Iraq to buy Exxon stake in West Qurna 1

By John Lee.

The Iraqi cabinet has agreed to allow the Basra Oil Company (BOC) to take over ExxonMobil's holding in the West Qurna 1 oilfield, at a price of up to $350 million.

Addressing media after Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Minister of Communications Arkan Al-Shaibani (pictured) said the cabinet also allocated an initial payment of $250 million "according to the acquisition amount to cover the Basra Oil Company's share in the work program and the budget for the year 2022 according to new developments provided that ExxonMobil relinquishes its litigation against the Basra Oil Company at the International Court of Arbitration."

Note that other media list the acquiring entity as the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC).

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, Reuters, S&P Global Platts)

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New Water Injection Facility at Rumaila

One of the most advanced water pumping facilities in Iraq has been constructed at the Rumaila oilfield to help boost oil production and support the field's long-term strategy.

Cluster Pump Station Six (CPS-6) is the first CPS facility to be built at Rumaila for around 40 years. It is also the first CPS constructed by the Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO), the joint venture between the Basra Oil Company (BOC), bp, PetroChina and State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO), which operates the field.

Water injection is fundamental for sustaining Rumaila's high volumes of oil production. After almost 70 years of extracting oil, gas, and water, Rumaila's mature reservoirs have seen pressure levels fall; injecting water into the subsurface helps to replace this lost pressure and push oil and gas to the surface. Since CPS-6 has become fully operational, 18 formerly producing wells have been reactivated and around 63,000 additional barrels of oil per day are being produced for Iraq.

ROO Deputy General Manager, Hussein Abdul Khadim Hussein, said:

"Rumaila's daily oil production has increased by around 40% under ROO's stewardship. Key to this has been the water injection strategy, which rose from around 250 mbds in June 2010 to reach peaks exceeding 1.5 million barrels of water per day (bwpd) in 2021. CPS-6 marks a new chapter as we extend water injection to the south of the field for the first time in more than a decade and will help us to maintain high oil production for years to come."

Cluster pump stations pressurize treated industrial water to a specified level, which is then sent for injection into water injector wells in the field. With a capacity to inject up to 320,000bwpd, CPS-6's features include digital monitoring of the site's key equipment and components to manage pressure levels and ensure performance is maximized from the purpose-built control room.

The site has a pumping house with five powerful Sulzer pumps, each individually capable of pressurizing up to 80,000bwpd; a manifold to direct water to 20 injector wells; 2.5 km of piping inside the facility; 75 km of supporting pipeline infrastructure outside the facility, and an office for staff.

Construction entailed more than a million hours of work, and the installation of 16,700 metres of electrical cabling, 1,721 flanges and 575 valves. Multiple logistical challenges had to be overcome in order to adapt to the pandemic and to create a COVID-safe working environment, which included erecting fences inside the compound to delineate which contractor could operate in each part of the site.

ROO General Manager, Orkhan Guliyev, said:

"The full operation of CPS-6 is a major milestone in our drive to maintain oil production in the south of the field. For the past 11 years, water injection has been focused in North Rumaila - which has seen production increase by more than 150%. Safely injecting water in South Rumaila is a key part of ROO's strategy for future success."

Rumaila Special Deputy General Manager, Fan Jianping, added:

"Work has also begun to construct a second new pumping station, CPS-7, which will further our ambitions to ensure the reservoirs in South Rumaila continue to produce effectively and efficiently."

(Source: ROO)

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Basra Energy Company established to run Rumaila Oilfield

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has officially established the new Basra Energy Company (BEC), which will be the main contractor at the giant Rumaila oilfield, under a Technical Service Contract (TSC).

Representing BEC at the ceremony, Zaid Elyaseri (BP) said the field will be developed to reach a peak production of 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the current level of approximately 1.45 million bpd.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar added that, "PetroChina and BP are the two shareholders with SOMO and Basra Oil Company (BOC)." PetroChina is a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Kadhimi “wants US Firm to replace Exxon” at West Qurna 1

By John Lee.

According to a report from Reuters, the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has told the press in Washington DC that he wants another American company to replace ExxonMobil when it exits the West Qurna 1 oilfield.

