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          REGION OF IRAQ           The Kurdistan Region, rich in resources, is a bastion of
                                   democracy and economic progress in a sensitive area

        he Kurdistan Region of                                                               ing countries [and] continue in
        Iraq was established in                                                              our commitment to identifying
        1970, but it was not un-                                                             peaceful solutions to outstand-
        til 1991, after the first                                                            ing national issues,” Barzani
Gulf War, that it won autono-                                                                says. “And we must maintain
my. Today, this secular parlia-                                                              our level of economic develop-
mentary democracy remains                                                                    ment and cooperation with the
free from conflict, and is at-                                                               international community, while
tracting overseas investment                                                                 ensuring that success is shared
to its booming economy. Its                                                                  equitably among our people.”
President, Masoud Barzani,                                                                     But Barzani is confident Iraqi
has held office since 2005. The                                                              Kurdistan will overcome any
son of a revered nationalist,                                                                obstacles. “The achievements of
Barzani has played a vital role                                                              the last few years have illustrat-
in the region’s development                                                                  ed our extraordinary potential,”
for decades.                                                                                 he argues. “The tremendous
   “Our people have been President Obama and President Barzani.                              increase of foreign investment
marginalized for years,” says                                                                and enterprise has catalyzed
Barzani, denouncing the genocide – through gas attacks, activity across the economic spectrum. [Our] attention to
destruction of homes, and forced displacements – carried democracy, education, human rights, rule of law, good gover-
out by the Ba’ath Party. “However, we are not captives of nance, gender issues, and institutional development have al-
our tragic history. [Our] people will never forget their past. lowed us to create a strong foundation for sustained success.”
Nonetheless, we are grateful for the chance to establish a        The President lists the advantages for those wishing to do
bright and prosperous future.”                                 business here. “Our people are friendly and tolerant, we wel-
   Iraq’s Kurds fought with US forces when the coalition come members of the international community warmly,”
overthrew Saddam Hussein, notes Barzani, and close links Barzani points out. “After years of hardship and isolation,
were forged. “The bond formed in battle between American we are delighted to incorporate modern advancements into
and Kurdish fighters is embedded in our memory,” he says. our economy and our society.”
   “We are proud to now be a bastion of democracy and             Economic and political rapprochement with neighboring
economic development in Iraq,” Barzani declares. “Interna- Turkey is also helping the Kurdish people of Iraq to look be-
tional companies are establishing themselves [here], with a yond its past struggles, as President Barzani concludes: “The
view to expanding to the rest of Iraq when the security situ- Kurdistan Region is growing every day. We hope you will
ation permits.”                                                join us and share in our success.”
   The Kurdistan Region still faces challenges, its President
recognizes. “We must solidify our relationship with neighbor-


“Genuine effort and communication is the best
path to establish lasting peace and prosperity”
Governmental reforms, modern infrastructure, growing overseas investment,
and improved international relations have helped spur economic development,
uphold human rights, and reinforce democratic rule

                                     echirvan Barzani has served as Prime Min-          So we have spared no effort in establishing schools and
                                     ister since March 2006, and has overseen           providing the best education possible.
                                     the implementation of ambitious develop-             The most visible changes have been the improve-
                                     ment and public-service plans since tak-           ments to roads, running water, municipal services,
                            ing office, which have contributed to improving             and basic necessities. There remains much to do, but
                            security, living standards, and prospects for the re-       our progress thus far has been dramatic and our cit-
                            gion’s population.                                          ies and towns function more smoothly as a result.

                            Mr. Prime Minister, can you give our readers an over-       Mr. Prime Minister, what are the most important
                            view of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)             achievements realized during your term in office?
                            and your vision for the future of the region?                  First and foremost, the peace and stability main-
                              When I assumed my position, there were a number           tained throughout the region is a great success. With-
                            of strategic goals we set as benchmarks for success. I      out this, nothing else would be possible.
                            knew our government had to be unified – all parties            The Kurdistan Region accepts individuals of all
                            and ethnic and religious groups had to feel repre-          ethnicities and religions. Kurds have been persecuted
                            sented. I am delighted by the sense of cooperation in       because of their identity, so we are sensitive to the
                            our government, united to provide opportunity and           plight of minorities. Thousands of Christian families,
                            a better future for its people.                             fleeing violence and persecution throughout Iraq,
                              No government is effective unless it improves upon        have found safe haven here.
                            the delivery of services to its citizens. In the last few      Essential to our rapid pace of development has
                            years, our citizens have experienced a marked improve-      been foreign direct investment. We have passed the
                            ment in their standard of living as our economy has
                            blossomed. And we have been able to strategically invest
                            our resources in issues of paramount importance.
                              We have created, from scratch, a system of good
                            governance and transparency in public spending and
                            decision-making. Due to the previous regime and the
                            negligence of the rule of law, our people did not have
                            the experience or the tools to implement modern
                            methods of oversight. We have worked very hard to
                            build a governmental infrastructure that is more ac-
                            countable and transparent.

                            You mentioned the delivery of services to your citizens
                            – what areas of development are the most essential?
                              We have focused most intensely on agriculture,
                            education, health, infrastructure reconstruction, and
                            energy sector investment, for practical reasons.
                              After 2003 our citizens could finally conceive of a
 Prime Minister Barzani     hopeful future. And that future will be determined by
     at the inauguration    our children. I am aware of the aspirations of our youth
             of a school.   and the challenges of competing in a globalized world.
                                                                                                   SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ
                                                                                                SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ

Citadel - eve of Kurdish
        Newroz Holiday.

                           Kurdistan Region Investment Law – one of the most            democratic and responsive to the needs of its citizens
                           investor-friendly laws in this part of the world.            in our discussions with the federal government.
                             We are pleased by the participation of the private            I believe fundamental issues regarding the dis-
                           sector and international firms that now operate in           puted territories must be resolved within the con-
                           the Region, helping us in our reconstruction efforts.        stitutional framework. Justice for the people of these
                           Public-private partnerships have proven particularly         disputed areas has always been our primary concern.
                           effective. The region is blessed with an abundance of           The KRG has consistently emphasized dialogue
                           crude oil and natural gas, and as a forward-looking          regarding principles of power-sharing, hydrocar-
                           government, we have invested in the energy sector’s          bons, and revenue-sharing legislation, as well as
                           technical infrastructure. We have sharply increased          other issues. Genuine effort and communication
                           the availability of electricity and fuel for our citizens    from all parties, under the legal framework of the
                           using our natural resources – a landmark achievement.        Constitution, are surely the best path to establish
                             One aspect of our institutional development that           lasting peace and prosperity.
                           has made great strides is our understanding and im-
                           plementation of the rule of law, essential to social and     One last question, Mr. Prime Minister. Can you dis-
                           economic development. We have invested in training           cuss recent developments in the relationships be-
                           judges, investigators, prosecutors, and public de-           tween the Kurdistan Region and the international
                           fenders. We are only at the beginning of this process,       community, particularly your neighbors?
                           but I am confident that we are on the right path.               The Kurdistan Region, after years of isolation, views
                             I would be remiss to not also address social re-           its external relations with great optimism. One of our
                           form. We have begun cross-cutting implementation             most important achievements has been the growth
                           of human rights protection measures, from prisons            of friendship and understanding with our neighbor
                           to police forces. This includes a dedicated concen-          to the north. Turkey supplies the largest source of
                           tration on female empowerment and the eradi-                 foreign direct investment to the Kurdistan Region
                           cation of violence against women – to which I am             of Iraq. We have worked diligently to build a stable,
                           personally committed.Finally, the Kurdistan Region           productive partnership based on mutual benefit and
                           Press Law was passed to guarantee press freedom –            respect. And there is every reason to believe that this
                           a very novel concept in Iraq. I am optimistic that we        will continue and expand in the coming years.
                           will soon adhere to international standards in this             We will always be grateful to the United States for
                           essential facet of democracy.                                their heroic role in removing the previous regime. We
                                                                                        consider our relationship with the US to be unshakeable.
                           Can you tell us a bit about the Kurdistan Region as a part   The Kurdistan Region also attaches great importance to
                           of Iraq, and your view on outstanding political issues?      friendships with the United Kingdom, France, Germany,
                              Firstly, we must note that Iraq has chosen to be a        the Russian Federation, South Korea, and other nations.
                           federal state, as enshrined in the Constitution. We             We have created and consolidated important
                           voluntarily participated in the reconstruction of            friendships with countries throughout the Middle
                           Iraq on the basis of a clear constitutional guarantee        East; including with Iran and the Arab States in the
                           for our security and regional autonomy. At the same          Gulf and beyond.
                           time, we are fully committed to Iraq’s development.             To put it simply, our doors are open. We are pleased
                              Federalism is a new concept in Iraq. But it has           to be developing in cooperation with the international
                           found great success around the world, including in           community, and to welcome governments, firms, and
                           the United States. We have advocated an Iraq that is         people from around the world to share in our success.


Promise of prosperity                                                   FINANcE
                                                                        TAKING ThE NEcESSARY STEPS
becomes a reality as oil                                                TO PUT A mODERN FINANcIAl
                                                                        SYSTEm INTO PlAcE
exports begin to flow                                                   SINCE SADDAM HUSSEIN was overthrown in 2003, the
                                                                        Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has strived
National and regional presidents come                                   consistently to develop modern financial practices,
together to celebrate success of plans                                  according to Bayiz Talabani, the region’s Minister of
                                                                        Finance, and has made significant progress.
which provide a model for rest of Iraq                                     “The KRG is working to create and implement

                                                                        monitoring and good-governance mechanisms,”
          n important milestone was reached on June 1, 2009 in          Talabani reveals. “We fully support transparency, not
          Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, with the       only in the region but also throughout Iraq. The KRG
          commencement of crude-oil exports. The ceremony was           is also putting a great deal of effort into reviving our
          the culmination of years of effort to re-establish oil pro-   banking system.”
duction in this resource-rich region.                                      Aside from being involved in the region’s macro-
   Iraq’s President, Jalal Talabani, President of the Kurdistan         economic strategy, such as drafting the contracts
Region of Iraq, Masoud Barzani, and Prime Minister, Nechirvan           awarded to oil companies who have set up opera-
Barzani, joined Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister            tions here in recent years, the Ministry is also active
for Natural Resources, Dr. Ashti Hawrami, to open a valve which         on the micro level, as Talabani explains. “This year
will see oil from two fields in the autonomous region pumped            the KRG has decided to focus on agriculture devel-
                                     into Iraq’s main export pipe-                          opment in order to achieve food
                                     line, which runs north to Cey-                         security,” he notes. “We have es-
                                     han in Turkey.                                         tablished an agricultural bank for
                                        After the uncertainty caused                        this purpose.”
                                     by plummeting oil revenues in                            The KRG’s budget reached al-
                                     2008, Kurdistan’s oil has come                         most $7 billion for 2009, equal
                                     on-stream at a propitious                              to 17% of the total Iraqi bud-
                                     moment. World markets are                              get as guaranteed by federal law,
                                     witnessing a recovery and, ac-                         and includes innovative propos-
                                     cording to recent reporting by     BAYIZ TALABANI,     als to make a difference to peo-
                                                                        Minister of Finance
                                     Reuters, prices should again       KRG                 ple’s lives. For example, Talaba-
                                     reach $80 per barrel by the                            ni says, the regional government
The Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas   start of next year.                has extended low-interest mortgage lending to peo-
industry is growing.                   Natural Resources Minister,      ple planning to build their own homes, and is offer-
                                     Dr. Hawrami, detailed the im-      ing interest-free ‘marriage loans’ for those who want
portance of Kurdistan’s oil in his address during the ceremony,         to start a family.
stating that monthly exports would increase by 100,000 barrels             “The budget is divided into two parts – the oper-
in the short term, thanks to production from the Tawke and              ational government budget and the capital-invest-
Taq Taq fields. Hawrami forecasts production from these fields          ment budget,” the Finance Minister explains. “The
alone will reach 250,000 barrels a day (bpd) by the end of the          operational budget is used to ensure that govern-
year, with 450,000 bpd capacity achievable by the end of 2010,          mental processes, agencies, and services are ade-
and as much as 1,000,000 bpd within four years.                         quately funded. The capital investment budget is
   “The export of oil from these oilfields today marks the be-          disbursed for the execution and maintenance of
ginning of a new era of prosperity, with immediate benefits for         large-scale projects which benefit citizens through-
everyone,” Dr Hawrami declared.                                         out the Kurdistan Region.”
   At current prices, the KRG’s contribution to Iraqi exports              In conclusion, Minister Talabani encourages inves-
will generate more than $2 billion in the first year, set to rise       tors to explore what the safe, stable Kurdistan Region
to around $20 billion over the next four. Some 35 companies             has to offer: “We have abundant economic opportu-
from 15 countries – including Turkey’s Genel Enerji, DNO Inter-         nities, and are developing the financial infrastruc-
national of Norway, Switzerland’s Addax Petroleum, and South            ture and oversight to propel growth and prosperity
Korea’s National Oil Company (KNOC) – have signed contracts             for the future,” he declares.
with the KRG in recent years.
                                                                                             SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ


