Iraqi Cabinet Approves TotalEnergies’ Projects

By John Lee.

The Iraqi cabinet has approved the agreement between the Ministry of Oil and French company TotalEnergies to implement four major energy projects in the country:

  1. Plants to collect and refine associated natural gas at the fields of Artawi [Ratawi], West Qurna 2, Majnoon, Tuba [Subba] and Lahais [Luhais]. This will include a Central Gas Complex at Artawi;
  2. Development of the Artawi field;
  3. The integrated seawater project [Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP)?], which the ministry has been trying to implement for more than ten years; and,
  4. A 1,000MW solar energy plant.

The project was originally agreed in March.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Iraqi Cabinet allocates $34m for Emergency Electricity Work

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired the regular session of the Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday.

Addressing the ongoing crisis in electricity supply, the cabinet agreed to allocate 50 billion Iraqi dinars ($34 million) for emergency expenses and maintenance of the electricity infrastructure.

This will be achieved by profitable Ministry of Oil companies lending the funds to the Ministry of Electricity companies.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Iraq, Jordan and Egypt agree Energy Projects

By John Lee.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah arrived in Baghdad on Sunday for a fresh round of talks aimed at strengthening cooperation between the countries.

It is the first visit by an Egyptian head of state to Iraq since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The leaders agreed on the importance of the electrical interconnector project between the three countries, and linking the gas transmission networks between Iraq and Egypt through Jordan.

They also pushed for the completion of the Basra-Aqaba crude oil pipeline, which will provide a new outlet for the export of Iraqi oil through Jordan.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Masdar to Develop Solar Projects in Iraq

By John Lee.

Masdar, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi-based  Mubadala Investment Company, has signed a strategic agreement to develop 2,000 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Iraq.

Heads of Agreement (HOA) were signed at a virtual ceremony by His Excellency Majid A. Hantosh, Minister of Electricity, the Republic of Iraq, Her Excellency Suha Al-Najar, President of the National Investment Commission (NIC) for the Republic of Iraq, and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

The signing took place in the presence of His Excellency Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Minister of Oil for the Republic of Iraq, His Excellency Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy for the UAE, and His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade for the UAE.

His Excellency Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Minister of Oil for the Republic of Iraq, said:

"The Government intends to increase and enhance the national production of clean energy. Through this agreement with Masdar, we will generate 2 GW of solar power through projects in central and southern Iraq.

"Iraq is targeting 20 to 25 percent of energy coming from renewable sources, rather than fossil fuels, equivalent to 10 to 12 GW. This agreement with Masdar, a global leader in renewable energy, is an important step in the development of the clean energy investment sector and the exploitation of solar energy in Iraq."

HE Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy for the UAE, said:

"We are grateful to the Government of Iraq for providing Masdar with the opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the Republic of Iraq's renewable energy strategy. The UAE is committed to working with the Republic of Iraq to develop sustainable energy resources. This initiative also highlights the importance of public and private sector partnerships in finding affordable solutions.

"Masdar has been a pioneer in developing clean energy projects, and is now active in more than 30 countries around the world, with a total value of more than US$20 billion and a production capacity exceeding 11 gigawatts. Masdar will leverage the expertise it has built up through these projects to support the Republic of Iraq on its clean energy journey."

HE Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, underlined the strong brotherly relations that unite the UAE and the Republic of Iraq, supported by many deep political, social and economic ties, and driven by the keenness of the leadership of the two brotherly countries to enhance prospects for cooperation in all fields, especially vital areas of common interest.

He pointed out that the cooperation between Masdar and the government of the Republic of Iraq will add significant value to the Emirati and Iraqi partnerships in addressing the challenges posed by climate change and keeping pace with the growing demand for energy. It will also contribute to supporting Iraqi efforts aimed at implementing quality projects to produce 10 gigawatts of solar energy by 2025.

HE Al Zeyoudi further affirmed the UAE's keenness to facilitate channels of technology transfer, enrich knowledge and encourage the exchange of the best and most successful experiences to promote economic development in Iraq.

