Liftings underway at Sarta

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that, following first oil production last week, first liftings have taken place from the Sarta field (Genel 30% working interest).

According to a statement from the company, the Sarta-3 well is producing at an initial rate of over 5,000 bopd, with an API gravity of c.27 degrees, in line with expectations at this stage.

Tanker loadings are now underway, with oil being transported to Khurmala for offloading into the export pipeline.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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Iraq cuts Oil Exports in November

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced initial oil exports for November of 81,262,376 barrels, giving an average for the month of 2.709 million barrels per day (bpd), down from the 2.876 million bpd exported in October.

These exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 78,190,444 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 2,819,169 barrels. Exports to Jordan were 252,763 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $3.395 billion at an average price of $41.778 per barrel.

October's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Dana Gas announces Record Gas Deliveries for Khor Mor

By John Lee.

UAE-based Dana Gas has announced that the production of sales gas from Pearl Petroleum's Khor Mor Gas Plant in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) reached a record level of 418MMscf/d on 18 November 2020.

Dana Gas, which owns a 35% stake in Pearl Petroleum, registered a 6% year on year increase in production during the third quarter of 2020 to 32,400 boepd, driven by the completion of a new plant bypass project in August.

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO of Dana Gas, commented:

"We are very pleased that Pearl Petroleum has achieved this important milestone at Khor Mor, which is the result of our continued efforts to maximise plant production. This important achievement, delivered under difficult conditions due to the global pandemic, was the result of the installation of the plant bypass in August combined with an increase in gas demand due to seasonal weather conditions.

"It is also testament to the tireless efforts of our staff at the plant to optimise plant efficiencies and reliability.

"We are also very pleased to announce that after a delay in the implementation of the first 250 MMscf/d gas processing train following border closures and travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, that we anticipate recommencing civil engineering works on location in the next few weeks.

"All the parties working on the Khor Mor project are fully committed to executing the expansion project as quickly and as safely as possible. We now expect first gas from the project's first gas processing train in Q1 2023 and we are also examining ways to reduce the schedule further. When implemented, the project is expected to add between $175 million and $200 million annually to Dana Gas's revenues."

(Source: Dana Gas)

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Genel announces First Oil at Sarta

Genel Energy has announced first oil production from the Sarta field (Genel 30% working interest), less than 21 months after the acquisition of the stake was completed.

Production has begun at Sarta with first oil flowing from the Sarta-3 well into the Early Production Facility.

The Sarta-2 workover operation is on track to be completed in December and the well onstream from January. As previously stated, it is expected that a stable production level will be reached in Q1 2021.

Preparations for the 2021 appraisal drilling campaign, which is targeting a material portion of the 250 MMbbls of contingent resources in the Jurassic, are ongoing.

Bill Higgs, Chief Executive of Genel, said:

"First oil at Sarta is an important strategic and operational milestone for Genel, not least given the challenges presented by COVID-19 in 2020. In that context, progressing Sarta to first oil has been a tremendous achievement and a testament to the alignment and co-operation of the field partners and contractors.

"Already the only multi-licence producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the addition of Sarta further diversifies our production and cash flows. We look forward to the results of our well programme in 2021, which is designed to further appraise the potential of the field. This will enable us to work with Chevron to optimise the value of the asset in the years ahead."

(Source: Genel Energy)

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Iraq Finalises Oil Exports for Oct

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced finalised oil exports for October of 89,153,932 barrels, giving an average for the month of 2.876 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the 2.613 million bpd exported in September.

These exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 86,023,204 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 2,867,637 barrels. Exports to Jordan were 263,091 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $3.457 billion at an average price of $38.77 per barrel.

September's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Successful IBBC Conference in Dubai

IBBC's 5th Annual Iraq Conference in Dubai - Opportunity in Adversity

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was much praised at its conference on Thursday for pioneering in COVID-19 times by bringing together senior officials from Iraq, the UAE and the UK, prominent international and Iraqi businessmen, bankers and professional advisers as speakers and over 100 delegates.

With the Address Hotel as host venue implementing the strictest hygiene regime and using video links, delegates enjoyed a day of vigorous analysis and debate about the issues currently creating the adverse conditions dominating the Iraqi political and business landscape and what measures were needed to improve matters, but nevertheless inspirational presentations highlighted success stories across a number of sectors in panel sessions covering energy, finance, infrastructure/logistics and tech.

