$8bn New Iraqi Energy Agreements with US Firms

The following commercial agreements worth as much as $8 billion were reached during a signing ceremony between U.S. energy companies and the Government of Iraq on August 19, 2020:

  • Honeywell and the Ministry of Oil agreed to advance the development of the Ar Ratawi [Artawi] gas project, which will further enable Iraq to capture, process, and utilize indigenous gas resources to meet domestic energy demand.
  • General Electric and the Ministry of Electricity committed to three agreements that will help increase reliable access to electricity in Iraq, including efforts related to GE's existing generation maintenance program, addition of combined cycle units at the Dhi Qar and Samawah power plants, and collaboration on strengthening Iraq's electricity grid and interconnection with neighboring countries.
  • Stellar Energy and the Ministry of Electricity concluded a front-end engineering and design agreement that will help advance deployment of turbine inlet air chilling technology on more than 30 turbines, which will increase power sector efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
  • Baker Hughes and the Ministry of Oil agreed to further collaboration on flare gas-to-power opportunities, and deployment of U.S. oil field services and equipment.
  • Chevron and the Iraqi Ministry of Oil outlined a framework for entering into exclusive negotiating on an exploration, development, and production contract in the Dhi Qar Province.

US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette (pictured) said:

"As two of the top oil producers in the world, the United States and Iraq share an appreciation for how energy shapes our economies and can strengthen our respective security.

"That is why I was thrilled to join Prime Minster Kadhimi, Minister Ismael, and Minister Hantoush today for an event featuring this prestigious Iraqi delegation and our great American energy companies. Together, we laid the groundwork for commercial partnerships worth up to $8 billion.

"These deals are key to Iraq's energy future, and I am confident that the same companies that have empowered the United States to become energy independent will deploy their deep expertise to help Iraq achieve its full potential in the energy sector."

(Source: US Dept of Energy)

US announces $204m Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq

On Wednesday in Washington, the United States announced nearly $204 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Iraq, Iraqi refugees in the region, and to generous communities hosting them.

This funding includes nearly $133 million from the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $71 million from USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

This funding brings the total for the U.S. humanitarian response for Iraq to more than $706 million since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019. In addition, the United States has provided $49.5 million in COVID assistance in Iraq and more than $22.7 million to date in Fiscal Year 2020 to assist over 244,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq.

This assistance will provide critical shelter, essential healthcare, emergency food assistance, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services across Iraq. It will also improve access to civil documentation and legal services, the capacity of health care facilities and increase access to education and livelihoods opportunities.

The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance in Iraq and globally, in line with our National Security Strategy. We appreciate all donors who have stepped up and continue to encourage both traditional and new donors to help meet growing needs.

(Source: US State Dept)

Iraq to Sign Exploration MoU With Chevron

By John Lee.

Iraq is reported to be planning to sign a memorandum of understanding with US-based Chevron to explore for oil in Dhi Qar (Thi Qar) province.

A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the deal would formalise Chevron's interest in exploring the eastern and western parts of Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhi Qar.

More here.

(Source: Bloomberg)

US continues to Support UNHCR in Iraq

United States of America continues its support to UNHCR critical work in Iraq

UNHCR welcomes the new contribution of USD 41.8 Million from the United States of America that aims at supporting the response for Internally Displaced Iraqis, the 2020/2021 Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, refugees and asylum seekers as well as the response for COVID-19.

This brings the total US contribution to UNHCR Iraq over USD 107 Million this year. So far, the UNHCR operation in Iraq is 31% funded.

In Iraq today, there are still thousands of vulnerable displaced families that are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. With close to 1.4 million IDPs, 4.7 million returnees, and 286,000 refugees and asylum seekers, the needs are significant and ongoing support is needed to ensure a stable and peaceful recovery.

More so during the prevailing COVID-19 health crisis, which has significantly exacerbated the protection risks faced by vulnerable displaced families and has further hindered their access to basic goods, essential services, and livelihood opportunities.

This timely and generous donation from the United States of America will help UNHCR provide displaced families with the needed protection services, including child protection, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence and protection monitoring, as well as cash assistance to meet their basic needs.

The Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Steven Fagin, emphasized the United States is deeply committed to the welfare of displaced Iraqis, and to supporting UNHCR's work toward sustainable, voluntary, and safe returns, local integration, and other solutions.

He said the United States is dedicated to working with the new Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that all components of Iraqi society can thrive in their homeland, and that Syrian and other refugees and asylum seekers in Iraq receive the assistance they need. Supporting these populations and their communities is part of bolstering Iraq's stability and success.

UNHCR's Acting Representative Philippa Candler stated:

"With rising challenges, timely funds are needed to help support those displaced by conflict, refugees, asylum seekers and returnees. Donor support is much appreciated during these times, as not only do refugees and displaced persons face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but we fear the aftermath will continue to affect livelihood opportunities for the months and years to come.

"UNHCR will spare no effort to provide protection and other support to those in need as we work towards achieving durable solutions for those who are displaced. UNHCR appreciates the support from major donor countries such as the United States of America which makes this ongoing work possible".

The United States of America remains the biggest donor to UNHCR globally.

(Source: UNHCR)

ICF Steps Up Advocacy with New Identity Refresh

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF), the United States' largest charity devoted exclusively to advocacy and support for Iraq's children, premiered today a fresh, impactful design and message for the cause.

