Ipswich team helps rebuild Iraq

A TEAM of Ipswich workers are doing their bit to rebuild Iraq by helping the war-ravaged country's oil industry get back on its feet.The specialists from CompAir on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate have spent the past eight months building explosion-proof compressors which will allow oil plants in Basra, in Iraq's south, to resume production of the country's most valuable resource.

A TEAM of Ipswich workers are doing their bit to rebuild Iraq by helping the war-ravaged country's oil industry get back on its feet.

The specialists from CompAir on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate have spent the past eight months building explosion-proof compressors which will allow oil plants in Basra, in Iraq's south, to resume production of the country's most valuable resource.

The first of three shipments is expected to arrive in the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr this month and the company hopes it will be the first of many.

CompAir has won a second contract to supply equipment to Iraq, which has one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, and today it revealed it expects the country to become a major new market for Ipswich-built compressors.

Colin Fountain, export sales director for CompAir, said: “The Iraq market is really re-emerging.

“We're actually expecting a repeat order very soon. We've been told the contract has been awarded.”

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CompAir first became involved in the Iraqi oil industry in 1999 when it received an order under the UN-administered Oil for Food Programme for six machines worth £1.2million.

The first compressors and accompanying equipment were delivered to Iraq toward the end of 2000 but after US President George Bush announced the official end of the war in Iraq last year the company discovered the equipment had never been installed.

Mr Fountain said: “At the back end of 2003 we re-contacted our agent in Iraq and it transpired those machines were either pillaged or damaged by bombing.

He added: “After the war the priority was restoration and reconstruction. With the immediate need for power and water to be restored the Iraqi people realised they would need to be self-funding in quite a big way to rebuild Iraq.”

CompAir was then approached by Basra-based Southern Oil Company (SOC) and asked to bid again to supply the same equipment as it did in 2000 and, in March, it won the contract to build the compressors again.

Between 15 and 20 people at CompAir's Ipswich plants have since been working on the project and the arrival in Iraq of the first US$250,000 shipment will herald an important step in the company's return to Iraq.

The machines provide clean air in desert conditions to the gauges and valves crucial for operating the oil fields.

Mr Fountain said: “We are expecting Iraq to become a very important market for us.”

In January a delegation of oil workers from Iraq will travel to Ipswich for training on how to operate the CompAir equipment.

Weblink: www.compair.com

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