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.

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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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GKP claims “Strong Start to 2021”

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has announced its audited results for the full year ended 31 December 2020.

Jon Harris, Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"Against the backdrop of extraordinary global challenges in 2020, GKP acted decisively to successfully manage the impact of COVID-19 on our staff, contractors and production operations. We achieved all of our cost reduction targets and annual average production of 36,625 bopd, 11% higher than 2019.

"We have had a strong start to 2021. The updated independent Competent Person 's Report reaffirmed the significant upside production potential of the field with gross 2P reserves + 2C contingent resources of c.800 MMstb. Average gross production from Shaikan in 2021 to 29 March is 43,190 bopd, up c. 13% from the corresponding period in 2020. 

"Recently, we resumed the 55,000 bopd investment programme and today we are pleased to be announcing the reinstatement of at least a $25 million annual dividend, in keeping with our commitment to balance investment in growth and returns to shareholders."

Highlights to 31 December 2020 and post reporting period

Operational

  • Effectively managing the impact of COVID-19 on production operations and continue to prioritise the welfare of workforce and contractors whilst maintaining production momentum.
  • Continued strong safety performance, with no Lost Time Incident ("LTI") recorded for over 450 days.
  • 2020 a verage gross production of 36,625 bopd, exceeding revised guidance and the highest annual average production rate to date from the field.
  • Gross average production from the field in 2021 to date of 43,190 bopd, in line with guidance of 40,000 - 44,000 bopd for the year.
  • Updated Competent Person's Report ("CPR") published with c.800 MMstb gross 2P+2C reserves and resources volumes, which was in line with the 2016 CPR, after adjusting for production over the period, supporting GKP's view of the geological model.

Financial

  • GKP achieved its 2020 cost reduction targets, reducing Opex and G&A by more than 20% compared to 2019 and delivering gross unit Opex of $2.6/bbl, below the low end of the guidance range and down over 30% versus 2019.
  • Net Capex was $45.9 million net (FY 2019: $90 .0 million) within the $40-48 million revised guidance range despite the addition of low-cost, high impact investments during the fourth quarter that contributed to record 2020 annual average production.
  • Loss after tax of $47.3 million (FY 2019: $43.5 million profit) and reduced revenue of $108.4 million (FY 2019: $206.7 million) were driven by a decline in Brent oil prices that averaged $42/bbl in 2020 compared to $64/bbl in 2019.
  • Consistent payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government ("KRG") for the last eleven months.  Repayment mechanism in place to recover outstanding arrears of $73.3 million net for the period November 2019 - February 2020 with the first payment of $2.6 million net recently received.
  • Cash balance of $147.8 million at year end (FY 2019: $190.8 million). Cash balance of $161.0 million at 30 March 2021.
  • The Company has hedged c.60% of Q2 and Q3 2021 forecast net production at a floor price of $35/bbl and $40/bbl respectively, while retaining full upside exposure.

Outlook

  • Resumption of expansion activity with drilling operations expected to begin in Q3 resulting in an increase in gross production towards 55,000 bopd in Q1 2022.
  • Reinstatement of at least a $25 million annual dividend . A $25 million dividend is subject to shareholder approval at the Annual General Meeting ("AGM") scheduled for 18 June 2021 and is expected to be paid in full on 2 July 2021 based on a record date of 25 June 2021 .
  • With continuing strong oil prices, there may be opportunities to consider further distributions to shareholders this year.
  • Guidance for 2021 of average gross production of 40,000 to 44,000 bopd, net Capex of $55-$65 million and gross unit Opex of $2.5 to $2.9/bbl.

Full announcement here.

(Source: GKP)

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GKP Resumes Kurdistan Investment Programme

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has announce the resumption of the Company's growth plans to ramp-up gross production towards 55,000 barrels of oil per day ("bopd").

Jon Harris (pictured), Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"After a year of successfully managing the impact of COVID-19 on our people and production operations at Shaikan, we are pleased to announce that we are resuming the 55,000 bopd expansion programme.

"Workstreams have already begun, and we are targeting to restart the drilling of SH-13 in Q3 2021, subject to managing the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the movement of people, services and equipment."

With support from its partner Kalegran B.V. (a subsidiary of MOL Hungarian Oil & Gas plc), Gulf Keystone has restarted 55,000 bopd expansion activity.

Considering the requirement to manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and to remobilise people, services and equipment, the Company currently expects drilling operations to begin in Q3 2021.

Remaining expansion activity includes completion of SH-13, which was suspended last year, drilling SH-I, the final well in the programme from the same pad, and installing electric submersible pumps in two existing wells.

