Iraqi Kurdistan Cabinet finally sees daylight

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.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani presented his new Cabinet July 10, vowing to institute reforms and reinvigorate the semi-autonomous government in Erbil, Iraq.

Three main parties in Iraqi Kurdistan were able to reach an understanding on their ministerial nominations to finally form the new government: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran (Change) movement.

Parliament now has confirmed 21 ministers for the Cabinet, though the controversial post of the natural resources minister remains vacant.

Click here to read the full story.

The debate over Iraqi Kurdistan’s share of Budget

The Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies has just published a new report from our Expert Blogger Ahmed Tabaqchali:

The current debate over the interpretation of the 2019 budget that governs the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) share of the federal budget in return for contributing 250,000 bbl/d to federal oil exports has echoes of the first conflict in April 2012 on the issue.

The adept quote above by the International Crisis Group (ICC), in its description of the relationship between the two sides leading to that conflict, is as applicable today as it was then, and over the many repeats of similar conflicts in the intervening years.

The current flare up is initiated by members of the federal parliament against the Government of Iraq (GoI) over its continuing payments to the KRG, under the terms of the 2019 budget, while the KRG has not or refused to honour its obligations under the terms of the same budget.

The internal and external dynamics of the players on both sides, the federal politicians and the regional Kurdish politicians, follow the same trajectory that led to countless struggles over this issue and others since 2003. Each side is not only blind and deaf to the other side’s needs and motives but views it with suspicion and mistrust.

Unless something breaks the mould, either an intervention by Iraq’s international stakeholders or a change in the balance of relative power between the two, both will continue to think and act in the same manner that each had acted in the past, while still expecting a different outcome for the conflict or a different response form the other side.

Read Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report here.

Nechirvan Barzani in Baghdad to discuss Oil

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

President Nechirvan Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) left Erbil for the first time since taking office and headed to the Iraqi capital on June 20 to discuss several outstanding issues with the central government, especially KRG oil exports, the public budget and the situation in the disputed city of Kirkuk.

After meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Barzani said they agreed to resolve outstanding issues based on the constitution and to convene a joint committee next week to negotiate oil, the budget, the peshmerga forces and Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, concerning a census in Kirkuk.

The most important issues addressed during the visit were Kurdish oil and KRG salaries. Baghdad has not yet received its share of KRG oil in about six months, but the federal Ministry of Finance continues to deliver salaries to KRG employees.

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2019 Budget: Appeasement, Non-Compliance and Extortion

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

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

2019 Budget Law: Politics of Appeasement, Non-Compliance and Extortion

Data from different sources indicates that KRG oil exports, so far in this year, ranged between 418.8 and 438 thousand barrels daily-kbd and KRG gross oil export revenues at end of May mounted to $3.681 billion.

Draft of the budget law was debated, amended and approved by the parliament; then endorsed by the President of the Republic and finally promulgated as a law when it was published on the official gazette. KRG, Kurdish politicians, parliamentarians and commentators praised the law as it favors them.

Yet, so far and as it officially confirmed by the Minister of Oil and the Prime Minister, KRG did not deliver a single barrel of oil; this is the usual KRG’ non-compliance extortion practice.

Such practice prompts a wave of criticisms and accusations against the Prime Minister, who is known for his appeasement towards KRG even at the expense of the rest of Iraq. KR leaders know too well how to exploit Prime Minister’s weaknesses and his lack of resolve and leadership; KRG succeeded so far.

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.

Oil dispute reignites Baghdad-Erbil Tensions

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

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is under great pressure from his government to force the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to deliver the allotted 250,000 barrels of oil per day to the State Organization for Marketing of Oil, as per the 2019 federal budget law.

Pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on May 22 that Abdul Mahdi has threatened to slash the KRG budget if the oil is not delivered. Ayad Allawi, the head of al-Watania alliance announced on May 28, that Abdul Mahdi asked him to go to Erbil and discuss the oil dispute with Barzani.

