MITAS has been involved in Iraq since 2003. Why did the company to choose to get involved here at such an early stage? Were those operations in all of Iraq or focused primarily in the Kurdistan Region?
Our primary purpose in getting involved so early was humanitarian: we wanted to provide assistance and help the Iraqi people rehabilitate many of the energy transmission lines that had been destroyed by neglect, war, or terrorism. At that time, we distributed our projects throughout all of Iraq, so we weren’t focused exclusively on the Kurdistan Region.
What was the situation like in the Kurdistan Region when MITAS first became active here and how has it evolved over time?
In 2004 and 2005, when MITAS first became active in the region, there were huge shortages in virtually every sector, especially in power generation and transmission. These shortages were due in large part to damaged or destroyed infrastructure. However, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stepped in and, after 2006, placed a strong emphasis on power generation. As a result, these areas developed rapidly, and are continuously developing even today.
Right now, available energy is sufficient in terms of meeting demand. However, demand is rising significantly, and the government will need to work hard to find new solutions so as to avoid any and all shortages.
In 2012, MITAS elected to focus exclusively on electrical towers and energy transmission. Can you explain the specifics of that decision?
Currently, MITAS manufactures quite a few pieces of equipment that are specifically designed for energy transmission. These items include galvanized towers for high and low voltage lines, communication towers, lighting poles, and energy transmission poles, which range from 11kn to 333kn to 132kn to 400kn. Then, of course, we specialize in the manufacture and installation of overheard transmission lines. This has been the company’s specialty since 1955.
How would you rate the current transmission and distribution systems in the region?
Overall, I would say the available energy in the Kurdistan Region is sufficient for the demand, at least at the moment. New construction projects like power plants and greater transmission lines should allow the KRG to sell generated power to other governorates throughout the rest of Iraq. I believe there are currently plans for one of the investment projects in the Kurdistan Region to begin selling generated power to cities such as Tikrit and Baiji.
In your opinion, what does the KRG need to do to ensure that this availability of generated power continues into the future?
I think that the KRG have done an excellent job so far, but the government needs to prepare for the future. As I said, right now, available energy is sufficient in terms of meeting demand. However, demand is rising significantly, and the government will need to work hard to find new solutions so as to avoid any and all shortages. I think the KRG needs a plan for the next 20 years to ensure that power generation increases systematically and in pace with demand. Personally, I also believe that the KRG needs to continue to support companies, such as MITAS, that can handle a variety of different obstacles or situations because there will certainly be unforeseen problems in the future.
So, you mentioned that the KRG needs to develop a 20-year plan. How involved do you expect MITAS to be in those next 20 years?
For the past ten years, we’ve been coordinating with the Ministry of Electricity in Baghdad and, for the past seven years, with the Minister of Electricity in Erbil. Because we have completed multiple projects in so many different areas, we have quite a wide base throughout Iraq. With that in mind, there are obviously going to be numerous projects and opportunities in both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and I’m sure we will be involved whenever possible.