Guidance for 2021 average gross production remains unchanged at 40,000 to 44,000 bopd, with the increase in gross production towards 55,000 bopd expected to occur in Q1 2022.  Remaining Capex required to deliver the 55,000 bopd programme is estimated to be $40-45 million net, resulting in total 2021 Capex of $55-65 million net.

(Source: GKP)

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Sarta-2 Well enters Production

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that the Sarta-2 well has entered production at the Sarta field (Genel 30% working interest), with gross field production now in excess of 10,000 bopd.

Genel expects this figure to increase from the existing two producing wells, as optimisation of facilities configuration continues post production start-up.

The company added that the high-impact 2021 appraisal drilling campaign is on track to begin at the start of Q2, with the Sarta-5 and Sarta-6 wells set to be drilled back to back.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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Genel Energy Updates on Oil Reserves

Genel Energy has issued an update on oil reserves and resources across its portfolio.

Bill Higgs (pictured), Chief Executive of Genel, said:

"The quality of our reserves is the foundation of our resilient business model, providing us with low-cost production that can generate cash for many years to come.

"Drilling at Sarta this year has the potential to add to our reserves, with Qara Dagh adding the possibility of opening up another field in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, as we look to further build our cash generative portfolio for the benefit of all stakeholders."

Net oil reserves (MMbbls) 1P 2P 3P
31 December 2019 68.8 123.8 194.9
Production (11.7) (11.7) (11.7)
Technical revisions 12.2 5.0 (6.0)
31 December 2020 69.4 117.2 177.2

International petroleum consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton assess that, at the Tawke field on the Tawke licence (Genel 25% working interest), gross year-end 2020 1P reserves stood at 173 MMbbls, compared to 176 MMbbls at year-end 2019, after adjusting for production of 21 MMbbls and an upward technical revision of 18 MMbbls. Tawke field 2P reserves stood at 245 MMbbls (261 MMbbls at end-2019) and 3P reserves at 359 MMbbls (376 MMbbls at end-2019).

The Enhanced Oil Recovery project at the Tawke field has started to deliver a positive impact on production. Pending further work on the project, the 23 MMbbls of 2P and 45 MMbbls of 3P gross reserves that DeGolyer and MacNaughton previously included in their figures continues to be maintained by Genel in 2C and 3C resources.

At Peshkabir, also on the Tawke licence (Genel 25% working interest), year-end 2020 gross 1P reserves were assessed at 61 MMbbls (51 MMbbls at end-2019), 2P reserves at 116 MMbbls (125 MMbbls at end-2019) and 3P reserves at 201 MMbbls (220 MMbbls at end-2019). The upward revision of 1P and 2P reserves by 29 MMbbls more than offsets production of 19 MMbbls, and is the result of continued outstanding field performance in 2020.

At Taq Taq (44% working interest, joint operator), 1P gross reserves stood at 18 MMbbls at year-end 2020 (20 MMbbls at end-2019), following a minor technical upward revision of 1 MMbbls and production of 4 MMbbls. Gross 2P reserves stood at 33 MMbbls (44 MMbbls at end-2019), with a downward revision of 8 MMbbls following a reduction to the number of wells planned for the future, and their associated expected productivity. McDaniel & Associates carried out the independent assessment of the Taq Taq licence.

Genel's gross 2P reserve estimate relating to Phase 1A of the Sarta development remains unchanged at year-end 2020, standing at 34 MMbbls.

CONVERTING RESOURCES TO RESERVES

Net oil resources (MMbbls) 1C 2C 3C
31 December 2019 66.5 152.0 345.8
Technical revisions (8.6) (8.6) (8.0)
31 December 2020 57.9 143.4 337.8

There has been no change to the ERCE view on Sarta (30% working interest), with an estimated mid-case total recoverable oil resource of 593 MMbbls, of which 258 MMbbls are classified as 2C resource. Production performance in 2021, and the results of the upcoming three well campaign in 2021, will inform the quantity of conversion of these resources into reserves.

At Qara Dagh (40% working interest, operator) the QD-2 well will test the crestal portion of the prospect, which has a mean prospective resource estimated by Genel at c.400 MMbbls. Genel continues to estimate that the downdip segment tested by the QD-1 well defines a 2C resource of 47 MMbbls.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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GKP issues Update on Shaikan Field

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has provided a Competent Person's Report ("CPR") update on the Shaikan Field in which it has an 80% working interest.  

The CPR, an independent third-party evaluation of the Company's reserves and resources as at 31 December 2020, was prepared by ERC Equipoise ("ERCE").

