SOMO Boss to be Replaced

By John Lee.

Iraq has replaced the head of its State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO).

Falah al-Amri [Falah Jasim Alamri, Falah al-Amiri], who has been in the top job at SOMO since March 2006, is to become an advisor on marketing and strategy at the Oil Ministry.

He is to be replaced at SOMO by Alaa Khader Kadhim Yasiri.

(Sources: Ministry of Oil, SOMO)

Interview with Ali Fares: Overview of the Opportunities

Ahead of the international Basra Oil, Gas & Infrastructure 2017 Conference which CWC Group hosts annually with the Basra Governorate, the Basra Council and the Basra Oil Company, Nawar Abdulhadi, MENA Director for CWC Group interviewed Mr Ali Shadad Al Fares, Chairman of the Oil & Gas Committee at the Basra Council.

Mr Ali Fares highlights the importance of the Conference for the province this year as well as for the rest of Iraq as Basra moves towards expanding to accommodate the upcoming projects in the new era focusing on rebuilding Iraq.

Mr Al Fares touched upon the oil, gas, petrochemicals and power projects, the infrastructure and constructions projects as well as the transportation and logistics projects which will be addressed at the international conference in Beirut between the 30-31st of October.

Nawar Abdulhadi: What are the current opportunities for companies investing in oil and gas in Basra?

Mr Al Fares: There are many opportunities, which are the focus of the local government of Basra and the Federal Oil Ministry. I would like to highlight the following:

  1. Strategic Sea Water Project to supply the fields for water injection.
  2. Aqaba pipeline project, which extends from Rumaila field to Najaf Governorate.
  3. Investment project in the gas fields with a new economic model (Nahran Omar, national fields, the exploitation of gas flared in the fields of other remaining licensing rounds)
  4. Investment in non-invested oil fields that are managed through the small and medium national effort.
  5. The joint fields with the Iranian side and the Kuwaiti side.
  6. There are different projects within which the size of investment is very important as they must be within the contracts of the licensing rounds, such as digging new wells and the maintenance of the old and the infrastructure of the oil and gas sector.
  7. The Muftiyah tourist project in Basra, located on the Shatt al-Arab, using the private investment model .

Genel Energy Appoints New Directors

By John Lee.

Genel Energy announces that Tim Bushell and Martin Gudgeon have been appointed as independent Non-Executive Directors of the Company with immediate effect.

Mr Bushell is a qualified geologist with over 35 years’ experience working in the oil and gas sector. He is currently on the Boards of Petro Matad, Rockhopper Exploration, and Point Resources. Previously, he spent a decade as CEO of Falkland Oil & Gas, was a co-founder of Core Energy, and was Managing Director of Paladin Resources Norway. Prior to Paladin, he worked at British Gas, Ultramar and Lasmo.

Mr Gudgeon has significant financial and corporate experience, and is a Partner at PJT Partners. Prior to joining PJT Partners, he worked at Blackstone for eight years, serving as a Senior Managing Director, and was the Chief Executive at Close Brothers Corporate Finance. Before that, Mr Gudgeon was at Hill Samuel, including two years on secondment to Macquarie Bank in Sydney, Australia.

The composition of Board committees remains under review.

Stephen Whyte, Chairman of Genel Energy, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Tim and Martin to Genel Energy. Both bring significant relevant experience to the Board, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to build on the momentum in the business and deliver on our strategic objectives.”

Genel instructed independent board search and advisory consultants Spencer Stuart in connection with the appointments.

(Source: Genel Energy)

Sonangol to Transfer Iraqi Oil Fields?

By John Lee.

A recent report suggests that, in the uncertainty following the recent Angolan election, the Iraqi assets of the state-owned oil company Sonangol are in play.

Writing in Seeking Alpha, Jay Currie says the the Najmah and Qaiyarah [Qayara] oil fields may be transferred to Russian service company Eurasia Drilling, and questions the involvement of two Jordanian consultants and a Hong Kong-based company called United Energy Group.

The full article can be read here.

(Source: Seeking Alpha)

(Picture: Oil Minister Luaibi with Sonangol’s Edson Dos Santos, Baghdad, 30th August 2017)

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)

Expert Blog: Debating SOMO Transformation

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Debating SOMO Transformation

New important developments pertaining to or initiated by Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) surfaced during the last few months; they seemed to be integrated components of what was revealed as SOMO’s unstoppable transformation. They are:

  • Partnership with IOCs in activities outside Iraq;
  • Offering crude oil through regular spot/auction-trading;
  • Contemplating oil-hedging and Change of “marker crude” in the pricing formula for Asian market only.

These initiatives could have real, effective and far-reaching consequences in both directions — positive and negative. Thus, serious, evidence-based and professional debate is urgently needed to address all matters relating to SOMO and its unique status not only for the petroleum sector but also for the entire national economy; signs of discontent with SOMO began to show visibility and generate impacts.

In this brief contribution, our Monitoring, Analyzing and Reporting (MAR) (an ongoing activity covering Iraqi petroleum sector), analyses, first, these new four initiatives and highlights many key questions that have to be addressed and specifies critical issues that require further investigation.

That is followed by discussing transparency, as necessary condition for SOMO transformation, and the paper ends with concluding remarks and suggests the launching of SOMO Transformation Debate and convening a special workshop.

Please click here to download the full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at), Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.