Block 10 More Attractive for Lukoil than West Qurna 2

Writing in Oil Price, Simon Watkins points out that the $5.99-per-barrel remuneration that Lukoil will receive under its technical service contract at Block 10 is considerably better than its $1.15/barrel payment at West Qurna 2.

Block 10 includes the Eridu field, which has indicated oil reserves of between 7 and 12 billion barrels, and a proposed peak production rate of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Lukoil has a 60-percent stake in Block 10, with Inpex owning 40 percent.

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Jordanian Firm to build Shatrah General Hospital

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has signed the contract for the construction of the Shatrah General Hospital, in Dhi Qar governorate.

Acting Minister of Health, Dr. Hani Al-Uqabi, signed the contract with a Jordanian company to build the 200-bed facility, with fund including a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The hospital will serve a population of approximately 400,000 people.

(Source: General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers)

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LUKoil files Development Plan for Iraq’s Eridu Oilfield

By John Lee.

Russia's LUKoil and Japan's Inpex Corporation have applied to Iraq's state-owned Dhi-Qar Oil Company (DQOC) for what Lukoil describes as "commerciality of reserves", and filed a preliminary proposal on the development of the Eridu oil field within Block-10.

According to Lukoil, geological exploration has proved significant reserves, making Eridu the largest discovery in Iraq in the last twenty years.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that "the results of the exploration for the Arido field are good ... Lukoil requested an extension of the period to obtain greater reserves."

The Eridu field was discovered in 2016. Preliminary expectations based on studies presented by the Lukoil indicate oil reserves of between 7 and 12 billion barrels, and a proposed peak production rate of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Lukoil has a 60-percent stake in Block 10, with Inpex owning 40 percent.

(Sources: Lukoil, INA, Ministry of Oil)

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Japan extends $300m Loan for Basra Refinery

By John Lee.

Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, visited Iraq on Saturday, meeting with Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, and President Barham Salih.

Minister Motegi announced that Japan intends to extend the "Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (Phase 3)" Yen loan project (up to the amount of 32.7 billion yen) [$300 million], and expressed his hopes that this project would contribute to providing the stable supply of energy and to creating jobs in Iraq. In response, Minister Hussein expressed his gratitude.

Minister Motegi added that he appreciates the publication of the "White Paper for Economic and Financial Reforms", and stated that Japan looks to support Iraq's reform efforts together with the international community through the "Iraq Economic Contact Group."

Both sides also exchanged views on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and means to improve the business and investment environment in Iraq.

(Source: Govt of Japan)

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Iraq Borrows $360m to Reduce Gas Flaring

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing in Basrah Gas Company (BGC) to support one of the largest gas flaring reduction projects in the world, helping to improve energy access, prevent associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and support a more resilient, sustainable energy sector in Iraq.

BGC is an Iraqi joint venture created to treat and process associated gas that would otherwise be flared. The project is expected to increase BGC's processing capacity, thereby avoiding more unnecessary flaring and associated GHG emissions by around 10 million tons per annum. It will support Iraq's transition to a lower carbon path and improve access to a domestic energy source, helping the country meet its growing power needs.

IFC is the lead arranger of the five-year, $360 million loan to BGC.

Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Minister of Oil for Iraq, said:

"Signing the loan agreement reinforces the collective efforts to increase investment in associated gas flaring reduction using world-class technologies. It is in line with our objectives of turning flared gas into cleaner valuable energy and reducing the impact of the Green House Gas emissions on the environment.

"This loan opens new horizons for cooperation and collaboration that serve common purposes and interests, reiterating Iraq's commitment to increasing investment in associated gas flaring reduction and to achieving the objectives set by the Paris Agreement."

Malcolm Mayes, BGC Managing Director, said:

"We are delighted to have successfully signed this loan with IFC, the first loan facility of its kind in the energy sector in Iraq-a milestone to be proud of.

