KAR Group is the Kurdish oil and gas leader in more ways than one; it also stands apart for its range of activities and ambitious vision.
Owner of the largest private refinery in all of Iraq, KAR’s performance is notable for its success in downstream activities. Indeed, such is chairman Mr. Baz Karim’s burgeoning reputation in the industry that he was rewarded as Downstream Man of the Year at the Kurdistan-Iraq Oil and Gas 2012 Awards. A grandiloquent title that doesn’t do the group effort justice; in his own words, ‘‘It’s the reflection of the successful story of the team.’’ The 80,000 barrels being produced daily at its Erbil Refinery back up his words.
Impressive results, but the hard work has only begun in Mr. Karim’s eyes: With a view to furthering growth, KAR has recently diversified into insurance. In a real coup for a Kurdish company, Mr. Karim sealed a historic agreement with Czech Export Bank, which has backed KAR’s ambitious power plants project, which, crucially, will complete KAR as a fully integrated energy company. The move itself is unprecedented: KAR is the first Kurdish company to attract a European export bank into the region, demonstrating the international clout the company now wields.
Typically though, Mr. Karim refuses to take any credit for the swoop, insisting ‘‘It’s about the project and what the people of Kurdistan and Iraq will gain with this kind of agreement.’’ Mr. Karim’s fame may be growing, but the attention his success is drawing to Kurdistan is what he’s really interested in, and most proud of.