Iraq Approves Fifth Round of Gas Contracts

By John Lee.

Iraq has reportedly approved contracts in a fifth bidding round for gas exploration contracts.

According to Reuters, the exploration deals relate to the development of fields in the eastern governate of Diyala that are expected to produce more than 750 million cubic feet of natural gas within 3 years.

The contracts have been criticised by IBN Expert Blogger Ahmed Mousa Jiyad – https://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2018/05/16/5th-round-oil-licences-poor-management-dubious-contracts-bad-results/

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq Bribery Trial starts in London

By John Lee.

The trial has begun in London of three British businessmen accused of conspiring to pay bribes totalling $6m (£4.6m) to win contracts in Iraq worth $800 million.

According to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Monaco-based Unaoil bribed Iraqi officials to help Dutch-based SBM Offshore [Single Buoy Moorings], and Singapore’s Leighton Offshore, to secure the contracts between 2005 and 2013.

The Guardian reports that Ziad Akle (44), Unaoil’s territory manager for Iraq, Stephen Whiteley (64), who was a vice-president at SBM until 2009 before joining Unaoil as its manager for Iraq, and Paul Bond (67) SBM’s sales manager for the Middle East, have all pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to last three months.

(Sources: The Guardian, Bloomberg)

Palestine asks to Import Fuel from Iraq

By John Lee.

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly filed a formal request to Israel to allow the import of fuel from Iraq.

Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that although the request was made four months ago, Israel has yet to respond.

He said:

“Fuel is our biggest expense … The cheaper fuel from Iraq will reduce the pressure on our budget considerably.”

More here.

(Source: Haaretz)

GKP Plans 30% Year-on-Year Growth

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has issued an operational and corporate update in advance of the Company’s full year 2019 results which are scheduled to be released on 26 March 2020.

Operational

  • Average gross production for 2019 of 32,883 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”), meeting original 2019 gross production guidance.
  • Current production rates from the field at c.40,000 bopd.
  • The side-track to the SH-9 well, designed to assess the gas reinjection potential of the Jurassic formation, reached total depth on 27 December 2019.
  • The SH-9 well is currently being tested. GKP and its partner MOL will then review plans for gas management, in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • In order to optimise the cost and production benefits from the drilling campaign, the sequence of wells will now be SH-L then SH-I, both of which will be drilled from the same pad and will produce into PF-2, which has available processing capacity.
  • The rig is currently being mobilised to drill the SH-L production well.
  • Full oil export from Shaikan via pipeline following commissioning of the PF-1 export line on 10 December 2019.
  • Safety remains a core focus. However, following over 530 Lost Time Incident (“LTI”) free days, an LTI occurred in December as a result of a road traffic accident.

Corporate

  • Cash balance of $192 million as at 20 January 2020.
  • The Company returned value to shareholders by paying dividends of $50 million in 2019 and to date repurchasing c.$35 million of shares out of $50 million in aggregate of share buyback programmes previously announced (with the Company today separately announcing its intention to complete the final $10 million tranche of such programmes).
  • Ian Weatherdon joined the Company on 13 January as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board member.

Outlook

  • With the continued development of the Shaikan Field, the Company expects to increase average production in 2020 by more than 30% year-on-year to 43,000-48,000 bopd.
  • Debottlenecking and facility upgrades remain on schedule.
  • On track to reach the 55,000 bopd gross production target at Shaikan in Q3 2020.

Jon Ferrier, CEO, commented:

2019 saw GKP continue to realise the benefits of the Company’s recent turn around. In a year in which we returned significant value to shareholders, through both our maiden dividend and share buyback programmes, we also benefited from the increased operational tempo. This resulted in the first steps along the road to a significant production increase from Shaikan, and we are pleased to confirm today that we achieved our original 2019 gross production guidance.

“Looking forward, the pace of the development of Shaikan continues with the drilling and investment in our facilities, in order to deliver our growth trajectory. With a robust balance sheet and confidence in regular payments, we expect to be fully funded for our work programme and continue to return value to shareholders.

(Source: GKP)

Iraq may Stop Iran Gas Transfers if US Waiver Ends

By John Lee.

The head of Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has reportedly said that the bank would stop processing payments for Iranian gas imports if a US sanctions exemption expires next month.

Faisal al-Haimus told AFP:

“As a bank, the most important thing we have is that we are compliant (with international regulations). That’s why people trust us.”

Iraq relies heavily on Iran to support its struggling electricity sector.

When the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in 2018, it granted Iraq a series of temporary waivers to allow it to buy gas from Iran.

More here.

(Source: AFP)

BP “Pulls Out” of Kirkuk Oilfield

By John Lee.