Highlights of the day were presentations made by Mrs Zena Yousif Iraq consul general in Dubai, the first woman to ever hold that position, and the fact that all the leaders of the energy companies presenting were Iraqi nationals for the first time ever, namely Mr Zaid Elyaseri, Vice President Iraq from BP, Mr Ali Al Janabi, Chairman, from Shell, Mr Musab Alkateeb, Managing Director, from Siemens Energy, and all were addressing common global issues currently affecting that sector - low oil and gas prices, environmental and green issues.

Mr Aziz Khudairi, Chairman of the Khudairi Group with multiple businesses in Iraq urged the Iraqi Government to embrace the private sector to grow prosperity in Iraq and to provide employment for the millions of young Iraqis, to protect Iraqi businesses from unfair dumping by foreign competitors, but in return emphasised the need for the Iraqi workforce to rediscover a work ethic so that Iraqi companies would become efficient and profitable.

Baroness Nicholson made her Welcome Address by video link from London and at the end of the day announced the new annual award to be made to an Iraqi SME for its contribution to business in Iraq, in memory of the recently deceased Engineer Rasmi al Jabri, IBBC deputy chairman.

Amongst the many excellent speakers were:

  • H.E. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE
  • H.E. Dr Abdulkariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Advisory Commission
  • Mrs Zena Yousif, Consulate General of Iraq in Dubai
  • Mr Simon Penny, Her Majesty's UK Trade Commissioner for the Middle East

Conference Sponsors were Basra Gateway Terminal, Siemens Energy and Serco.

Vikas Handa of Gulftek, Conference chairman said:

"Today's IBBC conference in Dubai is the testimony of human resilience on the face of adversity. We had unexpected turnout & great participation from the ministers, industry leaders and businesses from Iraq, UAE & UK.

"We covered a lot of ground to chart the way forward, network & learn from each other. I along with IBBC MD Christophe Michels would like to thank our key members for their unwavering support to make it happen."

In parallel

The Tech Forum took place online, with participants from Iraq, UK, Dubai and France, to review and discuss the digitisation of Iraq, based on the World Bank's Report in April.

Chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC, we reviewed how the Government of Iraq ( GOI ) and digital development in general has been evolving since April, as Alexandre Laure, the World bank Sector specialist, who wrote the report - shared with us areas of development : namely, 6 key areas : Digital inclusion, banking and finance, Investment, Infrastructure, SMEs and start-ups, skill development and linking to external digital organisations. Two areas of progress include the establishment of a Tech fund for start-ups and SME investment, and the payment of Government salaries directly to bank accounts digitally. Additionally, there are areas of deregulation for start -ups and new businesses, although the registration cost of $37500 was deemed exclusionary for most start-ups.

Jawad Abbasi of GSMA MENA said that 4G infrastructure is critical in extending internet across Iraq, and this has been put on hold for the moment. This would increase the ability of users to trade, exchange and create new products on-line, as well as boost the digital economy. Yazen Altimimi CEO of Zain Cash echoed this issue as Zain are often blamed for poor internet experience, when it's an infrastructure issue. Zain's consumer uptake is rapid and there is a healthy growth and interest in the digital economy as a business and consumer medium. If 4G can be delivered the economy will see a rapid upswing. In short there is pent up demand and an appetite from consumers to transact on- line, so it makes sense to deliver 4G to ensure the whole economy expands.

Laura Oliver, director of Iraq Tech Ventures, amplified the issue for start -ups and SME.s who want to trade on line, and the raised the issue of the high cost of registration that prohibits start-ups registering formally, and therefore rely on the cash economy, so they are unable to get formal credit and investment. These two issues, of 4G and registration should be straight forward to address and would make a big different to the overall digital development of the Iraqi economy, and encourage investment from external digital companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

In a second panel: Online Consumer behaviour, Caroline McGarr of ThinkBank - a leading research agency in Irbil, presented key finding among Iraqi consumers between 18-45, and again found a big demand for consumer goods, banking on line for an unbanked 83% of the population. In sectors such as Fashion, health and social media there is enormous pent up demand as over 50% of these people spend over 5 hours a day on-line. Again, the issue of reliable internet, useful apps and products to purchase and reliability of banking, echo the first panel's concerns.