Jon Harris, Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"The updated CPR demonstrates the continuing long-term strong performance of the Shaikan Field with gross 2P+2C reserves and resources volumes in line with the 2016 CPR, after adjusting for production over the period.   

"Prior Company estimates are reaffirmed with gross 2P+2C reserves and resources of c.800 MMstb at 31 December 2020, including over 500 MMstb of gross 2P reserves.  

"We have a deep understanding of the Shaikan Field that has produced over 80 MMstb to date and are pleased that the latest CPR matches our interpretation and understanding of the geological model, underlining the considerable untapped potential of the field."

"We had a strong start to the year in January, which saw GKP's highest monthly average daily gross production of 44,405 bopd.  As conditions continue to improve, we look forward to resuming the 55,000 bopd expansion project and shareholder distributions."  

Highlights

  • The CPR incorporates significant incremental information, including an updated development plan, new wells, production data and further technical analysis, since the last CPR was prepared by ERCE in 2016.
  • Gross 2P reserves + 2C contingent resources1 of 798 MMstb2 at 31 December 2020 are consistent with volumes as at 31 December 2019, adjusted principally for 2020 production.
  • Gross 1P reserves increased to 240 MMstb, up 33% after adjusting for 2020 production.
  • Gross 2P Jurassic reserves were revised down marginally (2%) to 505 MMstb, after adjusting for 2020 production. 
  • Gross 2P Triassic and Cretaceous reserves of 47 MMstb were reclassified to gross 2C contingent resources1, while the Field Development Plan is progressed with the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • Shaikan continues to deliver stable production with average gross production in January of 44,405 bopd, the highest monthly average to date from the field.
  • The Shaikan Field has significant future production potential with a gross 1P reserves life index3 of c.15 years and a gross 2P reserves life index3 of over 31 years, assuming January 2021 production levels.

Gross reserves and resources based on the Company's estimates at 31 December 2019 and the CPR at 31 December 2020 were:

31 December 2020

1P

2P

2C 1

2P+2C 2

Formation (MMstb)

  Reserves

Resources

Jurassic

240

505

80

585

Triassic

-

-

157

157

Cretaceous

-

-

56

56

Total - Gross

240

505

293

798

31 December 2019

1P

2P

2C 1

2P+2C 2

Formation (MMstb)

  Reserves

Resources

Jurassic

  175

  531

  80

  611

Triassic

  18

  44

  106

  150

Cretaceous

  1

  3

  53

  56

Total - Gross

  194

  578

  239

  817

The reconciliation of changes in reserves and resources between the Company's estimates at 31 December 2019 and the CPR at 31 Decemer 2020 is as follows:

 

 

1P

2P

2C 1

2P+2C 2

Gross (MMstb)

  Reserves

Resources

31 December 2019

  194

  578

  239

  817

Production

(13)

(13)

  - 

(13)

Reclassifications

(19)

(47)

  +47

  - 

Revisions

  +78

(13)

  +7

(6)

31 December 2020

  240

  505

  293

  798

GKP's 80% net WI4 share of reserves and resources at 31 December 2020 were: 

1P

2P

2C 1

2P+2C 2

Formation (80% WI) (MMstb)

  Reserves

Resources

Jurassic

  192

  404

  64

  468

Triassic

  - 

  - 

  125

  125

Cretaceous

  - 

  - 

  45

  45

Total - Net WI

192

404

  234

638

1.  Contingent resources volumes are classified as such because there is technical and commercial risk involved with their extraction. In particular, there may be a chance that accumulations containing contingent resources will not achieve commercial maturity. The 2C (best estimate) contingent resources presented are not risked for chance of development.

2.  Aggregated 2P+2C estimates should be used with caution as 2C contingent resources are commercially less mature than the 2P reserves.

3.  Reserves life index is calculated as gross 1P reserves or gross 2P reserves, as appropriate, divided by annualised January 2021 gross production.

4.  Net working interest reserves and resources do not represent the net entitlement resources under the terms of the PSC.

 (Source: GKP)

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DNO Adds New Oil Reserves

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has announced it replaced 87 percent of 2020 production through additions to its proven (1P) reserves notwithstanding reduced activity in the wake of low oil prices.

In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the Company replaced 111 percent of last year's production through additions to 1P reserves.

Yearend 2020 Company Working Interest (CWI) 1P reserves totaled 201 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) compared to 206 MMboe at yearend 2019, after adjusting for 35 MMboe of production and 30 MMboe of upward technical revisions.

DNO exited the year with 332 MMboe of CWI proven and probable (2P) reserves and 507 MMboe of CWI proven, probable and possible (3P) reserves. DNO's CWI contingent (2C) resources stood at 152 MMboe.