“We have licensed
projects worth $16 billion”
Introduced in 2006, at the same time
as innovative legislation, Investment                                     HERISH MUHARAM, Minister and Chairman of the KRG Investment Board
Board aims to become a one-stop shop                                      (right), receives a gift from the Lebanese Trade Minister, Mohammad Safadi.

                    efore 2003, nobody knew what the Kurdistan Re-        via investment units in each of the government minis-
                    gion was or where we were located,” smiles Her-       tries that are then connected to Investment Board offi-
                    ish Muharam, the Chairman of the region’s In-         cials. Chairman Muharam details how the shared process
                    vestment Board, “but now people are a little bit      will work: “The investor submits a file to and receives a
           more informed. We are dealing with more than 80 for-           license from the Board, while we have oversight of lo-
           eign countries now, and they pass on the message of            gistic implementation with relevant KRG ministries and
           their success to other companies and countries.”               other government bodies.”
             The primary task of the Board is to attract foreign di-         The Board’s achievements, since its launch in July
           rect investment and facilitate commercial activity, says       2006, have been astonishing: “I am proud to say that we
           Muharam, who holds ministerial rank, taking into account       have managed to license 162 projects, worth $16 billion,
           the needs of the international and local business community.   thus far,” its Chairman states.
             The Board is organized into seven general director-             “Taking into consideration the reality and the investment
           ates: four at the body’s headquarters, with the remain-        environment of the Kurdistan Region, we have dedicated our-
           ing three located in the regional governorates, Muharam        selves to learning about other experiences around the world,
           explains. These offices provide reliable expertise in legal    such as Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jor-
           and financial affairs, analysis and information manage-        dan,” Minister Muharam acknowledges. “Examples such as
           ment, and industrial sector evaluation and promotion.          these have allowed us to analyze best practices and adopt
             The next goal is to implement a “one-stop-shop policy”,      measures to ensure sustainable growth and investment.”

 THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Relations of the Kurd-        with many nations around the world which aid our
 istan Regional Government (KRG) is led by Falah         economic and social development.
 Mustafa Bakir, who holds ministerial rank. His de-        “We have worked very hard, in coordination with
 partment has been instrumental in advancing un-         the federal Foreign Ministry, to enhance friendship
 derstanding and broadening ties with the interna-       and cooperation with neighboring states – and the
 tional community.                                       results are universally beneficial,” the Minister points
    “The Department of Foreign Relations is respon-      out. “At the same time, growing relationships with
 sible for strengthening relations with the interna-     Gulf countries and the international community be-
 tional community,” Bakir explains, “formulating         yond have opened the door for further partnerships.”                 FALAH MUSTAFA
 and implementing external KRG policy strategies           Minister Bakir concludes, “Foreign actors have                     BAKIR,
 in coordination with the Foreign Ministry of Iraq,      found abundant opportunities in the Region. Firms                    Minister and Head of
                                                                                                                              the KRG Department
 and serving as a conduit between the KRG and the        from abroad come to pursue enterprise and invest-                    of Foreign Relations
 outside world.”                                         ment, and diplomats visit to establish or expand up-
    The Kurdistan Region of Iraq now hosts 16 diplo-     on mutually beneficial friendships.” He continues,
 matic representations, and expects many more to         “In the long run, increased access to the advance-
 come. “Over the last few years, the KRG has greatly     ments of the international community will be of
 enhanced its visibility on the international scene,”    great value to our people. The KRG welcomes this
 Bakir notes, “and has fostered productive relations     and anticipates continued success.”


