Rosneft “Paid Mystery Consultant $250m in Iraq Deal”

By John Lee.

Russia’s state oil company Rosneft has reportedly paid $250 million to an external consultant to help secure deals in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Bloomberg reports that Rosneft Trading SA in 2017 “entered into an advisory agreement with an external consultant for advisory services relating to Rosneft Group’s proposed concession agreement and Production Sharing Contracts (“PSCs”) with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (“KRG”)”.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Bloomberg)

KRG takes action to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani (pictured) today chaired a cabinet meeting with governors from the Kurdistan Region to discuss recent developments, along with the steps the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is taking to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Minister of Health Saman Hussein Muhammed updated the Prime Minister and his cabinet on the latest data regarding the spread of the coronavirus around the world and across the region, and presented immediate actions and measures the KRG is undertaking to prevent the virus from entering the Kurdistan Region.

The KRG Council of Ministers issued several decisions to protect the health of the Kurdistan Region’s citizens, as follows:

• The KRG will deliver up-to-date accurate information and instructions to the public on a daily basis, with the help of media organisations.

• The KRG will declare the period of 26 February to 10 March a public holiday for all public and private schools and kindergartens in the Kurdistan Region. Public and private universities will be closed from 29 February to 10 March. All schools and universities will remain closed during the spring break (10 March – 23 March) before reopening on 24 March. The Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research will prepare a schedule that enables students to catch up with their studies.

• The KRG will screen domestic and international tourists entering the Kurdistan Region, in addition to limiting their movements. No one will be permitted to enter the Kurdistan Region without the required medical checks.

• The KRG will ensure people have access to everyday commodities, and that shops in the Kurdistan Region will continue stocking essential goods. The KRG will prevent the price manipulation of essential goods, and take action against anyone who attempts to benefit illegally from this situation.

• The Ministry of Finance and Economy will provide financial support to governorates and local administrations, working closely with the Ministries of Interior and Health.

The KRG is encouraging everyone to help with the implementation of these preventative steps, and to follow instructions and advice provided by healthcare professionals to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Barzani also briefed ministers on the KRG delegation’s recent series of important meetings with world leaders in Germany, Italy and the Vatican. He provided an update on the latest efforts in Baghdad to form a new federal government, and stressed the Kurdistan Region, as an official and constitutional entity in Iraq, is the only body which can decide on its representatives in the federal government’s cabinet.

He added that all Kurdistani political parties in Baghdad were in agreement, and praised them for presenting a united front.

(Source: KRG)

KRG “Agrees 2020 Budget Share with Baghdad”

By John Lee.

Erbil and Baghdad have reportedly reached an agreement on Erbil’s contribution to the 2020 federal budget.

According to Reuters, the state news agency INA says the deal includes a transfer of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the oil-producing region to Iraq’s national budget.

Iraq’s 2020 federal budget is currently under discussion in parliament.

(Source: Reuters)

KRG Delays Payments to Oil Firms

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has delayed payments to oil producers by several weeks.

In statements to the markets on on Thursday, Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) and Shamaran Petroleum said that payments relating to invoices for oil production in August and September, which were due to be paid in November and December, will be received in January 2020.

(Sources: Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), Shamaran Petroleum)

KRG Delays Payments to Oil Firms

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has delayed payments to oil producers by several weeks.

In statements to the markets on on Thursday, Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) and Shamaran Petroleum said that payments relating to invoices for oil production in August and September, which were due to be paid in November and December, will be received in January 2020.

(Sources: Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), Shamaran Petroleum)

DNO announces Oil and Gas Discovery

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced issuance of a notice of discovery to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well, in accordance with the requirements of the Production Sharing Contract, after flowing hydrocarbons to surface from the upper part of Triassic Kurra Chine B reservoir.

Following acid stimulation, the zone flowed variable rates of light oil and sour gas. Further testing of this and other Jurassic and Triassic zones is ongoing and will determine the next steps towards appraisal and assessment of commerciality.

The Baeshiqa-2 well was spud in February 2019 and drilled to a total depth of 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS).

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 (KRG) with 20 percent.

(Source: DNO)

DNO announces Oil and Gas Discovery

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced issuance of a notice of discovery to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well, in accordance with the requirements of the Production Sharing Contract, after flowing hydrocarbons to surface from the upper part of Triassic Kurra Chine B reservoir.

Following acid stimulation, the zone flowed variable rates of light oil and sour gas. Further testing of this and other Jurassic and Triassic zones is ongoing and will determine the next steps towards appraisal and assessment of commerciality.

The Baeshiqa-2 well was spud in February 2019 and drilled to a total depth of 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS).

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 (KRG) with 20 percent.

(Source: DNO)

Baghdad sends delegation to Erbil to Resolve Disputes

By Dana Taib Menmy for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi President Barham Salih met separately Sept. 18 with four Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leaders — President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, parliament Speaker Rewaz Fayaq and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in Erbil, the KRG capital.

The purpose of Salih’s visit was to warn the KRG about the region’s share in Iraq’s federal budget for 2020, scheduled to be passed by the national parliament by the end of the year.

A well-informed source close to the ruing elites in both Baghdad and Erbil told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the Iraqi president — who is Kurdish — cautioned the Kurdish leadership that the federal government in Baghdad will cut the Kurdistan region’s share of budget, including salaries of the KRG employees, if Erbil fails to hand over a portion of its oil to the State Organization for Marketing of Oil. The organization is responsible for selling Iraq’s oil.

Click here to read the full story.

New Pipeline to Transport Iraqi Oil to Turkey

By Omar Sattar for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

New pipeline in works to transport Iraqi oil to Turkey

Ankara and Baghdad are working toward building a new oil pipeline with the capacity to transport one million barrels per day from Iraq’s Kirkuk fields to the Turkish border.

