Refinery Targeted in Rocket Attack

By John Lee.

A rocket attack that targeted an oil refinery in the Khabat area of Erbil on Sunday has been widely condemned.

Six rockets were fired at the Kawergosk refinery, which is owned by KAR Group, reportedly damaging a storage tank.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell said it located a launch base near the Al-Fadhiliah area of Bashiqa district, in the Nineveh Plain, where a further four missiles were rendered rendered harmless.

Shafaq quotes a source as saying that one person sustained minor injuries in the attack.

In March, the home of the CEO of KAR Group, Baz Karim Barzanji, was badly damaged in a rocket attack attributed to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

(Sources: Iraqi Security Media Cell, Shafaq, Asharq al Awsat, NRT)

The post Refinery Targeted in Rocket Attack first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Dana Gas achieves 50% Gas Production Growth in 3 yrs

Dana Gas and its partner, Crescent Petroleum, have reported record sales gas production from their operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), reaching 452 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMscf/d) at the end of 2021.

The production milestone is the culmination of numerous process improvements at the Khor Mor gas plant, including a bypass project completed in 2020 as well as a de-bottlenecking programme earlier in 2018. Together, the process improvements have grown the production by 50% from 305 MMscf/d in 2018.

Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum jointly operate the Khor Mor and Chemchemal gas fields on behalf of the Pearl Petroleum consortium, supplying the gas which enables much needed electricity generation in the KRI, and also producing close to 16,000 barrels of condensate and 1,000 tonnes of LPG per day. The successful process improvements will be reinforced by the KM250 expansion project at the plant which is currently under implementation, and will increase total capacity by an additional 55% to 700 MMscf/d by April 2023.

Major works for the US$630 million KM250 expansion project resumed in April, 2021 after a delay of one year due to the COVID pandemic. The project is now on track for the new target start date of April 2023. As part of the expansion works, the Company is also preparing to drill up to five development wells, which are scheduled to commence production in March 2022.

The KM250 Gas Expansion Project is supported by a $250 million financing agreement for 7 years with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) which was announced in September 2021. After completion of the KM250 project, the partners also plan a further KM500 train that would raise production to almost 1 billion cubic feet per day to meet rising demand for cleaner burning natural gas and electricity generation in the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq.

Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Board Managing Director of Dana Gas, said:

"The achievement of this production milestone underscores the progress we continue to make at Khor Mor to meet the rapidly growing demand for natural gas in the KRI. Despite the challenges the whole world has faced over the past two years, we are proud to have continued delivering uninterrupted supply of clean-burning natural gas to support the KRI economy and enable a healthy recovery. Meanwhile our major expansion plans at the Khor Mor and Chemchemal fields to target 1 billion cubic feet per day in the coming few years will enable improved services across the region for years to come."

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward (pictured), CEO of Dana Gas, said:

"This milestone is testament to our people and their hard work making consistent production growth possible at our Khor Mor gas plant. Our continued investments since 2018, notably the Khor Mor de-bottlenecking and bypass projects, have allowed us to deliver reliable supplies of clean energy to support the KRI economy and its people, with enhanced economic and environmental benefits which will increase as we further grow production."

Total investment by the Pearl Petroleum consortium exceeds US$2.3 billion to date, with total cumulative production of over 360 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of natural gas and liquids. The uninterrupted supply of gas to power plants in Erbil, Chemchemal and Bazian provides over 80% of the KRI's power generation and has resulted in significant fuel cost savings through substitution of diesel representing both environmental and economic benefits for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole.

The displacement of diesel fuel for power generation in the KRI with gas has also enabled emissions savings of 42 million tonnes of CO2, thereby making a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing local air pollution in the region as well as supporting the transition to better energy sources to tackle global climate change.

(Source: Dana Gas)

The post Dana Gas achieves 50% Gas Production Growth in 3 yrs first appeared on Iraq Business News.

New COVID-19 Isolation Unit at Soran Hospital

Ministry of Health Kurdistan, UNFPA open COVID-19 isolation unit at Soran maternity hospital

The Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government through the Directorate of Health in Erbil, with support from UNFPA opened a COVID-19 isolation unit at the Soran Maternity hospital in Erbil on 3 February 2021.

The isolation unit has the capacity to treat up to six women at once. It was equipped with medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment, six examination beds and two delivery beds worth US$ 100,000.

The facility that provides daily around-the clock care, is fully equipped by UNFPA and the Soran hospital administration. The staff are also provided with PPEs and medical supplies and have been trained on national guidelines on management of pregnancy and child birth during COVID19.

In addition to the isolation unit at Soran maternity hospital, UNFPA, with funding from the Swedish Government, supported the establishment of isolation units for COVID-19 at maternity hospitals in Zakho, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja.

UNFPA Deputy Representative, Mr. Himyar Abdulmoghni spoke on the occasion and said:

"All childbirths should be safe at all times and no woman should be denied quality reproductive health services under any circumstances, including crises and pandemics. We are working with the Ministry of Health in the Kurdistan Region to ensure quality services to all pregnant women and safe deliveries despite COVID-19."

Dr Mahabad Dilawar, the Head of Soran Maternity Hospital, thanked UNFPA for the efforts in building the isolation unit saying:

"We are saving time and cost for pregnant women who had to travel long distances to deliver their babies. Through this isolation unit, we serve quality services to pregnant women with COVID-19."

UNFPA supports the Kurdistan Regional Government to strengthen the health system's capacity, provide essential supplies, improve access to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services, and promote risk communication and community engagement.

