Iraqi Kurdistan sticks with AstraZeneca Vaccine

By Adam Lucente for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq's Kurdistan region sticks with AstraZeneca vaccine, reports no issues

Kurdish authorities say they will continue administering the vaccine following the European Union's conclusion that blood clots should be listed among "rare side effects" of the British-Swedish vaccine.

Click here to read the full story.

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COVID-19: Iraqi Kurdistan reinstates Travel Ban

By Al-Monitor staff. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Kurdistan reinstates travel ban

Daily coronavirus cases are approaching historical highs in the autonomous part of northern Iraq as vaccination efforts proceed at a crawl.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq restricted domestic travel on Tuesday to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to read the full story.

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Deloitte Report on Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas

Deloitte report on Oil and Gas review in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region - Q1 to Q3 of 2020

The KRG's Regional Council of Oil and Gas Affairs has published a report containing verified statistics covering the Kurdistan Region's oil exports, consumption and revenues for period 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

The report, available in Kurdish, English and Arabic, provides a quarterly analysis of oil export information and average prices.

The data verification was performed by Deloitte.

Transparency being central to the cabinet agenda, the KRG regularly assesses what additional disclosures would enhance the transparency of its oil and gas sector. Accordingly, from 2019 the KRG started providing information on the prepayment balances it owes to oil traders and in 2020 disclosures are further extended to include reconciliation between production and exports and local consumptions.

The Regional Council for Oil and Gas Affairs acknowledges the positive feedback received so far from domestic and international stakeholders. The council reiterates its commitment to the people of Kurdistan that Deloitte will continue to independently review the region's oil and gas sector.

A frequently asked questions handbook (also available in Kurdish, English and Arabic) will help readers to understand the report's contents.

Click here to download the reports.

(Source: KRG)

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KRG proposes new Minister of Natural Resources

By John Lee.

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, has nominated Dr. Kamal Atroshi to the post of Minister of Natural Resources, a position which includes responsibility for the oil and gas portfolio.

A statement from KRG spokesperson Dr. Jotiar Adil said, "It is our hope that the Kurdistan Parliament includes this topic in its next session and provides a vote of confidence".

According to his Linked-In profile, Dr al-Atroshi was educated in Iraq and France, and has worked extensively in the oil sector in Kuwait. He has held positions with the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), Gas & Oil Field Services Company (GOFSCO), and Total.

(Sources: Kurdistan Regional Government, Linked-In)

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KRG to Resume Override Payments to Genel

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has received notice from the Kurdistan Regional Government ('KRG') that override payments, whereby Genel receives 4.5% of monthly Tawke gross field revenues, will resume with the January 2021 invoice, to be paid in February 2021. Assuming the prevailing oil price, this translates into over $5 million of additional cash proceeds on a monthly basis.

This is consistent with the communication received from the KRG as announced on 17 April, which stated that the override payments would be suspended for at least nine months, and also that in a scenario where the oil price recovers to c.$50/bbl, a review of the situation would take place immediately in respect of the outstanding receivable.

In line with this communication, the KRG has now also submitted a reconciliation model for repayment of the receivable relating to amounts owed for invoices for oil sales from November 2019 to February 2020 and the suspended override from March to December 2020. We will work through this submission and update the market when appropriate, as further discussions with the KRG take place.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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KRG DPM Talabani to Speak at Virtual Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum

Kurdistan's Deputy Prime Minister HE Qubad Talabani to Speak at the Virtual Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum

  • Inaugural Conference set to navigate the economic future Kurdistan and Iraq
  • Conference will include online sessions available live and on demand for all attendees
  • Delegates will gain insights into the latest policy and project announcements, crucial for successful investment decisions in the region as well as the key recovery strategies post pandemic
  • Virtual Event will take place on 17 - 18 November through an interactive platform

CWC and Global Future Energy are hosting the Kurdistan-Iraq Economic Forum with the support of the KRG High Commission to the UK.

