GKP Shares Rise on Corporate Update

By John Lee.

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) ended the day up more than 6 percent on Friday, as the Kurdistan-focused oil producer gave an operational and corporate update:

Jon Harris (pictured), Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"We continue to safely navigate a challenging operating environment due to COVID-19, with gross average year-to-date production of c.43,600 bopd, up almost 20% from 2020 annual average gross production. Today, we are pleased to announce that we have restarted work to complete SH-13, marking the resumption of drilling activities ahead of schedule.

"As a result, we now expect to increase gross production towards 55,000 bopd in Q4 2021 and to be at the upper end of 2021 guidance (40,000-44,000 bopd) as we continue to develop and realise the value of the Shaikan Field's substantial reserves and resources for the benefit of all stakeholders."

 55,000 bopd investment programme

  •  Successful restart of drilling activities, with commencement of SH-13 completion ahead of the previously announced schedule of Q3 2021.
  • After SH-13, SH-I will be drilled and electric submersible pumps will be installed in two existing wells.
  • Gross production is now expected to increase towards 55,000 bopd in Q4 2021, versus previous guidance of Q1 2022.

Operational

  • Continued strong safety performance, with no Lost Time Incident ("LTI") recorded for over 530 days.
  • Continuing to effectively manage the impact of COVID-19 on production operations and the resumption of drilling activities despite continued challenges on the ground.  
  • Gross average production from the field in 2021 to date of c.43,600 bopd, in line with 2021 guidance.

Financial

  • $100.8 million ($78.9 million net to GKP) received from the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2021 to date for payments of crude oil sales and recovery of outstanding arrears. 
  • As previously announced, proposing a $25 million annual dividend and $25 million special dividend, both for approval at next week's Annual General Meeting as we continue to balance investment in growth and returns to shareholders.
  • Retain a robust balance sheet, with a cash balance of $195 million as at 10 June 2021.

Outlook 

  • Expect 2021 average gross production guidance to be towards the upper end of the 40,000 to 44,000 bopd guidance range following early resumption of drilling activities.
  • 2021 guidance of $55-$65 million net capex and $2.5 to $2.9/bbl gross unit Opex remains unchanged.
  • Continuing to progress the preparation of the Field Development Plan, including the Gas Management Plan, through engagement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and other stakeholders; we will provide updates as this work progresses.

(Sources: GKP, Google)

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KRG to rely 100% on Natural Gas for Electricity

Ten electricity plants were provided with transformers at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in Koya town on Thursday.

The Deputy Prime Minister commended the Koya transformer project and addressed developments in the electricity sector, including the Kurdistan Regional Government's decision to go all in on natural gas.

"The power generation costs are still high," said Deputy Prime Minister Talabani, "and to solve this, we are planning to increase the dependency on natural gas to 100 percent as a source of fossil fuel in power generation."

Also in attendance at the Koya ceremony was Minister of Electricity Kamal Mohammed Salih, who provided more information on the 2.728 billion dinar (or roughly 1.8 million USD) transformer project.

Minister Salih hailed the cabinet's achievements in power generation and distribution, and stated that more than 450 projects have been initiated with a total worth of 60 billion dinars.

KRG is planning to open three more power plants in the Kurdistan Region by the end of this year: a steam power plant in Khabat District, a gas power plant in the Garmian region, and a 37-megawatt plant in Deraluk.

The Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani also talked about his latest visit to Baghdad with the KRG delegation to discuss the region's share of the budget.

He noted that one of the topics of discussion was cooperative power generation between the federal and regional governments, a step that would drastically increase Iraq's supply of electricity.

(Source: KRG)

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Iraqi Tankers Re-Registered in Umm Qasr

By John Lee.

Two oil tankers owned by the State Company for Maritime Transport (SCMT) have been transferred from Jordanian registration to registration in the Iraqi port of Basra, following the lifting of sanctions.

Iraqi Transport Minister, Captain Nasser Hussain Bandar Al-Shibli [Captain Nasser Hussein Bandar Al-Shibli], raised the Iraqi flags on the vessels, the Al-Asma'i and the Al-Qurna, at a ceremony at the port of Umm Qasr on Sunday.

(Source: SCMT)

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Petrel Resources’ Focus will be Iraq

By John Lee.

In its preliminary results for the year ended 31st December 2020, Petrel Resources made the following statement on its interests in Iraq:

"Meanwhile Petrel continues to push its interest in Iraq and Ghana. For the foreseeable future oil will play a major part in world economic development.

"Iraq has some of the best oil deposits in the world. In a stable era Iraqi oil production would be 2 or 3 times the current under 4 million barrels a day.

"For more than 20 years Petrel has been in Iraq. Activities have languished in year past but the addition of an Iraqi director, Riadh Mahomud Hameed and the contact of French investors led to a re-opening of contacts.

"It has been, and remains a difficult and dangerous place to explore. Led by Riadh we are putting exploration proposals to the authorities. We are particularly keen to revisit the Merjan field where we earlier produced development proposals ...

"Our focus in the immediate future will be Iraq"

(Source: Petrel Resources)

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Iraqi Cabinet Awards Energy Contracts

By John Lee.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet agreed to send an invitation, "in a single bid manner", to the French company Total to invest in a project to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar electric power.

The project was originally agreed in March as part of a larger engagement with the French energy company, which last week announced that it would rebrand itself as TotalEnergies.

The cabinet also approved a request from the Ministry of Electricity to award a contract "in a single bidding manner" to the Chinese company PowerChina (Power Construction Corporation of China).

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Increasing Oil Production at West Qurna 2

By John Lee.

Iraq's Oil Minister, Ihssan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, has announced the start of experimental operations at the Yamamah reservoir in the West Qurna 2 oil field, with the aim of increasing output from the reservoir from 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 350,000 bpd.

When fully implemented, the development would bring total production at the field to 800,000 bpd.

The Minister praised the work of Russian company Lukoil, which is developing the field.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Genel Energy receives March Oil Payments from KRG

Genel Energy has announced that payments have been received from the Kurdistan Regional Government ('KRG') for its entitlement for oil sales during March 2021.

Those payments are made up as follows:

(all figures $ million) Payment
Tawke 14.3
Taq Taq 2.1
Sarta 3.4
Total 19.8

As announced on 13 May, Genel and other KRI operators received a letter from the KRG proposing an amendment to the recovery mechanism and payment schedule for monies owed for oil sales from November 2019 to February 2020 and the suspended override from March to December 2020.

The entitlement payments for oil sales were, in line with other operators, received ahead of the proposed amended schedule.

The Company has not yet received payments for March's invoices under the recovery mechanism, regarding which it is engaging with the KRG on their proposed amendments, nor the Tawke override.

Assuming the proposed revision to the terms of recovery stands, the recovery payment will be $3.1 million. The override payment will be $8.2 million. Given the proposed new schedule, Genel expects to receive both payments shortly.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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Iraq Finalises Oil Exports for April

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced finalised oil exports for April of 88,398,319 barrels, giving an average for the month of 2.947 million barrels per day (bpd), effectively the same as the 2.946 million bpd exported in March.

The exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 85,534,916 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 2,863,403 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $5.550 billion at an average price of $62.779 per barrel.

March's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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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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