(Source: UN)

The post New COVID-19 Isolation Unit at Soran Hospital first appeared on Iraq Business News.

IFC Invests in Hospital in Erbil

By John Lee.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing over $26 million in a new 161-bed hospital in Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The facility will increase the availability of quality healthcare services and help address gaps in the country's healthcare infrastructure. The $92 million Seema Hospital project is expected to open its doors in 2021. In addition to providing core health services, it will be one of the city's first private hospitals with oncology, radiotherapy, and burn units.

Treatment capacity in existing public and private healthcare facilities in Iraq is limited, with damages to the system estimated at $2.3 billion because of the conflict, according to a World Bank report. The hospital is owned by the Macrom Company for General Trading.

Yaseen Al Bazzaz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macrom Company for General Trading, said

"Since opening our first hospital in 2006, we have grown into a leading provider of specialized health care services ... Hundreds of patients are traveling desperately to neighboring countries for their medical needs. This will change once Seema Hospital opens and provides top-notch healthcare solutions."

IFC is also contributing technical expertise, advising on environmental and social best practices, and providing guidance on corporate governance. The project is part of the World Bank Group's strategy in Iraq to develop social infrastructure. Seema Hospital also will be one of the first buildings in Iraq to be certified by IFC EDGE, a platform that helps to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green buildings.

Tomasz Telma, IFC's Senior Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services, said:

"Iraq is a priority country for IFC, and we are committed to supporting its economic growth and health infrastructure ... Investing in quality hospitals helps improve care, especially where there is often limited access to effective secondary and tertiary facilities, and introduce expertise, technology, and best practices to these markets."  

IFC has increased its investments in Iraq during the last decade. Its committed portfolio stands at about $254 million, up from $20 million in 2010.

As Iraq and other countries battle COVID-19, the World Bank Group, in response to the crisis, has announced $14 billion package of financing to help support  countries to strengthen health systems and improve disease surveillance worldwide.

(Source: IFC)

Chevron to Resume Drilling in Kurdistan

By John Lee.

US-based Chevron plans to resume drilling at the Sarta 3 block in Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the company had temporarily halted exploration work in October after the Kurds voted in favour of independence.

Chevron acquired Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC‘s 80 percent interest and operatorship of the production sharing contracts (PSCs) covering the Rovi and Sarta blocks in 2012; Austria’s OMV holds of the other 20 percent interest.

The blocks are located north of Erbil and cover a combined area of approximately 490 square miles (1,124 square kilometers).

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

DNO Joins ExxonMobil on Baeshiqa License

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced an agreement with ExxonMobil to join the Baeshiqa [Bashiqa, Bashika] license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

DNO will assume operatorship of the license with a 40 percent paying (32 percent net) interest, acquiring one-half of ExxonMobil’s position.

ExxonMobil retains a 40 percent paying (32 percent net) interest, the Turkish Energy Company (TEC) its 20 percent paying (16 percent net) interest and the Kurdistan Regional Government its 20 percent carried interest.

Pending Government approval, DNO will drill an exploration well in the first half of 2018 with a second exploration well to follow on a separate structure.

The 324 square kilometer license is situated 60 kilometers west of Erbil and 20 kilometers east of Mosul. ExxonMobil had previously conducted extensive geological and geophysical studies and constructed a drilling pad before work was interrupted due to security conditions in the region.

The Baeshiqa license contains two large, undrilled structures which are expected to have multiple independent stacked target reservoir systems, including in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic.

DNO currently operates two other licenses in Kurdistan: one contains the Tawke and Peshkabir fields which together produce over 110,000 barrels of oil per day and the other the Benenan and Bastora heavy oil fields which are undergoing further appraisal and development. With three rigs currently deployed, the Company is the most active driller among the international operators in Kurdistan.

Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (pictured), DNO’s Executive Chairman, said:

“We are pleased to partner with ExxonMobil, TEC and the Government on this exciting exploration opportunity.

“We bring to the project a 10-year record of successful and fast-track operations in Kurdistan, culminating in more than 200 million barrels produced to date.

“Following regularization of export payments and a landmark agreement with the Government to close out our historical receivables, our foot is back firmly on the accelerator.”

(Source: DNO)

IOM Emergency Unit Assists IDPs from Tal Afar

This past week the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, sent emergency teams from its Erbil, Iraq, mission to provide front-line non-food item (NFI) assistance to an informal settlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The settlers are principally nomadic herders fleeing ISIL’s last remaining major stronghold in Iraq: Tal Afar.

Following the fall of Mosul, 255 families – mostly shepherds with their livestock – fled from villages on the outskirts of Tal Afar to establish an informal camp in Badoush, about 40 kilometres from Tal Afar city, in Iraq’s Ninewa governorate.

They escaped about six weeks ago.

Iraqi forces are preparing to launch a military offensive on Tal Afar – a city originally of 200,000 people in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, before ISIL took control of it in mid-2014. Although the militant group has lost nearly two-thirds of the territory it once controlled, it remains active in some of the country’s northern and western areas.

Tal Afar city, with the largest Turkmen population in the country (a mix of Sunni Turkmen and Shia Arabs), is located about 60 kilometres west of Mosul.

According to reports from Tal Afar, where an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 people remain in the city, ISIL is preventing people from escaping, as it did in West Mosul, by shooting at families attempting to flee.

Those managing to flee the city, mostly women, children and the elderly, must take a meandering route to avoid being spotted by ISIL, mostly arriving in the late hours of the night.