• Amec Foster Wheeler believes security in region is improving
  • US says Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has lost ability to launch major offensives
  • Fighting continues in key areas including Kirkuk region

UK-based oil and gas multinational Amec Foster Wheeler is looking for potential contracts in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, according to the company’s group president for Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe, Roberto Penno.

“Kurdistan is opening up,” he tells MEED. “In the past we didn’t want to operate in Iraqi Kurdistan. We believe security in the region is improving and we want to explore our options.”

Amec Foster Wheeler’s new interest in the autonomous region comes amid a change in the country’s security dynamic.

After the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) seized large swathes of the country in June last year, including Iraq’s second city Mosul, both Isis and forces loyal to Baghdad and Erbil have become entrenched, with neither side making large gains.

August 2015 marked a year since the US-led bombing campaign against Isis started.

Washington says Isis has lost the ability to operate freely in 30 per cent of the territory that it controlled in August 2014 and can now no longer launch major offensives, thanks in part to the aerial campaign.

Fighting continues in key areas, such as around the Baji refinery and near Kirkuk, but Isis’ activities have largely been limited to small-scale attacks.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices