Taq Taq September Production Below Average

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that production at its Taq Taq field in Iraqi Kurdistan, in which it has a 44 percent working interest, averaged 13,475 barrels per day in September.

This is considerably below the 2017 year-to-date average of 19,398 barrels per day.

(Source: Genel Energy)

Iran Bans Oil Products Shipment to Iraqi Kurdistan

Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development warned companies against shipment of oil products to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan “until further notice”.

The decision is in line with Tehran’s series of measures in response to a referendum held in the semi-autonomous region on possible secession from Iraq which has drawn international criticism.

“Given the recent developments in the region, it is suitable that international transportation companies and drivers active in this field avoid loading and carrying oil products to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region until further notice,” a directive by the ministry’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization said.

“It should be noted that the consequences of any action in this regard would befall the relevant company,” it added.

The transportation is mostly carried out by tanker trucks which take crude oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan to Iran and carry back refined products to the region.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Region went ahead with its plan to hold the referendum on Monday while Iraq’s neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, had voiced opposition to such a move and supported the Baghdad central government.

On Monday night, thousands of Kurdish people in favor of KRG’s secession from Iraq took to the streets in Erbil, with some waving Israeli flags to celebrate.

No one in the region, except Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, endorsed the referendum, and all neighbors have warned that the secession plan would bring instability to the region and disintegrate Iraq.

Pressure has been building on officials in Erbil, Kurdistan’s regional capital, over the referendum, with regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines submitting to Baghdad’s request to suspend their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Putin boxed in by Iran, Turkey on Iraqi Kurdish referendum

From Al Monitor. Any opinions here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had been banking on Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani.

Over the past year, Russia has invested over $4 billion in the Kurdistan Region’s energy sector, overtaking the United States as the largest investor. By making such a commitment to northern Iraq, Putin was likely counting on both an eventual energy windfall and another card to play as a regional broker at the expense of the United States.

He could count on good, or at least working, relationships with Damascus, Tehran, Ankara, to some extent Baghdad and, with the massive oil and gas venture, Erbil.

What the Russian president had not banked on was that Barzani would go ahead with the independence referendum on Sept. 25 against widespread international and regional opposition. The Kremlin, of course, could not support ethnic separatism, and was probably hoping for a last-minute deal with Baghdad to stave off the vote.

As the prospects of a postponement collapsed, Barzani likely saw Russia’s investment as a hedge against the nearly unified international opposition to its referendum on independence.

Putin, of course, kept up appearances of being in control, but there was no denying the unusual nature of his visit to Ankara on Sept. 28 for consultations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just three days after the referendum vote.

Erdogan’s position was predictable and blustery, including when he said, “No one has a right to throw our region into the fire,” as Yekaterina Chulkovskaya reports. But Putin sought to dial it down, and instead referred to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement, which included the phrase “Moscow respects the national aspirations of the Kurds” and the hope for a “constructive and respectful dialogue, with a view to devising a mutually acceptable formula of coexistence within a single Iraqi state,” as reported by Jasper Mortimer.

Iraq seeks to collect KRG’s Oil Revenues

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has hinted that his government wants to take control of revenue generated from Kurdish oil exports.

The measure is the latest of a set of actions taken by Baghdad against the Kurdistan Region for carrying out last week’s referendum that saw a 92-percent vote for independence, the first of which saw a ban in international flights to and from the Kurdish region.

Abadi said in a tweet that his government wanted to pay monthly salaries of KRG employees with money from Kurdish oil sales.  “Federal government control of oil revenues is in order to pay KR (Kurdistan Region) employee salaries in full and so that money will not go to the corrupt,” Abadi tweeted.

The Kurdistan Region has described the Iraqi-imposed flight ban, and other measures as “collective punishment,” that, among others, affect the wounded Kurdish Peshmerga who need medical treatment abroad, and Yezidi survivors of IS atrocities.

Amanj Rahim, the secretary of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), told the Kurdish parliament on September 30 that the oil export through Turkey’s Ceyhan pipeline was going ahead as normal.

Separately, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reassured Kurdish citizens they will remain secure even as the government escalates its measure against their region’s government over the recent referendum on independence.

You are citizens of the first degree, we will not allow any harm to you and we will share our loaf of bread together,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, addressing Kurds via twitter on September 30. “To our people in the Kurdistan region: We defend our Kurdish citizens as we defend all Iraqis and will not allow any attack on them,” Abadi added.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Oil Exports Up Slightly in September

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has announced preliminary oil exports for September of 97,204,267 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.240 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly more than the 3.216 bpd exported in August.

The exports were entirely from the southern terminals, with no exports from Kirkuk via Ceyhan.

Revenues for the month were $4.882 billion at an average price of $50.225 per barrel.

August export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Post-Referendum Threats And Demands

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Kurdish Politicians Talk About Post-Referendum Threats And Demands

While many uncertainties remain about Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum on independence, there is one thing that seems clear to the people on the streets: On the day, the semi-autonomous region felt united in a way that it has not been for a long time.

Part of the reason Iraqi Kurdistan has remained an oasis of relative calm and security, while the rest of Iraq fell apart during the recent security crisis caused by the extremist group known as the Islamic State and earlier, is that the Kurdish people have always considered their ethnicity more important than the religious sect they belong to.

Ethnicity has trumped religion in their case and, despite infighting, has tended to unite locals in this area, with the long-term goal being to form their own nation.

