Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani announced a strategic, tripartite energy agreement yesterday between companies from the Czech Republic, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region to build a new power plant.
The agreement brings together the Czech Export Bank, Czech company PSG International, Turkey's Renaissance Construction and KAR Group, the Kurdistan Region's largest company, to build and finance the power plant.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani described the progress that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had made over the years in meeting the electricity and energy demands of its citizens. He said, "We are continuing our efforts to achieve more progress; we are taking steps to further modernise the electricity sector, and we will continue these efforts until we can provide all the necessities of our dear citizens in this sector throughout the region."
The Czech Republic's Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba, who is leading a large business delegation to Kurdistan, said that he was impressed with the continued economic growth and stressed the importance of strengthening bilateral ties with the KRG.
Minister Kuba said, "Today, we do have a number of Czech companies doing good business in Kurdistan, however, there are many more opportunities for further engagements; we are here to explore those opportunities." He also commended the KRG's efforts to empower the private sector, saying the results had produced notable success.
The new power plant will be designed and implemented by PSG International, with the local assistance of KAR Group, which has already built the Khurmala Dome oil field development. Mr Baz Karim, the CEO of KAR Group, said that the new power plant is one of series of projects that his company hopes to build over the next few years. He said, "This power plant completes our company as a fully integrated energy company, and I am excited to be part of providing stable energy for our country."
He outlined the company's plans to build two strategic pipeline projects designed to pump crude oil from Taq Taq to Khurmala, and from Erbil to Duhok. These pipelines would allow the KRG to conveniently send crude oil to other strategic pipelines to be exported to the international market. The project will be financed by Czech Export Bank in a deal that is likely to attract further foreign and domestic companies.
Mr Tomá' Uvíra, CEO of Czech Export Bank, touched on the need for greater economic cooperation between the Kurdistan Region and the Czech Republic, saying: "I am pleased to represent the first Czech bank to organise financing support to this kind of project. There is a strong desire among Czech businessmen to be more engaged and present in Kurdistan."
The Turkish construction company Renaissance will be responsible for building the plant.
Several KRG, Czech and Iraqi officials participated in the ceremony, including the KRG Minister of Trade and Industry Sinan Chalabi; Minister of Natural Resources Dr Ashti Hawrami; the Head of KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, and the Minister of Electricity Yasin Sheikh Abubakir Mawati. The governor of Erbil, Mr Nawzad Hadi, and several officials and diplomats based in Erbil also attended the event.