“The Iraqi government is now examining tenders for the new oil pipeline between Iraqi and Turkey, after having finished with the engineering and technical studies,” Iraqi Ministry of Oil spokesperson Assem Jihad told Al-Monitor recently.

He added that construction will probably get underway in 2020.

Click here to read the full story.

Oil Ministry’s “Odious Contract’ Trap” with ExxonMobil

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

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

The Ministry of Oil and the “Odious Contract’ Trap” with ExxonMobil’ Consortium

Talks have intensified recently about the continuation of negotiations between the Ministry of Oil (MoO) and ExxonMobil/CNPC consortium that might lead to the signing of a contract for the “South Iraq Integrated Project (SIIP)” at an estimated cost of $53 billion and a duration of 30 years, but no official confirmation or indications on the fundamental contractual provisions that were agreed on and those still pending.

In the light of the available information, material evidence, actual examples, international geopolitical considerations and comparative analysis, a detailed evidence-based research and Report* was done on the project and related negotiation.

The report on SIIP’ possible contract comprises:

  • A necessary introduction and caveat;
  • Political and geopolitical implications of ExxonMobil behavior and its apparent link to the “deep state” based on many evidences that actually and factually had negative consequences on oil projects, for example, in Russia and in Iraq.

In Russia, ExxonMobil caused a delay of almost four years in the development of the Pobeda oil discovery in the Kara Sea when ExxonMobil withdrew, in late 2014, from its deal with Rosneft due to imposing US sanctions on Russia.

Iraq had three bad experiences with this company in recent years. The first, when ExxonMobil negotiated secretly and concluded, against declared government policy, deals with KRG in 2011 soon after the company secured West Qurna 1 contract through first bid round with the federal ministry.

That move led to excluding ExxonMobil from leading Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP), reduce its Participating Interest in WQ1 and blacklisting it from any upstream project.

The second and third bad experience occurred this year when the company evacuated, unilaterally and without government consent, all its foreign staff from WQ1. All these three incidents caused tremendous damage to Iraqi economic interest.

  • Potential strategic risks, of an enormous scale, on SIIP that could be generate from the growing deterioration of the American-China relations as evidenced from the blacklisting of two major state oil companies, i.e. Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp and Sinopec. US escalating tension against Iran adds further geopolitical risks;
  • Analyses of what would be SIIP contract was premised on what was reported by national and international sources that are originally based on information given by unnamed Iraqi officials. That was due to the absence of clarity and lack of transparency of the ministry regarding essential contractual terms and conditions.

Based on the analyses and findings of the report, I am compelled to clearly alert and strongly, frankly and loudly warn both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Oil of the danger of pushing Iraq into a “trap of an odious contract” and by specifying ten of its most grave risks and disadvantages:

  1. ExxonMobil, as the consortium leader, is granted a monopoly position that allows the company directly controlling all vital oil projects in southern Iraq, and thus the entire national economy, for thirty years;
  2. It poses a multiplicity of major threats to national security and economic interest due to what can be called contractually-connected high strategic and geopolitical risks, since SIIP comprises many critical and vital projects such as Common Seawater Supply project-CSSP (for water injection), pipelines, storage tank-farms, export facilities, gas processing units and two oilfields;
  3. It contravenes the fundamental premises of the Iraqi Constitution because the contract requires “mortgaging/ reserving/ booking” two oilfields, with a combined plateau production of 500kbd, exclusively for the two foreign oil companies, i.e. ExxonMobil and CNPC, for the entire term of the contract- 30 years;
  4. It offers “Profit-Sharing Contract”, which, in reality, represents the monetary side of a “Production Sharing Contracts”, which, is impermissible by the Constitution;
  5. The announced astronomical cost (of $30bilion) increased already by $11billion in less than ten weeks while negotiating!;
  6. It offers all rent (windfall) resulting from oil price increases exclusively to the two foreign companies, nothing for Iraq!;
  7. It prevents SOMO (the only State Oil Marketing Company) from performing its role in marketing crude oil from the “mortgaged” two oilfields; this contravenes established policy, undermines annual state budget laws and weakens almost 50 years of SOMO’s function;
  8. It reduces the “national efforts” in the development of oilfields, thus, contradicting declared Ministry policy, weakens Iraq’s flexibility to comply with OPEC decisions through “swing fields”;
  9. Inconsistent with the regulations for tendering and contracting government projects;
  10. It lacks both transparency and competitiveness.

Therefore, I suggested to the Ministry of Oil not to continue on wasting time and causing further delays: it should officially declare that it is not in Iraq’s economic interest and national security to award SIIP to ExxonMobil-CNPC (and for this matter to any one consortium) and end, immediately, all and any related negotiations.

In the event that the Ministry of Oil and/or the Government insist on going ahead with this Odious Contract with ExxonMobil-CNPC, it becomes inevitable to refer the matter to the Federal Supreme Court to invalidate the contract on the bases of incompatibility with the Constitution; for eradicating the highest interest of the Iraqi people, including future generations (principle of inter-generational equity)  and for returning Iraq to what looks like abhorrent concessions of the, colonial, past.

*A brief of the original Arabic text of the entire report was circulated widely within many networks and was published by and posted on many websites, and accessible on the following links:

الحذر يا وزارة النفط من “فخ العقد البغيض” مع شركة اكسون موبل

https://www.akhbaar.org/home/2019/8/261291.html

http://www.tellskuf.com/index.php/mq/83987-as174.html

http://www.sahat-altahreer.com/?p=49115

Click here to download the full article in pdf format.

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)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.