Allawi met with Barzani and received assurance from him to cooperate with Baghdad. Yet the dispute has not been solved.

Click here to read the full story.

Deloitte Report on Kurdistan Oil and Gas (Q4 2018)

Today, the KRG’s Regional Council for Oil and Gas Affairs has published new verified data on the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports, consumption and revenues, covering the period from 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018, after a review of the sector by the international “Big 4” audit and consulting firm, Deloitte.

The Regional Council for Oil and Gas Affairs acknowledges the positive feedback received from stakeholders, including the international community, and reiterates its commitment to the people of Kurdistan that the two international audit firms, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, will continue to independently review the oil and gas sector, inclusive of all the streams.

Deloitte’s report for the fourth quarter of 2018 is accessible through this link (PDF), in Kurdish, Arabic and English.

Frequently asked questions handbook (PDF) in Kurdish, Arabic and English to help readers better understand different sections of the report.

(Source: KRG)

KRG Details 167 Humanitarian Projects

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has issued a report on its “Priority Humanitarian Small Scale Projects: In Health, Education, Municipality, Electricity, Social Care, Agriculture and Livelihoods and Water Sectors Kurdistan Region-Iraq 2019“.

The document presents a detailed breakdown of a total 167 priority humanitarian Small Scale Projects (SMPs) for 2019.

The focus is therefore on small-scale projects with the cost per project ranging from USD 28,000 to 1.2 million.

Download the full 39-page report here.

(Source: KRG)

KRG Details 167 Humanitarian Projects

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has issued a report on its “Priority Humanitarian Small Scale Projects: In Health, Education, Municipality, Electricity, Social Care, Agriculture and Livelihoods and Water Sectors Kurdistan Region-Iraq 2019“.

The document presents a detailed breakdown of a total 167 priority humanitarian Small Scale Projects (SMPs) for 2019.

The focus is therefore on small-scale projects with the cost per project ranging from USD 28,000 to 1.2 million.

Download the full 39-page report here.

(Source: KRG)

$700m Investment in Kurdistan Gas Project

Pearl Petroleum Company Limited, the consortium led by Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas of the UAE, has signed a new 20-year Gas Sales Agreement (GSA) with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to enable production and sales of an additional 250 MMscf/day that the consortium aims to produce by 2021 as part of their expansion plans in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in order to boost much needed local domestic electricity generation.

Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement reached between the parties in August 2017, this new gas sales agreement was signed on 19th February 2019 by Dr. Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and Mr. Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Board Managing Director of Dana Gas, on behalf of Pearl Petroleum.

All approvals for the agreement, including by the the Kurdistan Region Council for Oil & Gas Affairs and the Board of Pearl Petroleum, have since been granted, with  project work now under implementation.

The Kurdistan Gas Project was established in 2007 as Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum entered into agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for certain exclusive rights to appraise, develop, produce, market, and sell petroleum from the Khor Mor and Chemchemal fields in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

Production from the newly built plant in Khor Mor began just 15 months later, in October 2008. In 2009, Pearl Petroleum was formed as a consortium with Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum as shareholders, and with OMV, MOL, and RWE joining the consortium subsequently with a 10% share each.

The $700 million expansion underway at the Khor Mor plant will include the addition of two new production trains at the Khor Mor plant, as well as drilling of new wells with plans to raise production from the current 400 MMscf/day to reach 650 MMscf/day by 2021 based on this latest GSA, and then to 900 MMscf/day beyond that by 2022.

This follows the 30% production increase from debottlenecking throughput at the Khor Mor plant, which brought current total production to 106,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), making it the largest regional private sector upstream gas operation in Iraq today.