BP has reportedly finished its work at Iraq’s giant Kirkuk oilfield.

According to Reuters, sources confirmed that the decision followed the expiration of its $100-million exploration contract at the end of December, at which point there was no agreement on the field’s expansion.

It quotes a source at BP as saying:

“In 2013, BP signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the North Oil Company of the Iraq Ministry of Oil to support field activity studies in Kirkuk. As planned, in December 2019 BP completed field work, studies and recommendations.”

Another source said that the results of the study were “below expectations” and “not encouraging for BP to extend its operations.

Full report here.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq a “Potentially Vulnerable” Energy Supplier

By John Lee.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that Iraq is a “potentially vulnerable” energy supplier.

In its Oil Market Report, it says that in the medium term, “heightened security concerns might make it more difficult for Iraq to build production capacity“.

More here.

(Source: IEA)

Iraq Contributes to Schlumberger Results

By John Lee.

US-based Schlumberger has reported that Iraq has contributed to its revenue growth in the region.

In its full-year results for 2019, the company said:

“Sequential international growth was led by the Middle East & Asia area, where revenue increased 5% driven by higher year-end product sales in Kuwait, Iraq, and Oman.”

(Source: Schlumberger)

China’s Zhongman wins $27m Iraqi Drilling Contract

By John Lee.

China’s Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group Corp., Ltd. (ZPEC) has reportedly announced a new drilling contract with Weatherford in Southern Iraq.

Chinese media reports that the deal is worth approximately $27 million, and follows another contract with Weatherford in Iraq agreed in December.

The oil field was not identified.

(Source: Eastmoney)

“Successful Year” for Genel Energy

By John Lee.

Shares in Genel Energy closed Thursday up more than 4 percent after the company issued the following trading and operations update in advance of the Company’s full-year 2019 results, which are scheduled for release on 17 March 2020. The information contained herein has not been audited and may be subject to further review.

Bill Higgs (pictured), Chief Executive of Genel, said:

2019 was a successful year for Genel, and we continue to deliver on our promises. We increased our highly cash-generative production in line with guidance, paid a material dividend, grew our operating capabilities, and added new assets to the portfolio that will bear fruit in 2020.

“Our ongoing cash generation, with confidence of regular payments and in the security of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, means that it is business as usual and our investment plans are moving forward at pace. This increasing investment in our growth assets is more than covered by expected free cash flow, and will see production diversify and increase as Sarta comes onstream in the summer, with enough remaining to underpin an increase in our already significant dividend.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

  • $317 million of cash proceeds were received in 2019 (2018: $335 million)
  • Capital expenditure of $161 million (2018: $95 million), in line with initial guidance, as spending increased on growth assets
  • Free cash flow (‘FCF’) of $99 million in 2019, pre dividend payment
    • Cash proceeds and FCF were impacted by the non-receipt of $54 million in payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (‘KRG’) relating to export sales in August and September 2019, due in November and December
    • Pro-forma FCF in 2019 was $153 million (2018: $164 million), or $0.55 per share
  • $26 million of outstanding payments from the KRG, constituting the full amount in respect to export sales in August 2019, has subsequently been received in 2020
  • Dividends of $42 million declared in 2019
    • Maiden dividend of $27 million (10¢ per share) paid in June 2019
    • A further $15 million distributed (5¢ per share) in January 2020
  • Cash of $387 million at 31 December 2019 ($334 million at 31 December 2018)
  • Net cash of $90 million at 31 December 2019 (net cash of $37 million at 30 December 2018)

OPERATING PERFORMANCE

  • 2019 net production averaged 36,250 bopd (2018: 33,690 bopd), in line with guidance and an increase of 8% on the prior year
  • Q4 averaged 35,410 bopd, an increase from 34,720 bopd in Q3
  • 19 new wells were brought onto production in 2019 across all assets
  • Production by asset was as follows:
(bopd) Gross production

2019

Net production

2019

Net production

2018

Tawke PSC 123,940 30,990 28,260
Taq Taq 11,960 5,260 5,430
Total 135,900 36,250 33,690

PRODUCTION ASSETS

  • Tawke PSC (25% working interest)
    • Tawke PSC gross production averaged 123,940 bopd, of which Peshkabir contributed 55,190 bopd
    • Production in Q4 2019 averaged 122,800 bopd, of which Peshkabir contributed 58,910 bopd
    • There will be an active drilling campaign in 2020 on the Tawke field, aiming to minimise decline rates
    • At Peshkabir, the P-12 well is currently appraising the eastern flank of the field, and is set to complete shortly
  • Taq Taq PSC (44% working interest and joint operator)
    • Taq Taq gross field production averaged 11,960 bopd in 2019
    • Production in Q4 2019 averaged 10,703 bopd
    • Following the successful drilling of the TT-34 well, which has now entered production at over 2,000 bopd with 20/64″ choke, production at Taq Taq has averaged c.12,800 bopd in the year to date
    • The latest well on the northern flank of the field, TT-35, spud on 6 January. This completes the drilling programme with the Sakson-605 rig
    • Further activity at Taq Taq is focused on maximising cash generation, with the optimised cost structure and 2020 work programme, which could see up to six wells drilled, under review