Sponsored by Chevron, the Forum aims to be the first gathering dedicated to the economic diversification of the Region, and will include 6 panel sessions, enabling senior decision makers across multiple industries to engage with each other virtually to address current issues and facilitate practical solutions to advance the economy in these challenging times.

Confirmed speakers include:

  1. HE Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister, Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq HE
  2. HE Safeen Dizayee, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  3. HE Karwan Jamal, Kurdistan Region High Representative to the UK, London
  4. HE Dr Amanj Raheem, Cabinet Minister, Member of the Oil & Gas Council, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  5. HE Kamal Muslim Saeed, Minister of Trade & Industry, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  6. Matthew M. Zais, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs, US Department of Energy

"The Kurdistan Region has an opportunity to become an important commercial centre in Iraq and the region in order to attract foreign investments to implement strategic projects" said Prime Minister Barzani last month at the Supreme Economic Council meeting in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and a number of ministers and governors.

In light of the current unprecedented circumstances, decision-makers and influencers from various industries will gather to unlock new business opportunities on all levels of the economy   by addressing the following themes:

  • Extending the Value Chain beyond Producing Oil: How the Oil Sector Could Enrich Economic Diversification?
  • Kurdistan plans to privatize the electricity sector, opportunities for investors
  • Diversifying the energy mix to increase the role of gas and renewables
  • How to grow non-oil sectors that will provide a sustainable source of growth?
  • Fiscal reforms packages to support the recovery of post pandemic
  • Maximizing strategic alignment with the major companies to support in building the region's infrastructure
  • Promoting the growth of the economy through innovations in procurement and financial supply chain management processes

Over the past decade, the CWC Iraq Portfolio has hosted over 100+ Ministers and Senior Officials at various events. The Inaugural Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum will bring together the international commercial executives interested in investing in Kurdistan.  CWC, now a brand of Global Future Energy, will again provide the only international platform for high level stakeholders in the Region to convene.

For further information, visit https://www.kurdistan-economic.com/

To access the full programme, please click here.

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Covid-19: KRG makes Masks Mandatory in Public

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs meeting on combating new wave of Covid_19

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a meeting with the government's high-level committee on the coronavirus outbreak via video conference.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Minister of Health presented a detailed report on the increasing number of infections and fatalities in the Kurdistan Region due to a recent surge in Covid_19 cases. The Minister of Interior then presented a report on government measures to enforce compliance with the government's health advice.

Following an exchange of views on how to curb the spread of the disease, the government's committee on coronavirus made the following decisions:

  1. First: The government's public health guidance will continue, including quarantine and delivering services to the infected, contacts and tourists. The campaign to spread awareness on the disease and health advice will intensify too.
  2. Second: The committee also decided to make wearing a mask mandatory in public places and institutions. There will be a supply of masks at government institutions for people visiting these places. Violators will be held accountable to the law.
  3. Third: The government will allocate an additional 5 billion Iraqi dinars to fight the pandemic. Health institutions in all provinces and counties can benefit from these funds.
  4. Fourth: The government will facilitate the production of masks and other equipment to ensure high quality and affordable pricing.
  5. Fifth: The Ministry of Health is permitted to expand laboratory services and set necessary mechanisms to diagnose and identify virus patients Ministry teams will continue contact tracing and tracking suspect cases.
  6. Sixth: The Ministries of Health and Interior along with the Department of Foreign Relations were assigned to contact and visit relevant departments in the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as well as consulates and international organisations to seek assistance for the fight against the virus.
  7. Seventh: The travel ban between provinces in the Kurdistan Region and between the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi cities will continue, and measures to protect from the virus will toughen amid a recent surge in infections. The Ministries of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior were also assigned to schedule reporting to duty hours in a way to minimise travel and contact, especially for those who commute from other cities to work. The same will apply to employees of other departments, who have to commute to work.

