July 29, 2019 - August 9, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Conducts Oil and Gas Program for Four Basrah Universities

From July 29 to August 9, CLDP and the University of Houston/Petroleum Technology Initiative (UH/PTI ), conducted at UH a program focused on “Project Management in Exploration for, and Production of Hydrocarbons."

This program was developed over the course of two years at the behest of the US Consulate in Basrah. The governorate of Basrah is the location of Iraq’s main hydrocarbon resources and the center of Iraq’s oil and gas activities. (As a result of past CLDP activities, there is a sister city agreement between Basrah and Houston). The Consulate is now closed because  of  security incidents that occurred during demonstrations in Basrah. One of the reasons for these demonstrations was the  high level of unemployment among Basrah graduates, a key factor of political instability. The Consulate asked CLDP to develop this program in order to equip Basrah petroleum engineering students with the knowledge and skills required for employment with International Oil Companies (IOC) and with international oil service companies operating in Basrah. The IOC consider that Basrah graduates have good technical skills but lack project management skills.

The two-week course in Houston was intended for delegations from four Basrah universities with petroleum engineering programs. (A professor and two students from each one of the four universities). Despite the fact that the professors from three of the universities were unable to attend for visa reasons, the program ended on a positive note, thanks to the unique expertise of the PTI faculty and to the exceptional quality of the work done by the Iraqi students. A draft MoU outlining next possible steps was drafted by CLDP after consultations with UH and with Iraqi ministries.

June 25, 2019 - June 27, 2019

MENA: Regional Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference

On June 25-27, 2019, CLDP organized a regional conference on mediation in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing together more than 110 participants from the justice sectors of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria. The conference focused on the use of mediation to resolve commercial disputes with sessions facilitated by subject-matter experts from the UN Commission on International Trade Law, the International Chamber of Commerce, JAMS Mediation, Arbitration and ADR Services, and current and former U.S. judges. Topics included the role of courts in encouraging mediation, the legal framework supporting mediation, enforcement of mediated settlements, mediation rules and practices, and standards for the conduct of mediators. Additionally, each delegation presented on recent developments in mediation in their countries: Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain are considering adopting new mediation statutes. CLDP hopes that this program will lead to increased recourse to mediation as a tool to resolve contractual disputes and ultimately contribute to a more attractive legal environment for cross-border business in the region.

May 6, 2019 - May 10, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Organizes Consultations in Houston For Four Chancellors of Basrah Universities

Just as Houston is, in the U.S., the center of the oil and gas sector, in Iraq, Basrah is the center of the oil and gas sector. In fact, for this reason, as a result of past CLDP work, there is now a sister-city agreement between Houston and Basrah.

From May 3, 2019, through May 9, 2019, at the behest of the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah,  CLDP organized in Houston, at the time of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), consultations for the chancellors of four Basrah universities that have programs focused on oil and gas: Basrah University, Southern Technical University, Basrah University for Oil and Gas, and the Basrah Oil Training Institute. On the U.S. side, the delegation was led by Consul General Timmy Davis. While the delegation had several OTC-related activities, the core of the consultations was focused on potential cooperation between the Basrah universities and the University of Houston.

OTC-Related Activities

The four chancellors attended OTC and, there, had meetings with international oil companies and oil service companies present in Basrah. The delegates also took part in events organized on the sidelines of OTC, in particular events organized by the Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

Potential Cooperation with the University of Houston

There is significant political instability in Basrah, because the Basrah province, while potentially very wealthy owing to its vast resources in oil and gas, is beset  by difficulties, in particular a high level of unemployment and drastic water pollution. A key reason for the level of unemployment is that, often, universities do not provide their graduates with the knowledge and skills required by industry and, as a result, these graduates cannot find jobs.

CLDP has a special mandate from the Department of State to ensure that there is, in Basrah, close cooperation between academia and industry, to ensure that academia provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed by industry, in particular in the oil and gas sector.  

At the University of Houston, College of Technology, there is an institute, called the Petroleum Technology Initiative (PTI). PTI’s mission is “ to equip students and experienced professionals with knowledge and skills needed to find a solution for challenges facing Energy Industry, enhance their technical and professional competence and ability to create more value to the Companies.” CLDP has been in contact with PTI for several years, initially for work conducted in Ukraine.  During the May 2019 consultations, CLDP organized two half-days of meetings between PTI and the Basrah delegation. The outcome of these meetings was a decision by the delegation and PTI to organize, at PTI, in August 2019, a two-week course for a delegation of professors and students from all four universities. The focus of this course was to be  on “Project Management in Exploration for and Production of Oil and Gas”. This topic was chosen because, based upon surveys conducted with international oil companies by the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah and by CLDP, proficient though Basrah petroleum engineering graduates are in terms of technical skills, they lack project management skills.

In April 2019, in preparation for the May consultations,  CLDP had met at the University of Houston with other colleges of potential interest to Basrah. This was the case in particular with the Cullen College of Engineering and with the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. At both colleges, CLDP had identified potential areas of cooperation with Basrah universities.  Water pollution is a major challenge in Basrah and the Cullen College has unique research capabilities in water pollution remediation. Also, now that ISIS has been defeated, Iraq’s tourism sector will expand and will need well-trained university graduates; the Hilton college is among the best in the U.S. for hospitality and hotel management training.

During the May consultations, CLDP organized meetings for the Basrah delegation, at the University of Houston, with the Cullen College of Engineering and with the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. As a result of these meetings:

  • A process for generating joint proposals for research in water pollution remediation was agreed upon between the delegation and the Cullen College of Engineering.
  • A process for the Hilton college to provide support for a college of tourism that will be created at Basrah university was agreed upon.