Helping Kurdistan realize its potential
                                                ccording to the United States Agency for        Ster Group’s business philosophy is predicated
                                                International Development (USAID), in        on a similar commitment, as its CEO explains. “We
business group                                  their December 2008 Economic Develop-        try to focus as much as possible on sectors that
is committed to                                 ment Assessment, the Kurdistan Region
                                        of Iraq “has the potential to achieve accelerated
                                                                                             contribute to building the future of Kurdistan
                                                                                             within Iraq,” he says. “We have chosen areas that
working in                              economic development and growth.” While the          help improve the quality of life of the Kurdish peo-
                                        report recognized that challenges still need to      ple and are major contributors to the economy.”
economic sectors                        be resolved, their sector-by-sector analysis of         Headquartered in Erbil, Ster aims to become
which build the                         Kurdistan’s prospects pointed to a “bright eco-      a world-class enterprise, able to satisfy regional
                                        nomic future.”                                       demands and compete on a global scale. Their
region’s future,                          “The country is making a great transition to       partnership-based approach provides unlim-
while improving                         the 21st century,” concurs Marcel Daoud, the CEO     ited scope for joint ventures, and the group has
                                        of Ster Group, one of the region’s most dynamic      already inked deals with companies like Van-
the quality of life                     and diversified conglomerates, with interests        guard International and FrontRunner. Their
of its citizens                         ranging from construction to consultancy, insur-     first venture in the food and beverages sector is
                                        ance to information technology, and trading to       a water-bottling plant.
                                        tourism. “Kurdistan is, and will remain, a major        “We have been very successful in selecting our
                                        player in the establishment of a democratic Iraq.”   international partners, dealing with some excel-
                                                                                             lent companies from Europe and North Ameri-
                                                                                             ca,” Daoud reveals.
                                                                                                International initiatives like this are possible
“The Kurds have shown great                                                                  thanks to the stable and secure environment
                                                                                             fostered by the Kurdistan Regional Govern-
commitment, not only to the                                                                  ment, Daoud believes. The 2006 Investment
                                                                                             Law, which not only ensures equal legal guar-
region, but to the whole of Iraq.”                                                           antees for foreign and domestic companies,
                                                                                             but also contains tax-exemption provisions
                                                                                             for profits, imports, reinvested revenues, and
                                                                                             expansion, typifies their approach. For Daoud,
                                                                                             “The Investment Law helped overseas capital
                                                                                             come here, [and] is comparable to the best in-
                                                                                             vestment laws of the US and Europe.”
                                                                                                The resulting influx of liquidity into the
                                                                                             public-sector is paying rich dividends for social
                                                                                             development, as Ster’s CEO points out. “Infra-
                                                                                             structure is improving enormously. You can see
                                                                                             new roads, hospitals, and schools,” he notes,
                                                                                             also pointing out that a new state-of-the-art
                                                                                             airport is about to open.
                                                                                                There are also no less than seven universi-
                                                                                             ties here, offering a range of undergraduate
                                                                                             and doctoral studies, two of which offer courses
                                                                                             exclusively in English. Companies like Ster act
                                                                                             both as investors in, and beneficiaries of, the
                                                                                             region’s education system.
                                                                                                “We have developed a strategy to support edu-
                                                                                             cation and work very closely with educational
                                                                                             institutions, giving opportunities to the best tal-
                                                                                             ent in the country,” Daoud reveals. “The percent-
                                                                                             age of young educated people here is really high.
                                                                                             So you have human resources to cover the needs
                                                                                             of any international company.”
        Building Kurdistan’s future
        Founded in Erbil, Ster Group has emerged as one of Iraq’s fastest growing conglomerates. The group’s core expertise
        includes construction, environmental engineering, consultancy, insurance, security, power, communications, general
        trading, tourism, information technology, and research. Ster Group also actively invests in a wide-range of real estate
        projects. A dominant leader in its domestic market, Ster Group possesses an unparalleled level of scope and
        experience, while maintaining a global reach that transcends international borders.

        with global partnerships
                                                                                                                                                      STER INSURANCE

Ster Company             Vanguard               FrontRunner           Ster Petroleum          TarinNet                 Ster Security            Ster Insurance
provides a wide          provides clients       is a high-end         primarily focuses       founded in 2006,         is a leading provider    was founded in 2004
range of all-inclusive   with professional      consulting and        on activities in        provides Internet        of security consulting   and is the largest
services and             security operations    professional          the energy sector.      services to the          and planning             private insurance
support to industrial,   to further their       services company,     Having developed        regional government,     services. Recognized     company in Iraq
commercial, and          production needs       focusing on network   several strategic       businesses, and          for the expertise        and Kurdistan.
government clients.      in a safe and secure   infrastructure,       partnerships,           people of Kurdistan.     of its personnel,        It is licensed by
Its construction arm     environment.           management,           the company is          A technological          Ster Security is         both the central
offers construction      The company            and operations for    an active player in     pioneer, TarinNet        made up of a team        government and the
management,              possesses extensive    telecommunications    the rapidly growing     was the first Internet   of highly trained and    regional government.
general                  experience in the      and other             Kurdish oil and gas     service provider to      experienced security     It has treaties and
construction,            oil and gas industry   enterprises           industry.               offer Internet           professionals.           the right to issue
and design-build         in the Kurdish Re-     operating complex                             connections to           Ster Security has        internationally
services to suit         gion of Iraq.          network                                       the Kurdistan region.    the ability to meet      backed policies.
every project.                                  infrastructures.                              TarinNet is the          a variety of unique
                                                                                              biggest ISP              security needs.
                                                                                              in Kurdistan.

                                                                  Erbil-Ainkawa, Kurdistan (Iraq)
                                                                    Phone: +964 750 256 9200

                                                            Mail address: P.O. Box 214079. Dubai, UAE
                                                                     Fax: +971 (0) 4431 5066


Making the most
of the region’s
Estimates of crude oil and natural gas
                                                                        Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister for Natural Resources, Dr. Ashti Hawrami (L),
                                                                        the KRG Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani (2nd L), and the KRG President, Masoud Barzani

reserves place Kurdistan on a par with
                                                                        (3rd L) look on as Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani (4th L), shakes hands with executives from
                                                                        Addax Petroleum and Genel Enerji during an event to celebrate the commencement of oil

global giants like Libya and Nigeria
                                                                        exports from the autonomous region of Kurdistan on June 1, 2009 in the Kurdish city of Erbil, Iraq.

        lthough the first efforts to find oil and gas in the Kurd-   zones may also hold more than 11.7 trillion cubic feet (TcF) of
        istan Region of Iraq began more than eight decades ago,      natural gas, with a total in excess of 82 TcF located in proven
        it was not until 2003, in the wake of the US-led coali-      and unproven reserves.
        tion’s entry into Iraq, that it became a magnet for major      Prior to the passing of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s
multinational players in the exploration and production (E&P)        (KRG) ambitious oil and gas law in 2007, which replicates many
sector and, today, is one of the hottest prospects worldwide.        of the provisions of the most innovative international legis-
  Experts estimate potential crude oil reserves in the Region        lation and guarantees transparency, a competitive environ-
range from 10 billion to as much as 45 billion barrels, which        ment, and the maximization of revenues for the government,
would rank Kurdistan alongside Nigeria and Libya in terms of         six overseas companies were already actively undertaking ex-
importance. In addition, gas fields lying solely in the upper pay    ploration here.
                                                                       With the introduction of Production Sharing Contracts
                                                                     (PSCs) in 2007, which require privately-owned operators to
                                                                     invest in public-sector initiatives in education and health-
                                                                     care, as well as in vital infrastructure for the industry, more
                                                                     than 35 international companies have signed agreements
                                                                     with the KRG. After payment of royalties and profits, the KRG
                                                                     retains a 90% share of production, with the remaining 10% for
                                                                     the contractor.
                                                                       By the end of 2008, the Region’s Ministry of Natural Resourc-
                                                                     es had awarded 30 exploration blocks, from a total of 49 conces-
                                                                     sions, to various companies to be developed, alone or together,
                                                                     with the Kurdistan Exploration and Production Company (KEP-
                                                                     CO). KEPCO retains four blocks exclusively, with another 15 still
                                                                     pending announcements and award decisions.
                                                                                             SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ


Wildcat spirit lives on in the oil fields
Established players and smaller upstarts prove that pioneer status still pays dividends

    mmediately after the end of                                                                            June 2009, the UK’s Heritage
    Ba’ath party rule in 2003, in-                                                                         Oil announced a merger with
    ternational companies be-                                                                              Genel Enerji, part of Turkey’s
    gan to reveal their interest                                                                           Cukurova Holdings Group
in developing energy produc-                                                                               and, by August, rumors were
tion in Kurdistan. Despite de-                                                                             rife Royal Dutch Shell might
cades of neglect, areas likely to                                                                          snap Heritage up in an acqui-
yield reserves of crude oil and                                                                            sitions spiral.
natural gas had been identified,                                                                              “If you look at Iraq, for the
and private contractors and the                                                                            last thirty years, there was no
administration, alike, rushed to                                                                           investment,” notes Mehmet
harness the potential.                                                                                     Sepil, Genel’s CEO. “Now there
   DNO International was                                                                                   is room for any investor with
founded in 1971, and, ear-                                                                                 imagination and some capital.
ly on, worked offshore fields                                                                              There are 115 billion barrels of
in Europe’s North Sea. Price                                                                               proven oil [and] many experts
fluctuations forced the com-                                                                               believe there are up to 300 bil-
pany to switch focus and it                                                                                lion. People should come here
developed its first onshore                                                                                and invest.”
project in the Yemen in 1998. Genel Enerji operates in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (    Another company that has
Its initial one-year deal with                                                                             already come and invested,
the KRG has already paid off handsomely, as Helge Eide, its and is reaping the dividends, is WesternZagros. The Canadian
president, explains.                                                       company, created in 2007 and previously part of Western Oil
   “Following the successful experience in Yemen, we looked for Sands, had been testing the waters in Iraq since the 1990s, but
new opportunities and came across this unique chance in the only came to Kurdistan in 2004, in light of security concerns.
Kurdistan Region,” Eide recalls. “We have had major achieve- To date, the company has spudded two wells in the south of
ments [here] in a very short period of time. We discovered the the Region, at the Kalar-Bawanoor block, close to the huge
Tawke oil field and, to date, have drilled some 18 wells. We com- Kirkuk field.
menced test production one year after discovery, and now –                    “We sat down with the KRG and showed them our ideas, and
three years later – we are exporting oil from the field.”                  worked cooperatively with them,” explains Simon Hatfield, CEO
   Tawke, which pumps 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) and is of WesternZagros. “The other thing that impressed [them] was
jointly developed with Genel Enerji, awarded a 25% share in that we were prepared to spend money inside Kurdistan. We ac-
the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) at the end of 2008. In cepted the risk, and they accepted our willingness to take it.”


Old friends establish a new partnership
The Kurdistan Region is rapidly becoming                                   roads and power infrastructure, and is now planning a $25-mil-
                                                                           lion development of 500 houses and a shopping mall.
an incubator for modest-sized companies                                       Altun remains active in trade, and recently signed a contract
with big ambitions                                                         with Emirates-based Super General, as well as undertaking joint

                                                                           ventures with firms from Iran and Turkey. “Now we are look-
        ccording to Ministry of Trade data, the number of pri-             ing for more joint ventures, as a strategy for growth in the fu-
        vate companies in business in Iraq has increased by al-            ture,” says Aziz.
        most 500% since 2003. As recovery consolidates, rapid                 Khal Group was also established in 1993, and set up its own con-
        growth is now the rule. Nowhere is this more obvious               struction subsidiary in Erbil in 2001 and a trading offshoot, Su-
than Kurdistan, where government initiatives and foreign capi-             perstar Commercial Company, in 2004, says Mr. Latif, who now
tal have created the perfect breeding ground for small- and me-            heads up Superstar. As the companies began to develop, their
dium-sized companies.                                                      leaders decided to leverage synergies with former partners.
  A prime example of how individual businesses can become a                   “Until 1998, we were working together in foods and textiles,
rapidly expanding group is the partnership of Superstar Com-               [and] with a transportation company between Dubai, Turkey,
pany, Khal Group, and Altun Group. The latter began trading                and Iraq,” Latif says. “In 1998, we decided to separate. After the
tea and chocolate in 1993, before opening a supermarket in                 previous regime collapsed, we gathered again, enlarged our
2002. Rising demand led to the creation of the Altun Group for             businesses, and started working together.”
Construction in 2004.                                                         Khoshawi M. Mahmood of Khal Group concurs, and reveals
  Idres M. Aziz, of Altun Group explains: “Since we were in the            their shared goal: “We have three strategies for the future: build-
trading business, we were thinking of having a construction                ing a very strong construction company; having a powerful trad-
company, because they are complementary.” To date, it has built            ing company for our brands; and [getting] involved in industry.”

