Turkish companies keep investing heavily in Arbil

Turkish companies keep investing heavily in Arbil

Turkish companies keep investing heavily in Arbil

A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe at the al-Doura refinery in Baghdad. The regional government in the north and the central Iraqi government are in dispute over oil revenues. REUTERS photo

Turkish companies show no sign of hesitation in investing in northern Iraq despite the regional instabilities and the ongoing problems between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north and the central government in Bagdad.

Genel Energy, an oil firm with Turkish partners, and Mineks International, an investment firm also active in the hospital sector, have become the latest Turkish companies to expand in northern Iraq.

Genel plans to acquire a 23 percent stake in the Bina Bawi exploration license in northern Iraq for $175 million, to build on its existing presence in the region, Reuters reported yesterday. The Bina Bawi license area lies alongside Genel’s already-producing Taq Taq oilfield, the current potential output from which is about 80,000 barrels a day.

“What we are acquiring is very high-quality acreage in an area immediately adjacent to Taq Taq, one of our major established fields, which we plan in due course to link via a pipeline to the region’s main export pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan,” Tony Hayward, chief executive of Kurdistan-focused Genel, told reporters.

Genel will acquire its stake in the license by purchasing A&T Petroleum Company, the current holders of the stake.

“Our estimate is that the Bina Bawi discovery has contingent resources of some 500 million to 1 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent, with some additional prospective upside,” Hayward said.

Genel was formed by a merger of Vallares and Genel Energy International in November 2011. Vallares was a fund founded by former BP CEO Hayward, British financier Nat Rothschild, banker Julian Metherell and investment manager Tom Daniel. Genel Energy International was owned by Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, a Turkish tycoon.

The central Iraqi government and Arbil are facing a long-term dispute over the rights to oil and gas from the north. Thamir Ghadhban, oil advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said in an interview in Istanbul on May 4 that he expected Iraq’s internal oil dispute to be resolved this year.

Separately, the solution to the ongoing crisis between Arbil and Baghdad should be based on territorial integrity, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told journalists during the opening ceremony of a Turkish hotel in Arbil earlier this month. “Turkey is Iraq’s best neighbor and it is our strategic partner in economics,” Barzani said, adding that the trade volume between the region and Turkey currently amounted to $8 billion.

Hospital in Arbil

Meanwhile, Mineks International will open a large-scale hospital in Arbil in July. The consultancy and investment firm entered the healthcare sector at the end of 2011 by investing in Istanbul Cerrahi Hospital.

The Arbil facility will be a 120-bed full-fledged hospital, said the board chairman of Istanbul Cerrahi Hospital, heart and vascular surgeon Dr. Melih Us in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News over the weekend.

“Istanbul Cerrahi is becoming an international brand in the healthcare sector and our neighbor Iraq has a dearth of hospitals and medical know-how. The region needs support and investment,” Us said.
When asked about the region’s view of Turkish doctors, Us said Kurdish people loved Turkey, especially in Arbil.

Turkish doctors have the capacity to train doctors and work in peace with the locals, he added.
Us also said Mineks International held talks with top level officials from the United Arab Emirates and they were very close to a new agreement for training in 14 hospitals in the country.