What is the fate of Baghdad-Erbil’s Oil-for-Budget Agreement?

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.

What is the fate of Baghdad-Erbil’s oil-for-budget agreement amid ongoing protests?

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has vast proven oil and gas resources; however, mismanagement, corruption and ruling parties’ monopoly on power have brought the region to the brink of financial collapse amid longstanding controversies with the Iraqi government over the region’s share of federal budget.

Following extensive negotiations, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced Nov. 27 that a final oil-for-budget deal with the Iraqi federal government had been reached in which the KRG agreed to submit 250,000 barrels per day of crude oil to Iraqi State Oil Marketing Company in return for receiving a fair share of the country’s budget for 2020.

The KRG currently produces 500,000 barrels per day, and has been exporting most of its oil independently through Turkey since 2013.

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Atrush Field performing “Exceptionally Well”

By John Lee.

ShaMaran Petroleum has reported that the Atrush Field continues to perform “exceptionally well“.

Average production for the month of November was 43,360 bopd. The CK-15 well is now online and wells currently are undergoing normal-course maintenance.

The Company reiterates its Atrush 2019 average daily production guidance of between 30,000 and 35,000 bopd and a target 2019 exit rate between 45,000 bopd and 50,000 bopd. The Company shares in this production, pursuant to a production sharing contract, with a working interest of 27.6%.

Since the beginning of the year, production has increased 56% and the Company has invested significantly in infrastructure to facilitate continued production growth.

The Atrush field is located 85 km northwest of Erbil and is one of the largest new oil developments in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The field was first discovered in 2011 and oil production started in July 2017. In its over two years of production the Atrush field has sold all its production to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq at international market prices.

(Source: 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)

Oil Trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

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

Oil trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

At the Halifax Security Forum, an annual event attended by high-powered government officials, business titans and assorted other movers and shakers from across the globe, national security adviser Robert O’Brien took the stage with PBS’ Nick Shifrin and let the cat out of the bag.

When the veteran correspondent grilled O’Brien Nov. 23 about President Donald Trump’s decision to keep US troops in northeastern Syria “for the oil,” noting that the Pentagon’s Syrian Kurdish allies were selling it to the Syrian regime in defiance of sanctions, O’Brien responded, “Some of it goes to the regime. Some of it is used locally. Some of it goes to Iraqi Kurdistan. Some of it goes to Turkey.

The key, though, is not where the oil goes but where the revenue goes.” The main thing, he concluded, was to ensure that none of it got to the Islamic State.

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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 Shares Down 7.5%

By John Lee.

Shares in DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, were trading down 7.5 percent on Thursday morning, after the company reported a net loss for the third quarter.

The company reported what it described as strong third quarter revenues of USD 227 million, up 33 percent from a year earlier, on the back of solid production averaging 99,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) on a Company Working Interest (CWI) basis, up 22 percent year on year.

In its statement, the company added:

Notwithstanding strong underlying performance, 2019 third quarter results were impacted by non-recurring items as well as lower oil prices and higher exploration expenses, resulting in a net loss of USD 96 million.

In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, third quarter production at the Tawke license containing the DNO-operated Tawke and Peshkabir fields (shared 75-25 with partner Genel Energy plc) averaged 119,800 barrels of oil per day (bopd). The Company expects to exit the year with Tawke license production averaging 120,000 bopd and to maintain this rate into 2020. The Company recently reached a significant milestone of 300 million barrels of cumulative oil production from the Tawke and Peshkabir fields.

Activity remains high as the Company continues to deliver its largest drilling campaign in its 48-year history with some 36 wells in 2019, of which 22 are development/infill wells and 14 exploration/appraisal wells. DNO projects full-year operational spend of USD 620 million (post-tax), of which USD 454 million was spent through the end of the third quarter, including USD 244 million in Kurdistan and USD 210 million (post-tax) in the North Sea.

Financial results were impacted by impairment charges of USD 138 million, including USD 89 million for technical goodwill on the Brasse discovery (Norway) and USD 33 million for decommissioning of the Schooner and Ketch fields (United Kingdom).

With USD 228 million in cash from operations during the third quarter, the Company resumed its share buyback program and acquired 23 million shares at a cost of USD 35 million, lifting its overall stake to 58 million treasury shares, representing 5.35 percent of the total outstanding shares at end quarter. DNO also bought back an additional USD 17 million of FAPE01 bonds during the quarter.

DNO maintained its previously approved dividend distribution program with another semi-annual payment of NOK 0.20 per share to be made on 4 November 2019.

“We continue to deliver across a range of operating and financial targets even as we paused this quarter for early spring cleaning of our balance sheet,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. “Given global headwinds, we are budgeting at the low end of the industry’s Brent price range of USD 60-70 per barrel,” he added.

CWI production during the third quarter included 84,400 bopd from Kurdistan and 14,900 boepd from North Sea assets acquired earlier this year.

In 2019, nine wells were spud in Kurdistan through the end of the third quarter, with an additional ten wells planned for the fourth quarter. In the North Sea, 13 wells were spud through the end of the quarter, with an additional four wells planned for the fourth quarter, including DNO’s first operated exploration well, Canela, in the North Sea since 2007.

DNO exited the third quarter with a cash balance of USD 624 million in addition to USD 110 million in treasury shares and marketable securities.

(Source: DNO)

Parker Drilling Wins Contract at Qara Dagh

Genel Energy has announced the signing of a contract with Parker Drilling for the drilling of the QD-2 well on the Qara Dagh field (Genel 40% working interest, operator), in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The QD-2 well will test the structural crest 10 km to the north-west of the QD-1 well, which tested sweet, light oil from Cretaceous carbonates. The Parker-269 rig (pictured) has been contracted to drill the well.

Civil construction works for the well pad and camp are now underway, and the well is on track to spud in H1 2020.

Unrisked gross mean resources at Qara Dagh are currently estimated by Genel at c.200 MMbbls.

(Source: Genel Energy)

MSF providing Care in Iraq to Syrian Refugees

By John Lee.

Doctors Without Borders /Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has issued a statement on the situation along the Iraq-Syria border:

As people continue to flee conflict in northeast Syria for Iraq, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched medical activities at one site receiving refugees in Iraq along the border with Syria and has assessed mental health needs in Bardarash camp, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

“Immediately after the fighting in northeast Syria started, we quickly assessed different locations including reception sites at the Iraq-Syria border, and camps where we learned that refugees were going to be hosted,” said Marius Martinelli, MSF project manager.

“In these types of assessments, we evaluate the site’s infrastructure, look at the services available, and coordinate with other organisations and authorities to determine and implement as rapidly as possible the most relevant activities for the people arriving.”

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: MSF)

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.

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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.