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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The KRG Turns Thirty: The Future of US-Kurdish Relations (Part III)

By James Jeffrey, Matthew Amitrano and Bilal Wahab for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The KRG Turns Thirty: The Future of U.S.-Kurdish Relations in Iraq

Three experts evaluate the KRG's oil and gas industry and discuss the growing urgency of resolving its disputes with Baghdad.

Click here to see the full article and video.

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Dana Gas suspends Khor Mor Expansion after more Attacks

By John Lee.

Dana Gas has said that following the incident on the 22nd of June, two further small rockets landed within the Khor Mor Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

It says there were no injuries or damage.

In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, the company says that production operations continue as normal, however the work on the KM 250 expansion project has been temporarily suspended while security enhancements are carried out.

It adds:

"The company is closely coordinating with the KRG who along with the Iraqi government have shown strong support.

"As a response to these attacks the KRG has taken all necessary measures to enhance security measures in Khor Mor including the mobilisation of further armed forces to protect the facilities."

(Source: Dana Gas)

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KRG PM ‘deeply troubled’ by attacks on Khor Mor Oilfield

From the Kurdistan Regional Government:

Like citizens across the Kurdistan, I have been deeply troubled by the repeated terror attacks on our people and public infrastructure in recent months. The cowards behind the attacks have resorted to terror tactics because they have lost the court of public opinion in the rest of the country.

Rather than focus on the future, and economic integration to lift all of the country, lawless groups have resorted to rocket attacks on our villages and civilians.

I have spoken by phone with key political partners in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, and our friends abroad. During my call with Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi, I emphasized the need for joint Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces to fill any remaining vacuum in the disputed territories used by lawless groups to recklessly destabilize the whole of the country.

I explained to the Prime Minister that the attacks threaten the country's electricity provision and the investment climate for all the country, and I have urged him to take public, practical measures to rein in the groups.

I have also directed both Ministers of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior to take all measures necessary to protect critical public infrastructure and oil and gas installations. As part of the plan, we have agreed to reinforce the area with additional forces. More measures will be reviewed in the coming days.

Last night, I also spoke with White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk. Our American friends, and every investor must remain committed; we cannot give into fear. Over the next few days, I will urge our international friends and partners, and the UN Security Council to renew efforts with Erbil and Baghdad and explore ways for us both to protect against more terror attack.

The KRG deeply values and will defend and protect investments in its oil and gas sector and all public infrastructure. I have made it clear that an attack anywhere on Kurdistan is an attack on all of Kurdistan and its peoples.

In this moment of national concern, I urge our people to stay resolute. This is a blatant attack on our infrastructure, and part of a concerted effort to deter us from our strategic plans and reform agenda. Our resilience will not be shaken.

Masrour Barzani

Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government

(Source: KRG)

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Two Injured in Rocket Attack at Khor Mor Gas Field

Dana Gas (PJSC) informs the market that, a small rocket landed yesterday afternoon within the Khor Mor block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

No damage occurred and production operations continued normally without interruption.

Two contractor staff were treated for minor injuries related to the blast but have returned to work.

The company is cooperating with local security services who are conducting a full investigation and the KRG has enhanced measures and security forces in the area.

(Source: Dana Gas)

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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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IBBC hosts largest ever Spring Conference

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted the largest attendance for their Spring conference at the Mansion house on 24th May, with just under 300 attendees, half of whom came from Iraq.

Widely considered a success, the overall theme was 'sustaining economic growth in Iraq', There were multiple panels and roundtable sessions; including four panels focused on Finance and Energy, and additional themes of Education and Skills, Future Tech, Privatisation and a Kurdish ministerial roundtable with full attendance at all.

The conference was opened by Baroness Nicholson, president of IBBC.

Notable speakers included the Governor of the central bank H.E Mr. Mustafa Ghalib Mukheef, the Governor of Kirkuk, H.E. Mr Rakan Aljoubouri, the Chairman of the Trade Bank of Iraq, Dr Salem Chalabi and H.E. Dr Dara Rasheed, Minister of Planning, Kurdish Regional Government, and Mr Louis Taylor, CEO of UKEF, while Lord Howell gave an insightful and powerful speech on energy provision and the continuing importance of oil and gas distribution and production, especially in the light of Russian aggression. Professor Frank Gunter offered his paper for privatisation to a packed room. Dr Luay Al Khateeb, Distinguished Fellow Columbia University, chaired the Energy Transition session alongside with panellist from BP, Shell, GE and Oilserv.

The Rasmi AL Jabri award to the most outstanding, well run, professional Iraqi company engaged with the UK and international business from Iraq, was awarded to The Sardar Group and accepted by Mr Sardar Al Bebany from Rasmi's son and Baroness Nicholson.

Delegates came from all regions of Iraq, including KRI, Basra and Baghdad, with chambers of commerce, leading Iraqi businesses, and private investors and business- people engaged and supplying IBBC corporate members.

Principal sponsors included the Iraq private banking league, who brought 20 banking members, gold sponsors - The Sardar Group and Hydro C and Bronze sponsors - GE.

The Conference was also made available online and a recording of the Tech forum is available here.

(Source: IBBC)

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Iranian Gas passed off as Iraqi Origin

By John Lee.

Media in Pakistan report that Iranian LPG has been illegally imported into the country under the guise of Iraqi product.

According to Business Recorder, the latest case is one of five ships which are allegedly involved in the illegal import of Iranian LPG using a falsified declaration of origin.

Pakistan's Ministry of Interior (MoI) has reportedly directed the authorities to take action against the carrier.

More here.

(Source: Business Recorder)

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Refinery Targeted in Rocket Attack

By John Lee.

A rocket attack that targeted an oil refinery in the Khabat area of Erbil on Sunday has been widely condemned.

Six rockets were fired at the Kawergosk refinery, which is owned by KAR Group, reportedly damaging a storage tank.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell said it located a launch base near the Al-Fadhiliah area of Bashiqa district, in the Nineveh Plain, where a further four missiles were rendered rendered harmless.

Shafaq quotes a source as saying that one person sustained minor injuries in the attack.

In March, the home of the CEO of KAR Group, Baz Karim Barzanji, was badly damaged in a rocket attack attributed to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

(Sources: Iraqi Security Media Cell, Shafaq, Asharq al Awsat, NRT)

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What does Russia’s War in Ukraine mean for Iraq?

By Samuel Ramani, for The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What does Russia's war in Ukraine mean for Iraq?

Although Iraq has avoided taking sides in Russia's war with Ukraine, the conflict could exacerbate factional divisions and profoundly impact the Iraqi economy's near-term trajectory.

While the strides made in Russia-Iraq cooperation over the past decade are unlikely to be destroyed by the war, Baghdad is likely to limit its cooperation with Moscow to essential spheres and overcome the impact of sanctions by embracing a genuinely multipolar foreign policy.

Click here to read the full article.

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