At yearend 2020, DNO's 1P reserves life stood at 5.8 years, its 2P reserves life at 9.6 years and its 3P reserves life at 14.6 years; all were up slightly from 2019 levels.

On a gross basis, yearend 1P reserves at the Tawke license in Kurdistan containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields climbed to 234 million barrels of oil (MMbbls) from 228 MMbbls a year earlier. Tawke license 2P reserves stood at 394 MMbbls at yearend 2020 (400 MMbbls in 2019) and 3P reserves at 605 MMbbls (641 MMbbls in 2019).

Across its North Sea portfolio at yearend 2020, on a CWI basis, DNO's 1P reserves stood at 41 MMboe, 2P reserves at 64 MMboe and 3P reserves at 96 MMboe. The Company's North Sea 2C resources totaled 120 MMboe.

At yearend 2020 and on a gross basis, at the Baeshiqa license in Kurdistan containing two large structures with multiple independent stacked target reservoirs, 2C resources stood at 43 MMbbls, following successful drilling and testing of the exploration Baeshiqa-2 and Zartik-1 wells. No reserves were recorded at the Baeshiqa license at yearend 2020 pending conclusion of the ongoing appraisal activities to determine commerciality.

"All things considered, from a reserves replacement perspective DNO had a stellar year in 2020 notwithstanding the sharp cuts in our spend and the challenges of keeping operations going in the face of Covid restrictions in movement of our people, contractors and supplies," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO's Executive Chairman.

International petroleum consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) carried out an independent assessment of the Tawke and Baeshiqa licenses in Kurdistan. Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA) carried out an independent assessment of DNO's licenses in Norway and the United Kingdom.

(Source: DNO)

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DNO Buys Exxon’s Stake in Iraqi Oilfield

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has announced the acquisition of ExxonMobil's 32 percent interest in the Baeshiqa license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, doubling DNO's operated stake to 64 percent (80 percent paying interest), pending government approval.

The Company plans to continue an exploration and appraisal program on the license while fast tracking early production from existing wells in 2021.

DNO has already demonstrated proof of concept of producing through temporary test facilities, having delivered 15,000 barrels of 40o API oil and 22o API oil for export from the Baeshiqa-2 and Zartik-1 wells, respectively.

In November 2019 DNO issued a notice of discovery on the Baeshiqa license after flowing hydrocarbons from several Jurassic and Triassic zones to surface in the 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS) Baeshiqa-2 exploration well. Following acid stimulation, the zone flowed variable rates of light oil and sour gas.

Two zones flowed naturally at rates averaging over 3,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) of light gravity oil each and another averaged over 1,000 bopd also of light gravity oil. Subsequent analyses on surface samples collected during testing confirm that the Triassic reservoirs contain saturated oil with a gas cap.

An exploration well was completed in 2020 on a second structure (Zartik) some 15 kilometers southeast of the Baeshiqa-2 discovery well. The 3,021 meters (2,322 meters TVDSS) well tested hydrocarbons to surface from several Jurassic zones, with the uppermost zone flowing naturally at rates averaging over 2,000 bopd of medium gravity oil.

The Company currently estimates gross license contingent recoverable resources from three of the tested zones in the two wells ranging from 12 million barrels of oil (mmbbls) (1C) to 156 mmbbls (3C), with a 2C volume of 43 mmbbls.

"By increasing our stake in the Baeshiqa license now, we demonstrate our belief in its ultimate potential," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (pictured), DNO's Executive Chairman. "Following the stabilization of oil prices and export payments in Kurdistan, DNO is stepping up spending on new opportunities," he added.

DNO acquired its first 32 percent interest from ExxonMobil and assumed operatorship of the Baeshiqa license in 2018.

The 324 square kilometer license is situated 60 kilometers west of Erbil and 20 kilometers east of Mosul. The license contains two large structures, Baeshiqa and Zartik, which have multiple independent stacked target reservoir systems, including in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic. The remaining partners in the license include TEC [Turkish Energy Company] with a 20 percent paying (16 percent net) interest and the Kurdistan Regional Government with a 20 percent carried interest.

In addition to the Baeshiqa license, DNO also operates the Tawke license containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields in Kurdistan. Gross operated production from the Tawke license averaged 110,300 bopd in 2020.

(Source: DNO)

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Dana Gas to Increase Drilling in Iraqi Kurdistan

Dana Gas PJSC, the Middle East's largest regional private sector natural gas company, today announced its Preliminary Unaudited Financial Results for the full year ended 31 December 2020.