"The agreement demonstrates the strength of Iraqi companies and their ability to attract funding and trust from international banks. The intent of this five-year loan is to support BGC's growth project and turn the otherwise wasted flared gas into much needed energy for the country. Our strategy is in alignment with the government of Iraq's vision to power Iraqi homes with electricity and create a more sustainable energy industry."

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, said:

"This pioneering project has the potential to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, including lower GHG emissions and increased fiscal revenues, and will improve energy access and lower costs for Iraqi citizens.

"The project comes after years of hard work and strong cooperation by all parties involved. We hope that it will send a strong signal to other investors and help drive more private investments to tackle climate change and support inclusive growth in Iraq."

IFC's investment comprises a $137.76 million loan for IFC's own account, a $180 million loan in which participations were syndicated to eight international banks (Bank of China, Citi, Deutsche Bank AG, Industrial Commercial Bank of China, Natixis, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank), and a $42.24 million loan through IFC's Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a platform that allows institutional investors to participate in IFC's loan portfolio. The loan is without recourse to or guarantees from any of the shareholders.

Iraq is endowed with significant reserves of natural gas, mainly produced as a byproduct of legacy oil extraction. However, in the absence of adequate infrastructure to capture and process it, about 70 percent of all natural gas produced in the country is flared. Capturing associated gas for subsequent use can help Iraq reduce overall emissions.

The project benefits from long-standing engagements of the World Bank Group in Iraq's energy sector. Iraq joined the Global Gas Flaring Reduction initiative in 2011 and committed in 2013 to eliminate all routine natural gas flaring by 2030.

(Sources: IFC, Iraqi Govt)

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Iraqi PM lays Foundation Stone for $4bn Refinery Project

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has laid the foundation stone for the South Refineries Company (SRC)'s new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) complex at Basrah Refinery.

The project will be built by Japan's JGC Corporation, and will increase refinery capacity by 55,000 barrels per day (bpd).

It will be funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

More information here, here and here.

(Sources: Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

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Japan Invests Additional $600k for Life-Saving Services in Iraq

Japan Invests Additional US$ 607,500 for Life-Saving Maternal and Protection Services

The Government of Japan approved an additional US$607,500 to support the continuation of reproductive health and gender-based violence-related services provided by UNFPA.

In 2020, Japan contributed US$ 1.3 Million to increase the utilisation, access, and continuation of life-saving, survivor-centred, multi-sectoral gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health (SRH) services in Baghdad, Salahuddin, Anbar, and Nineveh governorates of Iraq.

The new funding will ensure that people in need, particularly returnees in the targeted areas, receive comprehensive reproductive health and gender-based violence services while supporting the prevention of COVID-19 through raising awareness of the most vulnerable communities including the people with disabilities and through the provision of Personal Protection Equipment to services providers.

His Excellency Mr Suzuki Kotaro (pictured), Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated: "Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting over US$50 million including this project as assistance for women and girls."

"With this package, the total amount of Japan's assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$590 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure the protection of women and girls among internally displaced persons, returnee and host community", he added.

"The complexity of challenges faced by the people of Iraq, particularly women and girls, has grown due to COVID-19. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing gaps in social systems. UNFPA strives to ensure that vulnerable women and girls receive a comprehensive package of services, a continuum of care, as well as timely referrals," said Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative to Iraq.

Japan has been a UNFPA strategic partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$12,459,585 over the last six years ensuring most vulnerable women and girls affected by the crisis across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

UNFPA is thankful for the Government of Japan for their commitment to the reproductive rights of women and girls and ending gender-based violence.

(Source: UN)

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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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JGC signs Contract for Basra Refinery Upgrade

By John Lee.

Yesterday (Thursday), the South Refineries Company (SRC) and Iraq's Ministry of Oil (MOO) signed the contract with Japan's JGC Corporation to start construction of a new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Complex at Basrah Refinery.

The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan project.