                           TO PUSH, TO MOVE, TO GROW
                             THE REGION OF KURDISTAN...
                                                                                                  TO DO IT


               SUPER STAR GROUP                                   KHAL GROUP                                  ALTUN GROUP
              Iraq-Erbil Khanzad Street                   Arbil - 60m Street near New City            Iraq-Erbil St. Mistaufy 30m Street
                near Jimhury Hospital                        Tel : 00 964-66-257-4028                     Tel : 00 964-770-152-4501
             Tel : 00 964-750-445-8566                    Email :                   Email:
           Email :                                                          
                                                                                         SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ

   KAR GROUP                                                        500,000 pieces of furniture for 2,800 secondary schools.”
                                                                       Joint ventures with overseas companies, like Bechtel Par-

From rebuilding                                                     sons, provided much more than a chance to see how others do
                                                                    things. “We gained know-how [and] were able to manage re-
                                                                    sources,” Karim points out. “We started from scratch, but our

the past to building                                                partnerships saved us a lot of time, resourc-
                                                                    es, and money.”
                                                                       In 2004, Kar Group became the first home-

the future                                                          grown company to develop an oil field here,
                                                                    at Khormala, which now produces 100,0000
                                                                    barrels per day. “Since [we were] leaders in
                                                                    civil engineering, we used this to jump in-
Lessons learned from international joint-                           to the oil and gas sector,” its president ex-
venture partnerships give hardworking                               plains.                                          BAZ R. KARIM,
                                                                       The group has also constructed pipelines President of
group the chance to be first in its field                           from the massive Kormor gas field, which KAR Group

                                                                    is managed by Dana Gas Company. The first
        ar Group – “Kar” in Kurdish means “meticulous and           gas flared at Kormor in August last year, Karim notes proud-
        hard work” – started out in 1999 to unite various com-      ly, and the project supplies gas to Erbil’s new power plant, the
        panies active in energy and civil engineering. Its pro-     first privately-owned power-generation facility in Kurdistan.
        fessionalism and vision have made it a trusted partner         For 2009, Kar Group set its sights on a new challenge, which
for international public and private-sector organizations, and it   it successfully achieved in July, after just seven months work:
currently employs some 2,000 people.                                the construction of the first private-sector refinery in Iraq.
  “Our team was very active in rebuilding Iraq after 2003, un-      Developed, thanks to the market-friendly provisions of Kurd-
der the umbrella of USAID,” says Baz R. Karim, the group’s          istan’s hydrocarbons law, which supports privately owned
president. “We did more than 2500 projects in water networks        mid- and downstream activities, it is slated to reach 75,000
and to renovate government buildings. We [also] supplied            barrel capacity by 2010.

                                                              IRAQ’S TOMORROW
                                                              OIL & GAS • POWER • CIVIL ENGINEERING • CONSTRUCTION

                                                                    • E-mail:


Mobile operators go head
to head for Kurds’ talktime
While just one in three Iraqis has access
to a cellphone, services offered by two
providers in Kurdistan mean two-thirds
of the population are connected

       he importance of connectivity – to the Internet, and to     Iraq, and especially in the Kurdish region, ever received was the
       one another by fixed or mobile telephony -- in every as-    one he wanted them to hear.
       pect of our lives cannot be overestimated. While, just 30      Although David Bohigian, of the US Department of Com-
       years ago, almost no-one had a cordless telephone, much     merce, writing in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG)
less a personal computer and web access, today few in the US       “Invest in the Future” publication in 2008, estimated the num-
and Europe know anyone who can survive for long without a          ber of Iraqi cellphone lines to have reached 10 million – around
cellphone or Google.                                               30% of the population – Kurdistan leads the way today with over
  During decades, however, when the rest of the world was          four million subscribers.
communicating more and more, via faster, cheaper, and bet-            The two Kurdish mobile providers maintain a growing presence
ter media, Saddam Hussein ensured the only message people in       across the whole of Iraq, too, as they battle it out for consumers’
                                                                   hearts and minds. Both Asiacell and Korek were set up before 2003,
                                                                   despite enormous challenges, and both have prospered since the
                                                                   Region won its freedom, making people freer to talk than ever.
                                                                      “Asiacell was established in 1999,” says the
                                                                   company’s chairman, Faruk Mustafa Rasool,
                                                                   “and we activated our network at the begin-
                                                                   ning of 2000 for the first time in the histo-
                                                                   ry of Kurdistan and Iraq. We currently have
                                                                   more than 7 million subscribers, and Asiacell
                                                                   is the only telecom company that covers the
                                                                   18 governorates of the whole Federation.”
                                                                      Asiacell began with a licence in the Suly FARUK
                                                                   governate in northern Iraq, and expanded, MUSTAFA RASOOL,
                                                                   first regionally and then nationally. Today, Chairman of Asiacell
                                                                   it offers coverage nationwide, serves more
                                                                   than 2.5 million clients in Kurdistan alone, plans to reach nine
                                                                   million across Iraq by the end of 2009, and has roaming agree-
                                                                   ments with more than 185 operators in some 100 countries.
                                                                      Rasool is bullish about prospects, despite the slowdown in
                                                                   cellular revenues around the world: “We are continuing expan-
                                                                   sion of our facilities,” he declares, “and have allocated $500 mil-
                                                                   lion for investments. Chili and Nokia-Siemens are [among] our
                                                                   suppliers, and I believe this is an indicator that we have strong
                                                                   ties outside our borders.”
                                                                      For its part, competitor Korek has traditionally concentrat-
                                                                   ed its service offer in Kurdistan, and has developed a subscrib-
                                                                   er base of some two million people since its establishment in Er-
                                                                   bil in 2000. Having paid $1.25 billion for a nationwide licence in
                                                                   2007, its goal is to expand coverage to the rest of Iraq, and it has
                                                                   already achieved success in areas such as Kirkuk and Mosul, and
                                                                   will roll out services in Baghdad and Basra, soon.
                                                                                     SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ


Returning to its roots, Kurdistan blooms again
Sustainable methods and niche
                                                        rchaeological finds have               Aside from the apples, pears,
                                                        shown people have worked            peaches, and plums, as well as more
markets promise green shoots                            the land in Iraq for over 10,000    exotic fare, such as pomegranates,
in the land which once was the                          years, but, in the last few de-
                                                 cades, internal conflict, external
                                                                                            figs, and pistachios, which grow in
                                                                                            abundance in its orchards, Kurdistan
breadbasket of the Middle East                   sanctions, and poor planning have          has mature stocks of walnut, pine,
                                                 reduced agricultural production to         and oak trees, much in demand with
                                                 the point where more than 80% of ba-       the timber industry. In the 1990s, a
                                                 sic foodstuffs are now imported.           third of its territory was classified as
                                                    The United Nations Oil-For-Food         oak forest, and sustainable practices
                                                 Program, designed to alleviate the         aim to ensure this figure remains sol-
                                                 economic embargo, exacerbated the          id as the proverbial oak in the future.
                                                 decline of local agriculture, as subsi-       Debbane for Modern Agriculture
                                                 dized produce was purchased with           (DEMA, see box) is also extending
                                                 profits from crude oil. Nevertheless,      Kurdistan’s growing season and capac-
                                                 agriculture remains the nation’s           ity through greenhouse projects na-
 DEBBANE GROUP                                   largest employer, and ranks second         tionwide. Beginning with a four-unit
                                                 only to oil as an income earner.           trial, the results so impressed the gov-
 cOmmITTED TO KURDISTAN’S                           Thirty years ago, the Kurdistan         ernment they ordered 200, explains
 AGRIcUlTURAl DEvElOPmENT                        Region provided almost half of Iraq’s      DEMA’s CEO, Saad Z. Farhat. Now, he
                                                 wheat crop, and a third of its bar-        adds, there are over 1,000, and, “by
                                                 ley. But, by the 1980s, just 1.1 million   2011, the number of greenhouses in
 Debbane for Modern Agriculture (DEMA)           hectares of the Region’s four mil-         Kurdistan should reach 2,500.”
 is part of Debbane Group, founded in 1952.      lion were being farmed, as Saddam             Husbandry is undergoing a renais-
 DEMA was established in Iraq in 1999 to         Hussein’s conflict with the Kurd-          sance, too. The archetypal image of
 represent reputable multinational sup-          ish Peshmerga fighters brought the         a Kurdish shepherd leading his flock
 pliers of pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, and   countryside to a halt.                     is giving way to intensive methods of
 equipment. DEMA’s mission is to develop            In Kurdistan, today, agriculture        animal rearing to serve the demand
 the agricultural sector in Iraq by providing    is faring better than southern Iraq,       of the growing population. In the
 solutions and new techniques to farmers         with local produce accounting for          mid-1990s, the Region yielded just
 and related organizations. For professional     over a third of all food consumed in       200,000 chickens annually. Now, with
 and prompt service, six branches were es-       2007. Historically the breadbasket         400 poultry projects regionally, more
 tablished across Iraq and a team of 35 spe-     for Mesopotamia, large-scale proj-         than four million chickens and 120
 cialized agronomists is ready to offer the      ects aimed at promoting niche ac-          million eggs are produced every year.
 best consultancy.                               tivities are providing new hope for           Fertile soils, a benign climate, and
                                                 agriculture and related industries.        precipitation cycles, which mirror Eu-
                                                 As Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minis-         rope’s growing seasons, provide Kurd-
                                                 ter of the Kurdistan Regional Gov-         istan with natural advantages, and
                                                 ernment, said in a January speech:         careful management of its resources
                   “Agriculture is the backbone of our        looks set to guarantee its agricultural
                                                 economy.”                                  sector will flourish anew.


Off the beaten track in “The Other Iraq”
                                                                                                                     nized trips, and currently number in the hun-
                                                                                                                     dreds, with demand rising every year.
                                                                                                                        The capital, Erbil, thought to be the world’s
                                                                                                                     oldest continually inhabited city, is home to
                                                                                                                     some of Iraq’s best hotels, as well as the Region’s
                                                                                                                     most spectacular real-estate developments.
                                                                                                                        “When people come here, they don’t on-
                                                                                                                     ly need a place to stay, but also somewhere to
                                                                                                                     visit,” says Nijyar H. Shemdin, the CEO of Iraq’s

                                                                                                                     MECRI (Middle East Corporation for Recon-
Increasing                                           hile Baghdad might not top every-
                                                     one’s list of destinations, “The Other
                                                                                                                     struction and Investment).
                                                                                                                        Founded in 1996, MECRI developed the five-star,
numbers of Iraqi                                     Iraq” attracts those who prefer their                           167-room, Erbil International Hotel, operated by
                                                     travel off the beaten track. As well as                         the family-owned Nasri Group. MECRI and Nasri
and international                         a safe environment, Kurdistan offers antiquities                           Group are also working on the Dream City residen-
visitors are                              aplenty – with 3,000 archaeological sites – and                            tial development and the Shekhallah Trade Mall.
                                          the chance to follow in the footsteps of goat-                                “We are businessmen, [too],” concurs Ramez
visiting the                              herds in its majestic mountains.                                           Nasri, Vice Chairman of Nasri Group, “and when
Kurdistan Region                             Iraqis come in droves, with 23,000 visiting                             investors come, they need hotels that meet inter-
                                          Kurdistan this summer, a sixfold increase over                             national standards. We built a bridge so that inves-
                                          2008. Overseas tourists usually arrive on orga-                            tors will come and see the reality of Kurdistan.”

  We have a dream
                                        The major hotel in Kurdistan region and the only five           MECRI executes the residential project of Dream City located in Erbil-Northern Iraq.
                                        stars hotel in Erbil. Situated in the heart of the city. Only
                                        2 km away from the city center and 15 km from the air-          Dream City is located about 2 kilometers south of the famous and ancient Erbil Citadel
                                        port. The hotel food & beverage outlets offers a variety of     on an area of one million square meters, surrounded by a fence of 4000 meters long
                                        fine international and local cuisine, and drinks. All rooms     and accessed via four gates. Dream City project, when complete, will contain 1200
                                        are lavishly furnished with luxurious amenities and             villas with various designs to choose from, and built on plots varying in size from 250
                                        equipped with satellite TV, internet, hair dryer, IDD tele-     to 900m2. It has a system of treed and well lit main and side roads.
                                        phone, voice mail, in-room international connection, mini
                                        bar, digital safety deposit boxes and a full serviced health    Dream City project has now more than 300 newly built and privately owned villas.
                                        club to ensure the maximum of comfort and safety.               We aim at the best environment and good living conditions. Dream City project is
                                                                                                        designed to ensure all the needs of the city like shopping malls, multiple schools for
                                                                       A member of            Hotels    boys and girls, kindergarten, day care, restaurants, market places, health center, main-
                                                                                                        tenance offices, as well as a social and cultural center, and a pool and play places.

