Iraq plans new Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline

Above, an Iraqi soldier secures a burning pipeline near Kirkuk, 290 kilometers north of Baghdad in this 2005 photo. The new pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan will carry up to one million barrels a day. (AP)
Updated 24 December 2017
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Iraq plans new Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Sunday invited companies to submit statements of interest in building a new pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
The new 350-kilometer (220-mile) pipeline will carry up to one million barrels a day, the state-run Oil Projects Company said. A 305-kilometer (190-mile) gas pipeline to feed pumping stations, tanks and other service installations will be included in the project, it said.
The new line will be built alongside an existing 1.6 million barrel-per-day pipeline, which runs through restive Sunni areas and has been idle since it was badly damaged by militant attacks in 2014.
Iraqi forces drove the Daesh group from the area earlier this year, but the militants are expected to continue to launch insurgent-style attacks.
Interested companies have until January 24 to submit applications for pre-qualification before receiving the final tender documents. Authorities did not provide a timeline for the project, which will be offered under a build-own-operate-transfer scheme. At least 25 percent of the project will be owned by Iraqi entities.
Iraqi forces seized the disputed city of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces in October. The Kurds, who had taken control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas when Daesh swept into Iraq three years ago, exported oil through their own pipeline to Turkey.
The fields around Kirkuk currently produce around 140,000 barrels a day, all of which goes to refineries, Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said Sunday.
Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves. This year, it added 10 billion barrels, bringing its total reserves up to 153.1 billion barrels.
Oil and other infrastructure suffered widespread damage during the fighting against Daesh. The costs of the war, along with low oil prices, have taken a heavy toll on Iraq’s economy.


Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

Updated 26 March 2019
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Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

  • Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology
  • ‘We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards’

DUBAI: Bahrain plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.
Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecoms firm STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about US concerns over Huawei technology.
A senior State Department official said the US routinely urges allies and partners to consider the risks posed by vendors subject to extrajudicial or unchecked compulsion by foreign states.
The US Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.
Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.
Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, are still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecoms group Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding mobile operators choose who they work with.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur its economy, which was hit hard by a recent drop in oil prices.
“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.