PRE-PRODUCTION ASSETS

  • Sarta (30% working interest)
    • Civil construction work at the Sarta field is continuing on schedule, with flowlines laid and buried and foundations in place for oil storage tanks, andGenel expects production to start in the summerof 2020
    • Phase 1A represents a low-cost pilot development of the Mus-Adaiyah reservoirs, designed to recover 2P gross reserves estimated by Genel at 34 MMbbls
    • Unrisked gross mid case resources relating to the Mus-Adaiyah reservoir are estimated by Genel at c.150 MMbbls, with overall unrisked gross P50 resources currently estimated by the Company at c.500 MMbbl
  • Qara Dagh (40% working interest and operator)
    • Civil construction works are progressing in preparation for the upcoming drilling operations, and the well pad and camp are on schedule for completion by the end of January
    • Environmental permits were granted in December 2019
    • The well will test the structural crest 10 km to the north-west of the QD-1 well, which tested sweet, light oil from Cretaceous carbonates
    • The QD-2 well is on track to spud in Q2 2020
    • Unrisked gross mean resources at Qara Dagh are currently estimated by Genel at c.200 MMbbls
  • Bina Bawi (100% working interest and operator)
    • Negotiations between Genel and the Kurdistan Regional Government (‘KRG’) regarding commercial terms for the gas and oil development at Bina Bawi made significant progress in the third quarter of 2019, resulting in an understanding on commercial terms for a staged and integrated oil and gas development being reached
    • Genel is now waiting to receive draft legal agreements reflecting this understanding
    • Genel is continuing the necessary readiness work required to enable rapid progress towards gas and oil developments upon receipt of signed documents
  • Somaliland – SL10B13 block (100% working interest and operator)
    • A farm-out process relating to this highly prospective block began in Q4 2019, with Stellar Energy Advisors appointed to run the process. A number of companies are now assessing the opportunity
    • Genel plans to conclude the farm-out process in H1 2020, aiming to minimise the cost to the Company of a well that could be spud in 2021
  • Morocco – Sidi Moussa block (75% working interest and operator)
    • The farm-out campaign is set to begin in Q2 2020, aimed at bringing a partner onto the licence prior to considering further commitments

ESG

  • Safety remains a priority for the Company, and our focus on this has led to zero lost time incidents (‘LTI’) and zero losses of primary containment in 2019 at Genel operations
    • There has not been an LTI since 2015, with over 11 million hours worked since the last incident
  • The operator of the Tawke PSC expects routine flaring to be eliminated on the licence in March 2020, with gas from the Peshkabir field set to be reinjected into the Tawke field in order to improve long-term reserves recovery
  • The search for a permanent Chairman is well progressed

OUTLOOK AND 2020 GUIDANCE

  • Net production in 2020 is expected to be close to Q4 2019 levels of 35,410 bopd, with an exit rate c.10% higher than this due to the expected addition of production from Sarta
    • Genel expects to drill over 20 producing wells in 2020
  • 2020 capital expenditure is expected to be $160-200 million, of which $120-150 million will be cost recoverable spend on assets on production in 2020. Other spend includes:
    • c.$35-40 million on the Qara Dagh 2 well
    • Under $10 million maintenance expenditure at Bina Bawi and Miran. Capital expenditure expectations for Bina Bawi in 2020 will be updated once legal agreements with the KRG have been signed
    • Under $2 million on African exploration assets
  • Operating costs per barrel expected to be $3/bbl, amongst the lowest in the industry
  • Opex: c.$40 million
  • G&A: c.$15 million
  • The Company expects full recovery of outstanding payments in Q1, and for regular payments to resume, as they had since September 2015
  • The Company continues to actively pursue growth and is analysing numerous opportunities to make value-accretive additions to the portfolio, but will only proceed with opportunities that fit our strict strategic criteria
  • Genel expects to generate c.$100 million in free cash flow, pre-dividend payments, in 2020
    • Given the ongoing strength of cash generation, confidence in the regularity of payments from the KRG, and the positive outlook for the Company, Genel reaffirms its commitment to growing the dividend

(Source: Genel Energy)