Iraqis and to hire approximately 7,000 skilled Iraqi workers. Furthermore, it is expected that more than 2,000 operating personnel jobs will be created after the project's completion, which will contribute to solving the unemployment problem in Iraq

The Group completed a power station reconstruction project in Iraq in 2013, and this is the Group's second project in Iraq. The Group will contribute to the reconstruction and economic development of Iraq through the successful completion of this project.

(Source: JGC)

Japan Prioritizes Iraq’s Recovery from COVID-19

Japan prioritizes Iraq's health and recovery from COVID-19 in new contribution

The Government of Japan has committed US$2.26 million to support the Government of Iraq's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be used to purchase critical medical equipment such as ventilators, as well as assist with socio-economic needs and impact assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies for Iraq.

The activities fall under UNDP Iraq's overall COVID-19 response plan which is administered through the Funding Facility for Stabilization and also includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, building isolation units for infected patients and promoting social cohesion among communities.

UNDP Iraq's Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

"The emergence of COVID-19 has added yet another layer of crisis upon Iraq's already-fragile state, crippling its healthcare system, the economy and people's livelihoods. This is deeply concerning especially for vulnerable communities that inevitably bear the brunt of such shocks.

"We're extremely grateful for Japan's support which is critical to not only ensuring patients receive the necessary medical care quickly and efficiently, but also to help build Iraq's roadmap for long-term recovery post-COVID-19."

The Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, His Excellency Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto stated:

"Given that COVID-19 is raging across the world, it is crucial for the international community to make concerted efforts, and I hope that the Japan's assistance through UNDP will help fight against COVID-19 and address socio-economic impact.

"Under such challenging circumstances, I wish to engage in and strengthen a close cooperation with the new Government of Iraq on a wide range of issues."

Japan is one of UNDP Iraq's key partners, providing more than $86 million since 2014 for stabilization, community security and livelihood activities.

(Source: UNDP)

UNHCR Welcomes Japan’s contribution to COVID-19 Responses in Iraq

UNHCR welcomes the Government of Japan's contribution towards COVID-19 responses in Iraq

UNHCR welcomes the new contribution of USD 1.5 Million from the Government of Japan towards the response to COVID-19 for internally displaced persons, returnees and refugees in Iraq.

The new funding comes at a critical time when many communities, especially the most vulnerable, have been affected due to COVID-19 restrictions. This funding is supporting timely awareness-raising campaigns on the transmission and prevention of COVID-19 in addressing the needs of vulnerable displaced families, as well as ensuring access to basic hygiene items and protective gear for medical staff in primary health centres and authorities at border points.

Also, through this generous contribution UNHCR is supporting the Directorate of Health in Duhok and Erbil governorates to provide training on case definition and detection and management of suspected cases of COVID-19.

The Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, His Excellency Mr. HASHIMOTO Naofumi (pictured) stated "Given that COVID-19 is raging across the world, it is crucial for the international community to make concerted efforts, and I hope that the Japan's assistance through UNHCR would help prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Iraq."

He added "Under such challenging circumstances, I wish to engage in and strengthen a close cooperation with the new Government of Iraq in a wide range of issues".

The UNHCR Acting Representative in Iraq, Ms. Philippa Candler, commented, "during this global crisis, we have been all affected. The effect on vulnerable communities is even more acute. This generous and timely contribution will assist in our efforts in the response of COVID-19. Ensuring the health of communities is part and parcel of protection."

In response to the current situation, UNHCR has established procedures to continue providing services and maintain presence in the field. Under the current context, most basic services continue to function in camps and in areas with a high density of displaced populations. UNHCR also adapted its work modalities to ensure assistance continues to be delivered remotely including legal counselling, protection monitoring among other activities while respecting social distancing.

In response to the COVID-19 global humanitarian appeal, Japan has generously donated USD 23.9 million to urgently assist displaced communities around the world.

The Government of Japan has been one of UNHCR's largest donors and supporters of many years.

(Source: UN)

Japan Supporting Women and Girls in Iraq

The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 1.3 million towards UNFPA interventions for integrated lifesaving reproductive health and gender-based violence services to vulnerable women and girls in five governorates across Iraq.

UNFPA has been adopting an integrated approach to enable women and girls to receive a comprehensive package of services, continuum of care, as well as timely referrals.

The Japanese contribution will ensure that 40,000 women and girls, out of whom 25,000 are pregnant women, from the IDP, returnee, and refugees in the humanitarian settings in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din governorates, have access to prevention and response to reproductive health and gender-based violence services which include awareness-raising sessions and case management, as well as consultations and treatment.

In addition, the new commitment will enable UNFPA to improve the capacity of national service providers, especially female caregivers, to deliver high-quality assistance, including psychosocial and referral services in the targeted five governorates.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, said:

"We are thankful for Japan's trust in UNFPA programme in Iraq ... Women and girls continue to suffer from the impact of the humanitarian crisis.

"Thanks to Japan's trust, we will ensure that not only we provide the muchneeded reproductive health and gender-based violence services but we strengthen the existing national capacities to build the resilience of the system."

His Excellency Mr Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated:

"Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 41 million including this project as assistance for women and girls.

"With this package, the total amount of Japan's assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$ 540 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure protection of women and girls among IDP, returnee and refugees."

Japan has been a UNFPA long-standing partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$ 11,852,085 over the last five years ensuring women and girls across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

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

(Source: UN)

Oil Production Falls at Garraf Field

By John Lee.

Production at the Garraf [Gharraf] oil field in southern Iraq has reportedly fallen to an average of around 93,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January.

According to S&P Global Platts, officials from Japan Petroleum Exploration (JAPEX) said on Monday that the drop was due to delays in drilling works.

It added that takeholders remained committed to increasing output to 230,000 bpd by the end of 2020.

Japex, which has a 35-percent stake in the field, issued results for the nine months to the end of December on Monday – see here and here.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

Petrel: “Interest is Reviving in Iraq”

By John Lee.

In its preliminary results for 2018, Petrel Resources gave the following update on its activities in Iraq:

We had high hopes of commercial success in Iraq. It has the best oil geology on the planet with drilling success over 90% and a $2 to 4 a barrel production cost. But the political risk offsets all of this.

Petrel first entered Iraq in 1997 and had initial success in obtaining a large exploration block in the Western Desert between Baghdad and Amman Jordan. We were seeking development rights to any one of the many proven but undeveloped oil fields but we needed to establish our credentials. We undertook exploration work but were frustrated by sanctions which stopped us from drilling.

We continued involvement with the Iraqi Oil Ministry and undertook extensive technical work, with Itochu of Japan on the Merjan oil field.

Post 2003 we were awarded a development contract on the Subba and Luhais oil fields. Bureaucratic interference and payment problems forced Petrel to sell out in 2010.

We maintained our interest and appointed an Iraqi Arman Kayablian to work in Iraq. We purchased a 20% stake in Amira Hydrocarbon which had joint operations with Oryx Petroleum, in the Wasit province.  The joint venture failed to obtain a licence. In 2018 the agreement was dissolved and some 20 million Petrel shares returned to the company.

We have recently appointed Riadh Mahmoud Hameed to the Petrel board. Riadh worked as project co-ordinator for six years for Petrel in Iraq.

Activities are normalising in Iraq. There are many oil projects in Iraq which need to be developed. Petrel will be making a case to be part of the development.

Interest is reviving in Iraq. We now have the people to seek out operations on the ground.  

(Source: Petrel Resources)