ICF Board Chairman Mohammed Khudairi explained:

"Today, we reintroduce ourselves to Americans and the international community with a fresh voice. For over a decade, ICF has intervened with love and hope in the lives of children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists. 

"We have invested in life-changing education, legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and other support for the most marginalized children: orphans, street kids, children displaced by war, child laborers, and disabled kids.  We are now standing with them in the face of new dangers from COVID-19."

Liz McRae, Executive Director, said:

"We started this process in early 2020 and poured our hearts and souls into creating a new image that would accurately depict who we are at our core, as an organization. As COVID-19 began to dramatically impact the world and our work, we doubled down on our efforts to refocus on our organization and the way we do things.

"Our mission and vision are strong, and we recognized the importance of the right tools to communicate messages driving real and meaningful change. We are committed to 'thinking big' to address the critical need for orphans and street children in Iraq, now more than ever."

ICF's voice for Iraq's children is reflected in the visual identity the organization debuted today.  It reflects a modern, bright, optimistic and inclusive outlook, focused on the deepest needs of children to belong to their family, community, and nation.

This idea is presented in the graphic pattern, with four elements surrounding the map of Iraq: the sunshine symbolizing hope, growth in the form of the date palm leaf and fruit of Iraq, and water marking the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which represent the historic position of Iraq as the seat of civilization.

The tagline - Protect. Nurture. Empower. - codifies ICF's core mission to ensure all children are safe, have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential.

* Cuneiform inscriptions based on the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia.

That mission - to protect, nurture, and empower - is manifested in ICF's projects in recent years, including a "Street Lawyers" project providing legal protection and aid to more than 1,200 children and securing legal identity documents needed for school and nutrition and other benefits for 1,300 children.

Social services - including services for mental health, ending abuse, stopping child labor, and medical care - have been delivered to 1,006 children.  Two child-friendly and colorful "Hope Buses" in a desperately poor neighborhood provide tutoring and nutritious meals to empower an average of 100 orphans and street children each school day.

Some of these initiatives have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 related curfews in Baghdad and other obstacles to service operations.

ICF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity with top Platinum status on Guidestar.  It is also listed on the U.S. government's workplace giving platform, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #95191).   Board and Advisor leadership includes veterans, former Ambassadors, top U.S. child welfare experts, Iraqi-American professionals, and business executives.  ICF initiatives in Iraq are executed with competent, trusted Iraqi NGO partners who know local communities and urgent needs best.   ICF relies on both private and corporate donations to make this work possible.

Learn more about our work and donate at www.iraqichildren.org, or contact ICF Executive Director Elizabeth (Liz) McRae at liz@iraqichildren.org

(Source: ICF)

US Welcomes New Iraq Govt; Extends Iran Sanctions Waiver

By John Lee.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured) has welcomed the formation of a new government in Iraq following months of instability.

In a phone call with the new Prime Minister, Mustafa Kadhemi, he said that the US would not enforce sanctions on Iraq buying electricity from Iran for 120 days "as a display of our desire to help provide the right conditions for success".

The full statement via Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said:‎

"Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Secretary Pompeo welcomed Prime Minister Kadhimi's new government, which was confirmed by the Council of Representatives.

"They discussed the urgent hard work ahead for the Iraqi government, implementing reforms, addressing COVID-19, and fighting corruption. In support of the new government the United States will move forward with a 120-day electricity waiver as a display of our desire to help provide the right conditions for success.

"The Secretary and the Prime Minister also discussed the upcoming U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue and how they look forward to working together to provide the Iraqi people the prosperity and security they deserve."

(Source: US State Dept)

US Renews Waiver for Iraq to Import Electricity from Iran

By John Lee.

Washington has renewed a waiver for Iraq to continue importing Iranian electricity, a US State Department official said.

"The Secretary granted this brief extension of the waiver to allow time for the formation of a credible government," the official said, referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and added that the waiver would expire on May 26, according to Reuters.

Washington has repeatedly extended the exemption for Baghdad to use crucial Iranian energy supplies for its power grid, for periods of 90 or 120 days.

Earlier this month, Iraq's president named intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister-designate, the third person tapped to lead Iraq in just 10 weeks as it struggles to replace a government that fell last year after months of deadly protests.

"Once that government is in place, the Secretary will reassess whether to renew the waiver and for how long," the US State Department official said.

The official added that the waiver applied only to electricity and referred to the Treasury Department for transactions related to Iranian natural gas imports.

Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb told S&P Global Platts last week that Iraq needs three to four years to complete projects that would provide the necessary natural gas for its power stations.

(Sources: Tasnim, Reuters, S&P Global)

Rocket Attack Targets Halliburton in Basra

By John Lee.

At least three rockets are reported to have hit near Halliburton's site in the Burjesia area of Basra early on Monday morning.

It is understood that the incident caused no casualties or damage.

It is the first attack to target US energy interests in Iraq in recent months.

(Sources: S&P Global Platts, AP, Sputnik)

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

The US Embassy in Baghdad announced today that is providing $670,000 to help Iraq fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's announcement shows the strength of the US and Iraqi partnership, and we are committed to fighting this pandemic alongside the Iraqi people," said US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller. "Support provided through the [World Health Organization] will directly enhance the country's ability to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Click here to read the full article.