In many other situations recently, the Kurdish have been divided – often between the two zones that basically make up the semi-autonomous northern region, which are run by the two major political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK.

Up until the very last minute some of the region’s political parties remained opposed to the referendum. The KDP, the PUK and the Kurdistan Islamic Union had supported the referendum while the Change movement, also known as Goran, and the Islamic Group of Kurdistan wanted it postponed.

Just one day before the referendum though, when it became clear it was going ahead, the Islamic Group of Kurdistan relented and senior members said they would be voting “yes” in the poll.

Even the Change movement, a long-time opposition group in the region that formed on an anti-corruption platform, told members to follow their own consciences. Then the movement also told members they should vote, and that they should vote “yes”.

Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor: If Baghdad Blockades Us, ‘We Will Manage’

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor: If Baghdad Blockades Us, ‘We Will Manage’

In an interview, the controversial governor of Kirkuk, Najmuddin Karim, talks about Baghdad’s attempts to fire him, military tensions and what happens if Baghdad stops sending money.

On September 14, the Iraqi parliament voted to dismiss the governor of Kirkuk from his post. The decision came after the governor, Najmuddin Karim, said that the Kirkuk area would also take part in the Kurdish referendum on independence held this week, on Monday.

The Kurdish minority in Iraq want their region to secede from the rest of Iraq and to begin to start a new nation; they already have their own government, military, and borders.

The decision on Karim’s position was made in the Iraqi parliament even though Kurdish MPs boycotted the vote. Karim rejected the dismissal as did the political party he belongs to, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, and the Iraqi Kurdish government, which controls the semi-autonomous northern region.

The Kirkuk provincial council also supported the governor. However Arab and Turkmen members of the council who represent a significant proportion of Kirkuk’s population boycotted the session.

Kirkuk is one of Iraq’s most controversial “disputed areas” – that is, an area that the Iraqi government says belongs to Iraq but which the Kurdish believe should be part of their region. Although the Iraqi Kurdish military control the district, the population includes significant numbers of Arabs and Turkmen too, and this is why the city is often referred to as a potential flashpoint for ethnic conflict.

Karim spoke to NIQASH about the Kurdish referendum on independence as well as his dismissal and its ramifications for his authority in Kirkuk in the future.

NIQASH: There were a number of different options presented to the Kurdish leadership along with requests to postpone the referendum, but none of them seemed to be acceptable. Why?

Najmuddin Karim: The alternative proposals were not concrete. When the Iraqi prime minister spoke about problems, he was talking about amending the Constitution, which isn’t possible. We would only have agreed to postpone the referendum on condition that a date for Kurdish independence was set. There is no doubt that Kirkuk has a Kurdish identity and that its fate is entwined with that of the Kurdish region.

Kuwait Energy plans New Wells in Iraq

By John Lee.

Kuwait Energy has said that by focusing on its Iraqi operations, it is protected against oil price fluctuations, allowing it to sustain growth and a strong balance sheet even under volatile market conditions.

In its Financial Statement for 1st Half 2017, the company says:

Our finances reflect the continued growth in the Company’s operations, and although global oil prices fell by around 20% in the second quarter of the year we remained profitable, a testimony to our naturally hedged Iraqi production, which continues to increase, reflected in the 47% increase in revenues – in comparison to the same period last year – and a healthy cash balance in excess of US$67.0 million …

In Iraq, we are paid regularly in the form of assigned crude shipments. The increase in our Iraqi production is now enabling us to take larger crude liftings than before. With the additional wells coming on stream over the coming months, these shipments will be more frequent adding to our cashflow growth. We are currently loading our largest Iraqi crude shipment and expect to receive the payment before the end of October 2017.

The company has interests in Mansuriya, Siba, and Block 9.

(Source: Kuwait Energy)

(Picture: Sara Akbar, CEO, Kuwait Energy)

Iraq to Invest in Joint Oil Projects with Iran

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] (pictured) has said an agreement will soon be signed with Iran to jointly invest in two oil fields shared between the two countries.

Last month, Iraq’s Ambassador to Tehran, Rajih al-Mussawi, said his country was considering a plan to cooperate with Iran to develop the Azadegan oil field which the two sides share.

According ot PressTV, Iran discovered the Azadegan field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades.  It is believed to be connected with Iraq’s supergiant Majnoon oil field.

Japan’s Inpex was contracted to develop the Azadegan project, but later quit in an apparent reaction to US sanctions against Iran.

Shell is reportedly trying to quit the Majnoon project, but has also submitted its technical study plan to Iranian authorities to develop the Azadegan and Yadavaran oil fields.

(Source: PressTV)

Turkey Threatens to Invade Iraq, Cut Off Oil Pipeline

By John Lee.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (pictured) has threatened to invade Iraq, and said he could cut off the oil export pipeline from Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, following the vote supporting independence in Iraqi Kurdistan.

We have the tap,” he said. “It is done once, we close the tap.

The pipeline typically carries between 500,000 and 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

In a strongly-worded speech, Erdoğan said that fighting the Iraqi Kurdish bid for independence was “a matter of survival“.

His Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, added that Ankara could take punitive measures involving borders and air space against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Shares in Genel Energy fell 7 percent in early trading on Tuesday, but had recovered by lunchtime; Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) was down 2 percent, while Norway’s DNO was 5 percent higher.

(Sources: The Independent, Alliance News, Reuters, Yahoo!)