Successful IBBC Conference in Dubai

IBBC's 5th Annual Iraq Conference in Dubai - Opportunity in Adversity

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was much praised at its conference on Thursday for pioneering in COVID-19 times by bringing together senior officials from Iraq, the UAE and the UK, prominent international and Iraqi businessmen, bankers and professional advisers as speakers and over 100 delegates.

With the Address Hotel as host venue implementing the strictest hygiene regime and using video links, delegates enjoyed a day of vigorous analysis and debate about the issues currently creating the adverse conditions dominating the Iraqi political and business landscape and what measures were needed to improve matters, but nevertheless inspirational presentations highlighted success stories across a number of sectors in panel sessions covering energy, finance, infrastructure/logistics and tech.

Highlights of the day were presentations made by Mrs Zena Yousif Iraq consul general in Dubai, the first woman to ever hold that position, and the fact that all the leaders of the energy companies presenting were Iraqi nationals for the first time ever, namely Mr Zaid Elyaseri, Vice President Iraq from BP, Mr Ali Al Janabi, Chairman, from Shell, Mr Musab Alkateeb, Managing Director, from Siemens Energy, and all were addressing common global issues currently affecting that sector - low oil and gas prices, environmental and green issues.

Mr Aziz Khudairi, Chairman of the Khudairi Group with multiple businesses in Iraq urged the Iraqi Government to embrace the private sector to grow prosperity in Iraq and to provide employment for the millions of young Iraqis, to protect Iraqi businesses from unfair dumping by foreign competitors, but in return emphasised the need for the Iraqi workforce to rediscover a work ethic so that Iraqi companies would become efficient and profitable.

Baroness Nicholson made her Welcome Address by video link from London and at the end of the day announced the new annual award to be made to an Iraqi SME for its contribution to business in Iraq, in memory of the recently deceased Engineer Rasmi al Jabri, IBBC deputy chairman.

Amongst the many excellent speakers were:

  • H.E. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE
  • H.E. Dr Abdulkariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Advisory Commission
  • Mrs Zena Yousif, Consulate General of Iraq in Dubai
  • Mr Simon Penny, Her Majesty's UK Trade Commissioner for the Middle East

Conference Sponsors were Basra Gateway Terminal, Siemens Energy and Serco.

Vikas Handa of Gulftek, Conference chairman said:

"Today's IBBC conference in Dubai is the testimony of human resilience on the face of adversity. We had unexpected turnout & great participation from the ministers, industry leaders and businesses from Iraq, UAE & UK.

"We covered a lot of ground to chart the way forward, network & learn from each other. I along with IBBC MD Christophe Michels would like to thank our key members for their unwavering support to make it happen."

In parallel

The Tech Forum took place online, with participants from Iraq, UK, Dubai and France, to review and discuss the digitisation of Iraq, based on the World Bank's Report in April.

Chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC, we reviewed how the Government of Iraq ( GOI ) and digital development in general has been evolving since April, as Alexandre Laure, the World bank Sector specialist, who wrote the report - shared with us areas of development : namely, 6 key areas : Digital inclusion, banking and finance, Investment, Infrastructure, SMEs and start-ups, skill development and linking to external digital organisations. Two areas of progress include the establishment of a Tech fund for start-ups and SME investment, and the payment of Government salaries directly to bank accounts digitally. Additionally, there are areas of deregulation for start -ups and new businesses, although the registration cost of $37500 was deemed exclusionary for most start-ups.

Jawad Abbasi of GSMA MENA said that 4G infrastructure is critical in extending internet across Iraq, and this has been put on hold for the moment. This would increase the ability of users to trade, exchange and create new products on-line, as well as boost the digital economy. Yazen Altimimi CEO of Zain Cash echoed this issue as Zain are often blamed for poor internet experience, when it's an infrastructure issue. Zain's consumer uptake is rapid and there is a healthy growth and interest in the digital economy as a business and consumer medium. If 4G can be delivered the economy will see a rapid upswing. In short there is pent up demand and an appetite from consumers to transact on- line, so it makes sense to deliver 4G to ensure the whole economy expands.

Laura Oliver, director of Iraq Tech Ventures, amplified the issue for start -ups and SME.s who want to trade on line, and the raised the issue of the high cost of registration that prohibits start-ups registering formally, and therefore rely on the cash economy, so they are unable to get formal credit and investment. These two issues, of 4G and registration should be straight forward to address and would make a big different to the overall digital development of the Iraqi economy, and encourage investment from external digital companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

In a second panel: Online Consumer behaviour, Caroline McGarr of ThinkBank - a leading research agency in Irbil, presented key finding among Iraqi consumers between 18-45, and again found a big demand for consumer goods, banking on line for an unbanked 83% of the population. In sectors such as Fashion, health and social media there is enormous pent up demand as over 50% of these people spend over 5 hours a day on-line. Again, the issue of reliable internet, useful apps and products to purchase and reliability of banking, echo the first panel's concerns.