Meanwhile, S&P Global Platts reports that Exxon filed an arbitration case against the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) related to its stalled attempt to sell its stake in the field.

More here and here.

Read also: The Demise of ExxonMobil in the Iraqi Petroleum Sector 

(Sources: Reuters, S&P Global Platts)

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UK’s Proserv Wins Contract at Majnoon Oilfield

By John Lee.

UK-based global controls technology company Proserv Controls has secured a significant contract to manufacture and deliver 22 wellhead control panels (WHCP) to the Basra Oil Company (BOC) for use on the Majnoon Oil Field in southern Iraq.

The deal has been arranged through KBR, the Houston based engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) company, which is the EPCM lead on BOC's plans to significantly ramp up production capabilities at the field.

The 22 WHCPs each has the capability of controlling up to four wells and they have been earmarked for use on 70 new wells which are currently in the development phase. At present, Majnoon has a capacity of just over 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production, but BOC's strategy is to more than double this to above 400,000 bpd in the next two years.

Proserv will deliver the WHCPs in three lots, with the first due towards the end of Q3 2021, with the second scheduled for Q4 and the final tranche set to arrive in March 2022.

The firm will make use of its well-developed footprint in the Arabian Gulf to deliver this order, with the WHCPs being manufactured at Proserv's dedicated site in Jebel Ali, Dubai.

The value of the contract has not been disclosed.

(Source: Proserv Controls)

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Rumaila Oilfield “delivers Strong 2020 Performance”

The Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO) has announced its 2020 performance results.

The field's oil production rate averaged 1.392 million barrels per day (bpd), despite the impact of COVID-19, a budget reduction and compliance with instructions from BOC to reduce oil production, which reflected OPEC+'s request for Iraq to curtail oil exports.

The year's strong performance has been attributed to the dedication of the field's workforce (which is 96% Iraqi) to adapt to and overcome major new challenges. These included a revised and reprioritized production strategy, which benefitted from the strong foundations laid in previous years to modernize facilities, optimize wells and deploy advanced technologies.

Basra Oil Company (BOC) Director General, Mr Khalid Hamza Abbas, said:

"Rumaila's achievements in 2020 deserve great recognition, not least within the context of the global pandemic. My thanks go to every member of staff who did his or her utmost to ensure the field continued to serve the nation at this most difficult time."

Rumaila's 2020 achievements included record-breaking levels of water injection, averaging 1.35 million bpd of water - volumes never previously seen at the field. New digital technologies were deployed to maximize efficiencies; 21 new wells were drilled, 115 wells were optimized or renewed, and almost 7,000 well services jobs were conducted to further maintain production, while preventative maintenance and repairs ensured the continued performance of ageing facilities.

In addition, new projects were initiated to reduce Rumaila's operational carbon emissions, particularly utilizing electricity from the gas-fired Rumaila Power Plant, rather than diesel generators, to power some key facilities in the field.

Rumaila also continued to support local communities living near or within the field during the pandemic, with ongoing initiatives to help the Al-Khora Primary Health Care Clinic and the North Rumaila Mobile Health Clinic; ROO also oversaw and delivered the procurement, shipping, installation and training on a computed tomography (CT) scanner for the Basra Al-Sadir Teaching Hospital. Major renovation works also took place at Al Sikak, Al Rumaila and Al Nukhaila schools in order to enhance the quality of local education.

With the onset of the pandemic, global oil demand contracted, resulting in the already low international oil price falling further and causing governments and companies around the world to review their plans. Iraq was no exception and resulted in the ROO's annual budget reduced by around 30%, with adverse impacts on some development projects and well and production-raising activities.

In addition, government-requested curtailments averaged 55,000 bpd over the course of the year, partly in response to Iraq's compliance with OPEC+'s request to reduce the country's overall oil exports.

2020 was therefore a year defined by COVID-19. It has always been ROO's commitment to place the health and safety of staff members above all other considerations. COVID-19 therefore required multiple preventative and responsive activities to limit the transmission of the virus. Field personal protective equipment (PPE) was sourced and distributed, including 300,000 sets of gloves, 20,000 masks, and 1,300 units of hand sanitizing products. Two new clinics were established; additional respiratory and life support equipment were secured; 4,370 diagnostic tests were carried out; contact tracing was instigated after each suspected and confirmed COVID-19 case, and wellbeing initiatives were introduced.

