NEW YORK (AP) — Industrial manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. said Tuesday it is opening an office in Baghdad to make equipment for Iraq's oil and gas industry and plans to open other offices in the country over the next few years.
The company said it is hiring local employees.
Iraq is home to the world's third largest proven reserves of crude. Oil exports account for more than 90 percent of its state revenue. The country has been struggling to rebuild its oil infrastructure after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Years of international sanctions ravaged Iraq's oil industry. Looting, sabotage and perennial security woes during the war battered the sector even more and stunted investor interest.
"Honeywell is uniquely positioned to play a key role in the reconstruction and development of Iraq," said Norm Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. "We are committed to a full-scale presence in order to most effectively manage projects and build and nurture local relationships."
Last year, Iraq held two bidding rounds and awarded 12 contracts to develop 14 oil fields — all but two located in the south of the country.
Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani has said the country hopes to boost its production capacity to 12 million barrels per day by 2017 with the new contracts — a level that would put it just shy of OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia's current production capacity.
Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell makes turbine propulsion engines, landing systems for aircraft manufacturers, scanning devices, vehicle brake parts and chemicals, among other items. In midday trading, Honeywell's shares rose $1.07, or 2.5 percent, to $44.68.