The overall message from both panels is that there is huge unmet demand among youthful Iraqi's for more services, better internet, better banking (trust) and online interaction with Government and products that will be better served by better internet and the proliferation of new goods and services from SMEs and start-ups, who themselves are constrained by registration fees and investment.

A full video of the sessions, including the presentation charts can be viewed here

For more information please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

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GKP Shares Rise as Workover Completed

By John Lee.

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) were trading up 5 percent on Monday morning as the company announced that the planned workover on the SH-12 well has been completed safely.

Jón Ferrier (pictured), Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"We continue to successfully manage the challenging macro backdrop and make operational progress. I am pleased to report the successful planned workover of the SH-12 well, which is currently producing at over 5,000 bopd, driving an approximately 15% increase in production from the field.

"As announced in our half-year results, the SH-12 workover was one of a series of opportunities identified which in aggregate were expected to increase gross production by c.5,000 bopd. With the very successful SH-12 workover result and work to bring SH-9 online and the debottlenecking of PF-1 proceeding as planned, we now expect to exceed our original incremental production expectation.

"We are also pleased to confirm that we expect average production from the Shaikan Field this year to be at the top end of our guidance range for 2020. I look forward to updating all our stakeholders in December 2020 on the wider progress we have made as a business."

Initial production from SH-12 was from the Lower Jurassic Butmah reservoir providing valuable information for future development planning. The workover involved moving up hole, perforating and producing from the main SAM reservoir.

SH-12 returned to production on 15 November 2020 and the well is currently flowing at a stable rate of over 5,000 bopd. The additional production flows to the PF-2 production facility, where there is spare production capacity. The workover design allowed the original Electronic Submersible Pump ("ESP") completion to remain in place during the operation and the ESP is now back-in service. The operation came in ahead of schedule and on budget.

The Company is pleased to confirm that average 2020 gross production is expected to be at the upper end of the previously disclosed guidance range of 35,000 - 36,000 bopd, with the field currently producing at c.39,000 bopd.

The Company intends to publish an Operational & Corporate Update in December 2020.

(Sources: GKP, LSE)

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China to Buy of Exxon’s stake in West Qurna?

By John Lee.

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are reportedly considering acquiring Exxon Mobil's remaining stake in Iraq's West Qurna 1 oilfield.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the stake could fetch more than $500 million.

ExxonMobil originally had a 60% stake in the field, but sold 25% to PetroChina and 10% to Pertamina in November 2013. (Shell originally had a 15% stake, but sold it to CIECO West Qurna Limited, a subsidiary of Japan's Itochu Corporation, in 2018 for $406 million.)

Itochu's website lists the current interests as: ExxonMobil (US (Lead Contractor), 32.7%; Petrochina (China) 32.7%; Itochu (Japan) 19.6%; Pertamina (Indonesia) 10.0%; Oil Exploration Company (Iraqi state-owned company) 5.0%.

More here.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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Iraq Pushes Faw Refinery Project

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has invited international companies to participate in the competition to implement the Faw Refinery Project in Basra.

The project will be offered on a BOO (Build, Own, Operate) or BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) basis.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail said the refinery will be environmentally friendly and in conformity with international standards (EURO 5), adding that a petrochemical complex will be added to the project in the future.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Fmr Australian Exec Arrested over Alleged Iraq Bribery

By John Lee.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has made one arrest, and issued a further two arrest warrants, following an investigation into alleged improper payments made by Singapore-registered Leighton Offshore Pty Ltd, regarding two contracts with Iraq Crude Oil Export in 2010 and 2011.

The Sydney Morning Herald names the arrested suspect as Russell Waugh, a former senior executive from Australian construction giant Leighton Holdings.

Police will allege the key targets of the bribery scheme were Iraqi Ministry of Oil officials and government officials within Iraq's South Oil Company (SOC).

AFP investigators will allege Leighton Offshore Pty Ltd funnelled bribes through entities associated with a United Arab Emirates-based businessman, and Monaco-based Unaoil, to guarantee approvals for the Iraq Crude Oil Export contracts.

More here and here.

(Sources: Australian Federal Police, Sydney Morning Herald)

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