The Company reported a Net Profit of $36 million (AED 131mm) versus $88 million (AED 322mm) in 2019, excluding one-off non-cash impairments and other income. Including these one-offs, the Company reported a Net Loss of $376 million (AED 1.4bn) versus a Net Profit of $157 million (AED 575mm).

A total of $412 million (AED 1,51bn) of impairments were incurred mostly related to the sale of Dana Gas Egypt onshore assets.

Dana Gas's continued operations (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) contributed an annual net profit of $32 million reflecting the profitability of the remaining business despite the challenging year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revenue was $349 million (AED 1.27bn) in 2020 compared to $459 million (AED 1.68bn) in 2019 due to both lower realised prices and lower production in Egypt.

The Company's robust, long-standing programme to control operating expenses helped to effectively navigate the challenging market environment in 2020. G&A costs were reduced by a further 20% year-on-year.

Dana Gas fully redeemed its outstanding Sukuk on schedule in October 2020. The Company closed the year on a strong financial footing, and maintains a positive financial outlook for 2021.

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward (pictured), CEO of Dana Gas, commented:

"The world experienced unprecedented shocks in 2020 with the COVID pandemic and its impact on the global petroleum markets with prices collapsing to levels not seen for over 20 years. Nevertheless, Dana Gas has shown real resilience both from an operational as well as financial perspective.

"When the pandemic struck, our first priority was the health and safety of our staff. However, we managed to keep our operations on-stream by implementing the most stringent health and safety measures. We not only managed to keep production levels up, but we also carried out a de-bottlenecking project on our Khor Mor plant in July which added a total of 50 MMscf/d of production capacity. In December we consistently obtained record production levels of over 440 MMscf/d. This extraordinary operational performance under the most testing of circumstances is testament to the commitment, dedication and hard work of our staff who have been outstanding in this challenging time.

"Despite the challenges imposed by the global pandemic, we exited the year in a robust financial position with a strong balance sheet, having agreed upon the sale of our Egypt onshore assets, redeeming our outstanding Sukuk and entering into a new credit facility at a lower interest rate.

"In 2021, we aim to advance the development of our world class assets in the KRI, where over 90% of Dana Gas's proven reserves of over 1 billion boe are located, while concurrently moving ahead with our plans to prepare for the drilling of the next exploration well in Block 6 in Egypt, which holds exciting, material upside potential."

Operations & Production

Average group production declined 5% during 2020, averaging 63,200 boepd versus 66,200 boepd in 2019. Production was boosted by a 2% jump in output from the KRI, which reached 32,250 boepd. This helped to offset a drop in production from Egypt, which fell 8% to 30,300 boepd versus 33,000 boepd in 2019 as a result of natural field declines.

Fourth quarter 2020 average group production was up 2% to 63,600 boepd. The KRI added 9% to reach 33,250 boepd in fourth quarter production because of the successful completion of the plant bypass project.

The KRI and Egypt operations have continued without interruption and remain fully functioning, un-impacted by the Covid pandemic. The restarting of the expansion plans in the KRI demonstrates that all the parties working on the project are fully committed to executing the expansion project as quickly and as safely as possible. The Pearl consortium remains focused on completing the first 250 MMscf/d gas processing train in Q1 2023 and is also examining ways to bring forward the current schedule.

In 2021 the Company will prepare for the drilling of up to five development wells in the KRI which will begin the following year. It is also moving ahead on the evaluation of the highly prospective Block 6 in Egypt, interpreting the infill seismic data that was acquired in mid-2020 and planning for drilling the next exploration well in 2023.

Sale of Egypt assets

In October 2020 Dana Gas entered into a binding agreement with IPR Wastani Petroleum Ltd, for the sale of its onshore Egyptian producing oil and gas assets for a cash consideration of up to $236 million including contingent payments. The sale is on track for completion in H1 2021. The Company will retain its interests in its exciting offshore exploration concession, North El Arish (Block 6) which contains material gas resource potential in excess of 20 Tcf.

Liquidity and Collections

The Group's cash balance at year-end stood at $108 million. The Board is considering transferring voluntary reserves into retained earnings to support dividend capacity subject to shareholder approval.

The Group collected a total of $182 million in 2020 (2019: $285mm) with Egypt and KRI contributing $80 million (2019: $138mm) and $102 million (2019: $139mm) respectively.
As of 31 December 2020, the Company's Egypt receivables stood at $130 million (AED 477mm).

In the KRI, regular payments have been received since March 2020. The KRG maintained its commitment to pay its invoices on time despite facing fiscal challenges throughout the year. Currently, $39 million is outstanding (DG 35% share). The Company has received notification from the KRG on the mechanism for settlement of the outstanding receivables.

(Source: Dana Gas)

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