                                                                                    ERBIL                                                                                           MECRI
                                                                        International Hotel                                                 Shorsh Qtr., Erbil Tobacco Factory, Erbil – Iraq
                              Telephone : +964 66 223 4460/70 • Fax : +44 70 694 10005                                                                           Telephone : 066 2529685
                                                            Email :                                                                          Email :
                                                         Website :                                                                         Website :
                                                                                               SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION / KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ


Fighting a new battle
to make life better
One of the Region’s first and biggest
business groups is committed to
working in every sector to raise
Kurds’ living standards

        he long-term purpose of Nokan Group is to make daily
        life easier in this destroyed country,” explains Dler Said
        Majid, the group’s chairman. “This country needs eco-
        nomic diversification and our company works constant-
ly in that direction.”
   Nokan Group was founded in the early nineties, following the
Kurdish uprising of 1991, in which the group’s chairman per-
sonally took part. It began as three separate companies – Chia,
Kurdistan, and Nokan – which were involved in reconstruction
efforts, and has grown over nearly two decades to become a
highly diversified investment and industrial conglomerate.
   “When we went to the mountains to fight, we had very clear
purposes. Now we have achieved the majority of those purpos- NOKAN GROUP is active in every sector to rebuild and develop Kurdistan.
es: we have our own government, our own parliament, and our
own constitution,” Majid points out. “There is still a lot to be
accomplished. We have implemented many of our hopes and right now. There are many wells drilling and many fields in the
goals, but still have many targets to reach.”                        process of exploration.”
   Today, the group remains committed to reaching those goals,           As a conglomerate, Nokan Group looks after the interests of
but as Nokan’s chairman acknowledges, the goalposts have numerous investors from around the world, and manages sig-
shifted: “Our mission now is to provide services to our nation nificant capital interests. It already has developed strong work-
in the reconstruction and development of infrastruc-                                 ing relationships with key partners from Turkey and
ture and to raise the living standards of the region,” he                            the Arab World, and is now aiming to look beyond its
states. “This is still a fight, but in a different way.”                             neighbors’ borders for new business ventures.
   At present, the group is made up of nine compa-                                      “We are ready to work with any kind of internation-
nies, and is headquartered in Sulemany, with offices                                 al partnership,” declares the group’s chairman, “and
in Baghdad, Dubai, and London. It is active in a dizzy-                              are ready to [create] joint ventures with any interna-
ing array of sectors from internal and external trade                                tional organization or company [that is] willing to de-
to heavy and light industry, from construction and en-                               velop added value projects in Kurdistan and lraq.”
gineering to tourism and airlines, and from distribu- DLER SAID MAjID,                  “International companies are needed in all sectors,”
tion and information technology to, of course, the en- Chairman of                   he continues, “but the most urgent are [those] provid-
ergy sector.                                                NOKAN GROUP              ing services to our people, rebuilding infrastructure,
   “All sectors are equally important,” Majid argues.                                and developing our country.”
“Each has a specific goal and all of them are essential and com-         Majid concludes with an invitation to investors from the
plementary. They all contribute to improve the current eco- United States to take a closer look at the opportunities on of-
nomic situation of our country. However, when it comes to as- fer in the Kurdistan region. “Having more American companies
sets and generating immediate resources, the energy sector is is very good and very important,” he concludes. “I believe that
the most important one for us now.”                                  local companies and businessmen all over lraq would welcome
   Nokan is currently building an oil refinery, which the group’s these companies’ investment.”
chairman hopes will grow to become the largest facility in Iraq,
and which has been strategically timed to profit from the June
                                                                      JACQUES FERNÁNDEZ       STEPHANIE HUERTAS    JAMES           ALI KARANI
1, 2009 commencement of oil exports from the Kurdistan Re-                  DE SANTOS             MARKETING      SOUTHERAN          REGIONAL
gion. As Majid notes, “there is a big need to develop that sector       EDITORIAL DIRECTOR        DIRECTOR         WRITER         COORDINATOR
building your future
Nokan Group, since its establishment in 1991, has grown to be-       Nokan Group is a staunch supporter of investment in the Kurd-
come arguably the largest group in the Kurdistan Region consisting   istan Region and is more than qualified to work alongside any
of 11 departments and 9 companies, with over 25 offices across       company. Our commitment is to reconstruct the region from its
the region, as well as offices in Dubai and London. Nokan Group      current state to a modern and vibrant one that will be on par with
acknowledges that their goals will not be achieved over night        international standards. We offer both friendship and expertise
and that’s why the 11 separate departments are all lead by           to all those that come into the Kurdistan Region with the same
experts in their respective fields to achieve the short term         objectives as our own.
goals as well as the group’s long term ambition. Due to the
demands of Nokan Group, the group is constantly build-               Our objective is to provide complete customer or partners satis-
ing a stronger human recourses team. Nokan Group believes            faction for the best quality with High Stander Iraqi & International
that a well trained and multi lingual, technical, administrative     Specification, through strong financial resources for small as well
and managerial staff is the group’s biggest asset.                   as multi-millions dollar projects. This commitment applies to de-
Nokan Group is continually striving to improve the way               sign, constructs, trade, investing, negotiated and competitive bid
the group works to meet the region’s ever-growing                    markets. Once selected, we provide inexperienced, knowledge-
and ever-changing demands.                                           able personnel to manage projects from start to completion.

                                                                     Our pledge is to ensure best quality deals in a safe work envi-
Nokan Group                                                          ronment while meeting and exceeding the clients or partners

looks forward to a promising                                         expectations. Through this dedication to excellence, our relation-
                                                                     ship with clients will be honest and fair, building bridges of con-
future of prosperity and hope                                        fidence and trust within our foundation & with our customers.


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