Gas sales commenced late in 2018 under a gas sales agreement signed in January of that year, and all payments have been received in a timely manner in full, which gives confidence for the investment and expansion plans currently underway by the Consortium. The Kurdistan Gas Project, which recently commemorated 10 years of continuous production, supplies natural gas from the Khor Mor field by pipeline to power plants in Bazian, Chemchemal and Erbil, as well as LPG and condensate, which are sold in the local markets.

In August 2017, Pearl Petroleum reached a full and final settlement with the KRG of the arbitration between them, including settlement of past receivables and committing to expand their investment and operations in the region. These expansion plans include the multi-well drilling program currently underway in both the Khor Mor & Chemchemal fields, as well as installation of additional gas processing and liquids extraction facilities. The fields are operated jointly by Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas on behalf of Pearl Petroleum.

Total investment in the Kurdistan Gas Project to date exceeds $1.6 billion, with total cumulative production of over 260 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), delivering billions of dollars in fuel cost savings and wider economic benefits for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole. That impact will continue to grow as production capacity expands in the coming years.

Dr. Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said:

“This agreement is an important step for us as we deliver improved services to the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through enhanced electricity generation from the increase in gas production by the Consortium. The Kurdistan Region holds significant reserves of gas and the KRG is committed to playing a positive role in the growing gas and electricity needs of Iraq and the region.”

Mr. Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Board Managing Director of Dana Gas, commented:

“This gas sales agreement opens a new chapter in the expansion of the Kurdistan Gas Project that will see a further investment of over $700 million in coming years to expand production up to 900 MMscf/day, further fueling the Region’s economic growth and development. We look forward to developing the significant resources from these important fields, for the benefit of the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq.”

Dr. Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO of Dana Gas, added:

“Dana Gas and our partners in Pearl Petroleum are particularly proud to be investing further in the gas sector of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, delivering a reliable source of cleaner energy, and supporting local economic development.  The continuing receipt of payments in a timely manner gives confidence for our continued investment commitment as we enter our second decade of production.”

As part of its work in the KRI, Pearl has implemented a corporate social responsibility program to support local communities, including providing school supplies, drinking water treatment, generators and fuel enabling 24-hour electricity for local villages, mobile medical units, and youth sports facilities, as well as financial support for 1,000 orphans from the Chemchemal area in partnership with a local charity Foundation.

These initiatives are assisting the local communities in improving their standard of living, health, well-being, security and stability and the development of human capital.

(Source: Dana Gas)

Genel Energy completes Acquisition of Chevron Fields

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that approval has been given by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) regarding the acquisition of stakes from Chevron in the Sarta and Qara Dagh (pictured) blocks, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

According to a statement from the company, the acquisitions have now closed and Genel therefore has 30% equity in the Sarta PSC, with Chevron holding 50% and the KRG the remaining 20%. Final investment decision relating to Sarta phase 1A development has now been taken.

Phase 1A begins with two wells, recompleting the Sarta-2 well and placing the Sarta-3 well on production, both of which flowed approximately 7,500 bopd on test, and the construction of a central processing facility with a 20,000 bopd capacity. Another well is expected to follow within twelve months of first oil, and further production capacity will be added as the field is developed and production ramps up. First oil is expected in 2020, with a total cost to Genel estimated at $60 million to the end of 2020.

Genel has booked an initial 10 MMbbls of net 2P reserves relating solely to this preliminary phase of the project. Unrisked gross mid case resources relating to the Mus-Adaiyah reservoir only are estimated by Genel at c.150 MMbbls, with overall unrisked gross P50 resources currently estimated by the Company at c.500 MMbbls.

Genel now holds 40% equity in the Qara Dagh PSC and is the operator, with Chevron holding 40% and the KRG the remaining 20%. Work is underway on assessing the optimal location for the Qara Dagh-2 well, which is set to be drilled in 2020. Unrisked gross mean resources at Qara Dagh are currently estimated by Genel at c.200 MMbbls.

Shares in Genel Energy have risen 9 percent over the past 24 hours.

(Sources: Genel Energy, Yahoo!)