Operationally, the field had to adapt to major disruptions to the way everyday work was delivered. Field staff had to contend with working fewer, yet longer shifts patterns; movement was restricted at Rumaila headquarters which is staffed by a limited number of Iraqi and international colleagues who all adhered to strict quarantining protocols on arrival; hundreds of Iraqi and expatriate staff adapted to working from home. A new IT terminal server enabled staff working remotely in Basra and around the world to securely access emails, files and industry applications, while the number of videoconferencing users increased 960%.

ROO Deputy General Manager, Hussein Abdul Khadim Hussein, said:

"With the virus making its way to Iraq, we knew we had to do everything we could to keep our people as safe as possible while at work. We also had to move quickly, to ensure that the day-to-day operation of the entire field could be maintained, so that Rumaila could continue to deliver for Iraq. The human cost of COVID-19 has been felt by everyone at Rumaila; to everyone affected, we extend our deepest sympathies."

ROO General Manager, Orkhan Guliyev, said:

"The tremendous co-operation and teamwork between BOC, bp and PetroChina, which in previous years had been key to Rumaila surpassing targets, expressed itself in 2020 through a shared sense of resilience. The determination, dedication, patience and endurance of our people enabled us to continue to make progress during what was an extraordinarily challenging year for everyone."

Rumaila Special Deputy General Manager, Fan Jianping, added:

"It has been a difficult operating environment for national and international oil companies across the world. At Rumaila, it has been humbling to see such strength of purpose in overcoming complex challenges. 2020 has further illustrated that our partnership has the focus, fortitude and capability to face tough challenges."

(Source: ROO)

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Iraq may Buy Exxon stake in West Qurna 1

By John Lee.

Press reports quote Iraq's oil minister as saying that Iraq could buy ExxonMobil's 32.7-percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field.

Ihssan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail told a news conference on Monday that the government might purchase the stake via the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC).

BOC previously took over the Majnoon field from Shell and Petronas at the end of June 2018.

It had previously been rumoured (see here and here) that China would take over Exxon's holding in West Qurna 1.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil sold its share in the Baeshiqa license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to DNO.

(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)

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New Contracts for Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) has announced its intention to conclude contracts with Chinese and American companies operating in Iraq to drill and rehabilitate dozens of oil wells in the country.

The company indicated it is about to start drilling 20 wells in the Nasiriyah field in Dhi Qar, which are included in a long-term plan with the Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC) to advance the oil sector, due to be completed in over two years.

After the relative relaxation of the impacts of the coronavirus, the Iraqi Drilling Company resumed its negotiations with the international companies developing oil fields in the country and their counterparts affiliated with the Ministry of Oil in the provinces, in preparation for signing the postponed contracts with the aim of enhancing Iraq's energy capabilities.

The drilling and rehabilitation contracts, hoped to be concluded soon, include drilling 37 wells in the Zubair field for the Italian company ENI, the main operator of the field, and starting discussions with BP, the main contractor in the Rumaila field, to develop the giant field west of Basra.

This is in addition to the near signing of a contract to drill 43 wells in Majnoon field with the Basra Oil Company (BOC), which is the third largest oil field in the world, with reserves of 6.12 billion barrels.

The Iraqi Drilling Company has completed all its preparations to sign a contract with the Central Oil Company, to drill 27 wells in the East Baghdad field, and it continues its discussions with the Maysan [Missan] Oil Company (MOC) to sign a contract for drilling 22 wells in the Bazargan field as well as rehabilitating another 150 wells and a contract to operate a number of drilling towers and rehabilitation of a large number of wells in the Kirkuk fields with the North Oil Company (NOC).

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Cabinet Extends Contracts of KBR and Antonoil at Majnoon

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet has approved the renewal of two contracts at the Majnoon oil field.

Chinese company Anton Oilfield Services Group (Antonoil) is to continue to provide Integrated Field Management, while the American company KBR will provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM).

The decision allows for the extension of the contracts for two more years, with an option to increase that to three years.

Both companies were awarded the contract by Basra Oil Company (BOC) in 2018, when BOC took over operations at Majnoon from Shell.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

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