The contract ceremony was successfully held at the Governmental Palace with the presence of H.E. Mr. Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismael, Minister of Oil, H.E. Dr. Eng. Khaled Battal Najim Abdullah Al-Jujifi, Minister of Planning, Mr. Husam Hussein Weli, Director General, SRC, Mr. Shu Nakagawa, Charge d'Affaires ad interim, Embassy of Japan in Iraq, Mr. Yutaka Yamazaki, President of JGC Corporation, and Mr. Kei Toyama, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office.  At the sideline of the ceremony, H.E. Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi hosted the meeting with the participants.

For this project named "Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (I)(II)", JICA has so far concluded three loan agreements for:

  1. engineering services loan in the amount of JPY 2,079 million [$20 million];
  2. first tranche loan in the amount of JPY 42,435 million [$403 million]; and,
  3. second tranche loan of JPY 110,000 million [$1.04 billion].

This project is the largest Japanese ODA loan project in Iraq. Under the assistance of JICA's concessional loans (low interest rate at 0.20% and the repayment period of 40 years including 10-year grace period). It is expected to be completed in 2025.

According to a statement from JICA, the project to construct Iraq's first-ever FCC Complex will unleash the potential of Iraq's refining sector to produce the larger volume of the high-value outputs, promote the transfer of refining technologies from Japan and help save valuable foreign currencies to import huge amount of fuels.

It says the new plant will also reduce sulfur content in the oil products in accordance with the international environmental standards, adding:

"The project is expected to pave the way for energizing private sector involvement in the downstream of Iraq's energy industry and provide economic and employment opportunities for the people of Iraq, especially in Basrah.

"JICA looks forward to the collaborative efforts made by Iraqi government and the contractor to overcome every challenge to be encountered during project implementation, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  JICA reaffirms its commitment to making every possible means to support in delivering the project benefits and realizing its effectiveness."

(Source: JICA)

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Japanese Firm awarded $3.7bn Iraq Deal

JGC Holdings Corporation announced today that JGC Corporation, which operates the overseas engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) business of the JGC Group, has been received the Letter of Award for the Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project for an Iraqi oil refining company under the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. Details of the project are as follows.

 
1. Client South Refineries Company

(Oil refining company under the Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

2. Construction location Basrah, Republic of Iraq

(Approx. 550 km SE of the capital of Baghdad)

3. Primary equipment(processing abilities) Fluid catalytic cracking unit (34,500 barrels/day),
vacuum distillation unit (55,000 barrels/day),
diesel desulfurization unit (40,000 barrels/day), etc.
4. Contract services Engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning
5. Contract type Lump sum contract
6. Order amount Approx. 400 billion JPY
7. Scheduled completion 2025

Iraq is one of the world's leading oil-producing countries, with a confirmed crude oil reserve of 145 billion barrels and a daily crude oil production of 4.41 million barrels. However, the two refineries currently in operation were constructed in the 1970s and their production capacity has decreased due to war damage and deterioration. Unable to meet domestic demand for petroleum products, Iraq has to import petroleum products such as gasoline.

This upgrading of the Basrah refinery will newly install, on land adjacent to the existing Basrah refinery, fluid catalytic cracking unit, vacuum distillation unit, and diesel desulfurization unit, etc., thereby increasing production to 19,000 barrels/day of gasoline and 36,000 barrels/day of diesel fuel, making it possible to reduce the gap in supply and demand for petroleum products.

In addition, the petroleum products produced at the modernized refinery will meet international environmental standards and it is expected that they will contribute to reducing the environmental impact. This project is positioned as spearheading the modernization and sophistication of Iraq's oil refining sector.

Funding for the project will be procured through Japanese ODA loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and is the largest-scale reconstruction assistance from Japan since the 2003 Iraq War.

In carrying out this project, the Group plans to conduct skills training for more than 1,000 Iraqis and to hire approximately 7,000 skilled Iraqi workers. Furthermore, it is expected that more than 2,000 operating personnel jobs will be created after the project's completion, which will contribute to solving the unemployment problem in Iraq

The Group completed a power station reconstruction project in Iraq in 2013, and this is the Group's second project in Iraq. The Group will contribute to the reconstruction and economic development of Iraq through the successful completion of this project.

(Source: JGC)