Iraq’s biggest-ever gas project will be protected by private guards provided by G4S after the British security business landed the deal to work in the recovering nation. G4S will provide 500 personnel and 220 armoured vehicles to safeguard staff working on Basrah Gas Company facilities in Southern Iraq including two gas plants, a liquefied natural gas storage facility, shipping terminal and pipelines between them. BGC is a high profile target with energy giant Shell holding a major stake in the project. Iraq has the 13th largest proven gas results in the world but war and sanctions mean the country lacks the infrastructure needed to collect, treat and store it.
As a result about 70pc of the 1bn cubic feet of gas produced each day is wasted by being burnt off in polluting flares, according to Shell. If this was collected, it could provide enough energy to power 3m homes or generate $3.5bn in annual revenues.
As military forces are withdrawn from the region, the private sector is expanding in the market. G4S’s contract is worth an initial $187m (£121m) over three years. But this could rise to $270m if it wins a two-year extension and is the largest mobile security contract in the Iraq since the departure of the US-led coalition.
G4S also has also secured a deal worth up to £100m to provide bodyguards to British diplomats working in Afghanistan. Security staff will provide close protection for up to five years to Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff travelling within the country, as well as guarding the UK embassy in Kabul. Ashley Almanza, G4S chief executive, said he was “delighted” that tasks traditionally carried out by government forces had been “entrusted by the FCO and BGC” to the private sector. “These major contract wins reflect G4S’s world class expertise and investment in sophisticated security services,” he added.