HE Suha Al-Najar, President of the National Investment Commission for the Republic of Iraq, said:

"The project is one of the largest renewable photovoltaic solar projects in the Middle East, and falls within the vision of Iraq's sustainable transition plan 2021- 2030. The project delivers 2 GW of green energy for Iraq national network. It opens the way for cooperation and knowledge exchange between the two parties in the field of energy planning and sustainable transition. A steering committee of both parties is established for this goal. The business model is Independent Power Producer, and the investment will be according to law13-2006 of the National Investment Commission.

"The project ensures clean and sustainable energy production for different areas in Iraq, and displaces carbon dioxide emissions resulting from fossil fuel generation. The project will also provide new jobs in the energy sector, with the manpower for project construction and operation beyond 2,000."

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said:

"This agreement will define the path for the development of clean energy solutions that will drive growth in the Republic of Iraq and help the Government meet its climate goals. The UAE shares Iraq's commitment to diversify away from a dependence on oil & gas, and to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources. We are proud to support the Government of Iraq on this vital stage in its clean energy journey and we will leverage our expertise to deliver a more sustainable future for the nation."

(Sources: Masdar, Govt of Iraq)

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KRG to rely 100% on Natural Gas for Electricity

Ten electricity plants were provided with transformers at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in Koya town on Thursday.

The Deputy Prime Minister commended the Koya transformer project and addressed developments in the electricity sector, including the Kurdistan Regional Government's decision to go all in on natural gas.

"The power generation costs are still high," said Deputy Prime Minister Talabani, "and to solve this, we are planning to increase the dependency on natural gas to 100 percent as a source of fossil fuel in power generation."

Also in attendance at the Koya ceremony was Minister of Electricity Kamal Mohammed Salih, who provided more information on the 2.728 billion dinar (or roughly 1.8 million USD) transformer project.

Minister Salih hailed the cabinet's achievements in power generation and distribution, and stated that more than 450 projects have been initiated with a total worth of 60 billion dinars.

KRG is planning to open three more power plants in the Kurdistan Region by the end of this year: a steam power plant in Khabat District, a gas power plant in the Garmian region, and a 37-megawatt plant in Deraluk.

The Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani also talked about his latest visit to Baghdad with the KRG delegation to discuss the region's share of the budget.

He noted that one of the topics of discussion was cooperative power generation between the federal and regional governments, a step that would drastically increase Iraq's supply of electricity.

(Source: KRG)

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Iraqi Cabinet Awards Energy Contracts

By John Lee.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet agreed to send an invitation, "in a single bid manner", to the French company Total to invest in a project to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar electric power.

The project was originally agreed in March as part of a larger engagement with the French energy company, which last week announced that it would rebrand itself as TotalEnergies.

The cabinet also approved a request from the Ministry of Electricity to award a contract "in a single bidding manner" to the Chinese company PowerChina (Power Construction Corporation of China).

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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The Dutch Disease and Iraq’s Foreign Exchange Rate

By Dr. Zeki Fattah, for The Iraqi Economists Network (IEN). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Dutch Disease and Iraq's Foreign Exchange Rate

Economists who studied the reasons for the low per capita growth of GDP in developing countries that rely on revenues from abundant natural resources, (called 'resource curse'), found it was actually caused not by high exchange rates, but by wrongly conceived economic policies over a long period of time.

We will visit this point again at the end of the paper. Meanwhile, and until recently, monetary economists in Iraq explained the fall in the Dinar exchange rate against the Dollar (a change within the expected norm) as a passing event caused by falling oil prices, and trepidation in the markets in the wake of COVID-19.

This explanation whilst went some way toward dampening the need for currency devaluation for a while, it didn't help the Iraqi Government to raise the cash it needed to meet its obligations. Recently, the Government had to reduce the Dinar exchange rate against the Dollar considerably to increase the Dinars it receives from the Central Bank in exchange for the Dollar it receives mainly from oil exports.

Please click here to read the full report.

(Source: IEN)

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