The overall message from both panels is that there is huge unmet demand among youthful Iraqi's for more services, better internet, better banking (trust) and online interaction with Government and products that will be better served by better internet and the proliferation of new goods and services from SMEs and start-ups, who themselves are constrained by registration fees and investment.

A full video of the sessions, including the presentation charts can be viewed here

For more information please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

The post Successful IBBC Conference in Dubai first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Foreign Staff Evacuated from Basra Gas Company

 By John Lee.

Shell has reportedly evacuated its foreign staff who had been working at the Basra Gas Company (BGC).

BGC executives told Reuters that around 60 staff were flown out on Wednesday after workers who had been laid off staged a protest.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq's South Gas Company (SGC) having 51 percent, and Japan's Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Reuters)

Basrah Gas Company to Increase Capacity by 40%

By John Lee.

Shell has reportedly announced that the Basrah Gas Company (BGC) has taken a “final investment decision (FID)” on its growth programme, which will increase BGC’s capacity by 40 percent.

According to Oil and Gas Middle East, the decision was taken with the support of all BGC’s shareholders: South Gas Company (SOC), Shell and Mitsubishi.

BGC captures flared gas from the Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair oilfields, converting it into dry gas for power generation and liquids for the domestic market and for exports.

At the heart of the new development is the Basrah Natural Gas Liquids (Basrah NGL) project; a 400 million standard cubic feet per day greenfield gas processing plant at Ar Ratawi.

More here.

(Source: Oil and Gas Middle East)

BGC to Increase Gas Output by 16% by end-Dec

By John Lee.

The Basra Gas Company (BGC) is expected to increase production from its current level of 900 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) to 1,050 mcf/d by the end of this year.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil on Thursday added that the project aims to reach a target of 2,000 mcf/d from the fields of Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna 1.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

IBBC hosts Members’ Dinner in Baghdad

The Deputy Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), Rasmi Al Jabri, and Managing Director, Christophe Michels, hosted a dinner for members and guests at the Babylon Warwick Hotel in Baghdad on 29th August.

Many representatives from member companies were in attendance, including the Chairman of Khudairi Group and the International Islamic Bank, the CEO’s of Kuwait Energy and the National Bank of Iraq, as well as representatives from Al Burhan Group, Al Nukhba-OFS, Constellis, G4S, Standard Chartered Bank, Serco, Shell and XReach Ltd.

Ms Beverly Simpson, Iraq Country Director for the Department for International Trade, gave guests an update on the latest visa and labour regulations being applied in Iraq, followed by a discussion.

(Source: IBBC)

Shell hands over Majnoon Oilfield

By John Lee.

Shell has reportedly exited the Majnoon oilfield and handed over its operations to the Basra Oil Company (BOC).

Sources told Reuters that the handover was formalised on Wednesday, and that the process was “smooth“.

According to the news agency, Anton Oilfield Services (AntonOil) and Petrofac will now operate the giant oilfield on behalf of the BOC, under a two-year contract; last month, KBR announced that it will has been awarded a contract for the development of the field.

(Source: Reuters)

KBR Confirms Contract to Develop Majnoon

KBR, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the Basra Oil Company (BOC) for the development of the Majnoon Oil Field in Basra, Iraq.

Under the terms of the contract, KBR says it will provide overall project management, multi-discipline engineering support, procurement and construction management services to BOC under a two plus one year extendable service contract.

Jay Ibrahim (pictured), KBR President Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific region, commented:

KBR has a long and rich history in Iraq and we are excited to be able to leverage our broad expertise in onshore oil and gas processing facilities across the project lifecycle as a true partner to BOC.

“This award highlights BOC’s confidence in KBR’s capabilities to deliver in multiple engineering discipline areas across a variety of projects. We look forward to transferring our knowledge and experience to local Iraqis in order to leave a lasting legacy in the country.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil at the end of April put the value of the contracts with KBR and China’s Anton Oilfield Services Group (Antonoil) at $118 million, adding that there would be “other secondary contracts” to follow.

BOC is expected to take over operations at Majnoon from Shell by the end of June.

(Sources: KBR, Ministry of Oil)

Shell plans Major Expansion at BGC

By John Lee.

Having sold its stake in the West Qurna 1 project to Japan’s Itochu, Shell is now said to be “fully committed” to the giant Basra Gas Company (BGC), which captures gas from Iraq’s southern oilfields.

Frits Klap, managing director of BGC, told Reuters that processing capacity has more than tripled to 938 million standard cubic feet (scf) per day since operations started in 2013, and further expansion is planned:

“We are going to go for something called BNGL, or Basra NGL (natural gas liquids) expansion, which really is going to take us from 1 bcf to 1.4 bcf through two trains, each of 200 million scf per day.”

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)