In their evaluations of the consultations, evaluations conducted  in Consul General Davis’ presence, the delegates praised very highly the quality of the consultations.

April 11, 2019 - April 18, 2019

CLDP to sponsor Middle East Law Schools to compete in the 26th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

On April 11-18, 2019, CLDP sponsored two Middle East law schools: Iraqyia College of Law and Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunisto participate in the 26th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot) in Vienna, Austria. 

April 4, 2019 - April 6, 2019

Iraq: CLDP facilitates strategic investment planning for provincial investment commissions for the Southern Governorates of Iraq

On April 4-6, CLDP led a delegation of investment commissioners from Iraq’s key southern governorates to participate in the FDI conference hosted by the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA).  The conference provided attendees with the necessary resources on investment promotion and investment market trends.  Moreover, the conference provided a unique opportunity for Iraq, a current WAIPA member, to network with other promotion agency officials from similar economies, and share lessons learned, as well as, success stories.  On the margins of the workshop, CLDP, guided the delegation and conducted consultations on their respective investment plans and priorities.

March 11, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Leads Franchising Conference in Baghdad

On Monday, March 11, 2019, in Baghdad, Iraq, at the behest of the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah, CLDP led a conference on franchising at the headquarters of the Iraqi agency in charge of foreign investment, the National Investment Committee (NIC). The purpose of the conference was to highlight the success already achieved by CLDP in terms of franchising by U.S. firms, particularly in the Baghdad and Basrah provinces, so that the audience, composed of Iraqi firms from other provinces, could understand how to become franchisees of U.S. firms. Iraqi media covered the seminar extensively, quoting U.S. Consul General Timmy Davis on his comments regarding business partnerships and starting new franchises. The NIC noted that companies like Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s are interested in entering the Iraqi market in Kurdistan and the Southern provinces. Franchise agreements between U.S. franchisors and Iraqi franchisees benefit both groups, granting franchisors access to the Iraqi market and creating revenue and opportunities for management experience for franchisees. For the last five years, CLDP, working in close cooperation with FCS, has created opportunities for Iraqi firms interested in becoming franchisees and built the capacity of these Iraqi firms to enter into durable franchising agreements with U.S. franchisors.

March 5, 2019 - March 9, 2019

MENA Region: CLDP Hosts the 9th Annual Middle East Pre-Moot

On March 5-9, CLDP, in partnership with the Royal University for Women (RUW), the Bahrain Center for Dispute Resolution, Mena Chambers Bahrain, and the Center for International Legal Studies of the University of Pittsburgh, hosted the 9th Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot at RUW in Riffa, Bahrain. The competition brought together 17 teams consisting of more than 100 students from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The University of Colombo from Sri Lanka won the competition and the Royal Institute of Colombo, also from Sri Lanka, took second place. Before the competition, CLDP’s Vis Moot mentors and coaches conducted a three-day training. This five-day program was designed to prepare students for the Willem C. Vis Moot Competition (“the Vis Moot”) that takes place annually in April in Hong Kong and Vienna. The Vis Moot is the most prestigious international moot on commercial arbitration where more than 400 teams from over 100 countries compete on oral and written advocacy. The Vis Moot experience helps equip the participating students with the skills necessary to handle commercial business disputes and bolsters the rule of law in their respective countries.

February 24, 2019 - February 27, 2019

CLDP Visits IFA Convention

CLDP, in cooperation with the Department's Global Franchise Team (ITA and USEAC) and the International Franchise Association (IFA), participated in the International Franchise Association's Annual Convention on February 24 - 27, 2019 to promote US Franchise expansion into Iraq.  Since 2014, CLDP, alongside ITA, USEAC and IFA, have been working the with US Mission to Iraq to develop a cadre of qualified prospective franchisees, improve the business legal environment, and attract US franchisor interest in Iraq's ripe market.  Franchising provides a proven global model for Iraq to create new jobs, increase investment, and diversify its oil dependent economy.  To date, over 10 mega shopping malls have been built, and a multiple of known brands have begun expansion, including, Hardee's, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Tootie Frutti. CLDP Attorney-Adviser Mais Abousy participated as a speaker at the 2019 International Franchise Association Convention, and met with U.S. franchise companies to provide insight to the commercial and legal franchise environment in Iraq's Southern Governorates.

November 12, 2018 - November 15, 2018

Iraq: CLDP Supports U.S. Companies Working in Southern Iraq’s Oil and Gas Industry

On November 12-15, 2018, in Abu Dhabi, CLDP supported U.S. Consul General to the Southern Governorates Timothy Davis in reassuring U.S. oil and gas industry representatives of the U.S. government’s commitment to support the development of economic and legal environment in southern Iraq. Recently, the U.S. Department of State made an unprecedented move to close diplomatic and military operations in southern Iraq, due to rising costs and security concerns. The closure severely impacted U.S.-Iraq relations, specifically southern provincial diplomatic engagement.  U.S. companies were concerned that the lack of U.S. presence in Basrah would hamper their operations and future works. In an effort to ease concerns and provide a new economic and diplomatic strategy for U.S. engagement in southern Iraq, CLDP organized a series of meetings for Consul General Davis on the margins of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exposition, the world’s leading conference on oil and gas. Meetings, organized in coordination with the bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Commercial Service in the United Arab Emirates, included Exxon, Chevron, Honeywell UOP, Halliburton, Excelerate Energy, Siemens USA, and other notable engineering, procurement, and construction service providers. In addition to the meetings, CLDP and Consul General Davis are coordinating closely to develop creative ways to sustain engagements with local stakeholders (government and private sector) for the coming year to continue to provide the needed support for U.S. companies working and seeking work in Iraq’s southern governorates.