(Source: KRG)

KRG PM Barzani calls for Constitutional Solution

Prime Minister Barzani chairs cabinet meeting, calls for constitutional solution to problems with Baghdad

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a cabinet meeting in Erbil on Wednesday to discuss economic conditions in the Kurdistan Region and outstanding problems with the federal government.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister wished success to the new Iraqi cabinet, and stressed the need for a constitutional solution to ongoing issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

The cabinet discussed proposed draft bills covering the selling and renting of public properties, investment, and patients' rights. Relevant departments in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) were assigned to prepare final drafts for parliament.

Prime Minister Barzani said the Kurdistan Region is going through difficult economic times due to falling oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and must make adjustments due to limited financial resources.

He called for a review of the economy in light of the regional financial downturn, and underlined the importance of continuing to implement the Reform Law (2020).

The Prime Minister said the KRG will do its best to pay public sector salaries, and reiterated his commitment to continue providing public services and strengthening the region's infrastructure.

During the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Talabani provided an update on recent discussions with federal authorities on budgetary issues and oil exports. He said dialogue with Baghdad will continue to reach a deal on outstanding problems.

(Source: KRG)

DNO Completes Baeshiqa Testing, Prepares to Spud Next Well

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has announced completion of testing and appraisal of the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the imminent spud of an exploration well on a separate prospect, Zartik, located 15 kilometers southeast on the same license.

The testing has proven oil and gas in three separate Triassic aged reservoirs. Evaluation of the test results will determine next steps towards further appraisal and assessment of commerciality.

As previously reported, in November 2019 DNO issued a notice of discovery to the government that hydrocarbons had been flowed to surface from the upper part of Triassic Kurra Chine B reservoir during first phase of testing. The reservoir produced between 900 and 3,500 barrels of oil per day (bopd) with specific gravity ranging between 40o and 52o API and sour gas between 8.5 to 15 million standard cubic feet per day (MMcfd).

Following a workover and acid stimulation, testing resumed in March 2020 in three other separate Triassic aged reservoirs with each flowing variable rates of light oil and sour gas, too.

During the second phase of testing, the lower Kurra Chine B reservoir produced between 600 to 3,500 bopd with specific gravity ranging between 47o and 55o API and sour gas between 4 to18 MMcfd. The test demonstrated that the upper and lower Kurra Chine B reservoirs are in communication, proving a hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir interval of around 150 meters.

The Kurra Chine A reservoir flowed between 950 to 3,100 bopd of 30o to 34o API and sour gas ranging from 1.8 to 3.6 MMcfd from a hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir interval of 70 meters.

The Kurra Chine C reservoir was the deepest encountered in the well covering only 34 meters of what is expected to be a thicker reservoir of around 200 meters. The drilled interval has been exposed to significant fracture damage due to the pumping of lost circulation material. The reservoir produced between 200 to 1,200 bopd of 52o API gravity and sour gas between 3.8 to 6 MMcfd.

Shallower Jurassic aged reservoirs were encountered during drilling and tested. However, the tested zones were not acid stimulated, and the results are inconclusive. The well was spud in February 2019 and drilled to a total depth of 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS), encountering almost a kilometer of fractured carbonates with poor to good oil shows. Baeshiqa-2 well was drilled safely, below budget and with all exploration objectives achieved.

The Zartik-1 well is anticipated to spud on 15 May 2020. Site construction was completed ten days ago on time and below budget.

DNO acquired a 32 percent interest and operatorship of the Baeshiqa license in 2017. Partners include ExxonMobil with 32 percent, Turkish Energy Company (TEC) with 16 percent and the Kurdistan Regional Government with 20 percent.

(Source: DNO)

Baghdad “Halts Payments to KRG”

By John Lee.

Baghdad is said to have stopped payments to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Writing for Argus Media, Rowena Edwards says central government will also seek to recover payments made since the start of the year, in the absence of KRG transfers of crude oil, which were part of the as-yet-unsigned 2020 budget.

More here.

(Source: Argus Media)