Iraq Oil Exports Rise in February

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced initial oil exports for February of 82,877,757 barrels, giving an average for the month of 2.960 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the 2.868 million bpd exported in January.

These exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to approximately 79,105,329 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 3,727,428 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $5.027 billion at an average price of $60.330 per barrel.

January's export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Fourth Oil Exec Jailed for Iraq Bribery

Paul Bond has today been sentenced to three and half years' imprisonment for conspiring with others to bribe Iraqi public officials to secure lucrative oil contracts in post-occupation Iraq.

Earlier this week, Bond, a former senior sales manager at SBM Offshore (SBM), was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments following a retrial of his case at Southwark Crown Court.

This was the fourth conviction the SFO secured in its wide-scale Unaoil bribery investigation, which uncovered the payment of over $17m worth of bribes to secure $1.7bn worth of contracts for Unaoil and its clients.

In 2007, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil set out a 'master plan' to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure, which had been destroyed after years of conflict. The post-occupation government tasked the state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) to commission the construction of new oil pipelines and the installation of single offshore mooring buoys (SPMs) in the Persian Gulf.

Together with Unaoil employees, Paul Bond funnelled $900,000 in bribes to Iraqi public officials at the SOC and the Ministry of Oil, which bought access to sensitive information, allowing Bond and others to skew the tendering process in SBM's favour. SBM went on to win a $55m contract for the provision of SPMs.

Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said:

"Bond and his co-conspirators manipulated the tendering process for an infrastructure project vital to Iraq's developing economy, with no regard for the impact.

The string of convictions in this case demonstrate the SFO's determination to root out and prosecute corrupt practices in all corners of the globe working with law enforcement partners across the world. "

Bond's conviction follows that of former Unaoil territory managers Stephen Whiteley and Ziad Akle, who were last year found guilty of conspiring to bribe Iraqi public officials to secure substantial oil contracts. In July 2019, Basil Al Jarah, Unaoil's former Iraq partner, pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, and later asked for a number of additional offences to be taken into consideration, in total admitting to paying over $17m in bribes to secure contracts worth $1.7bn.

Ziad Akle was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, Stephen Whiteley to three years' imprisonment, and Basil Al Jarah to three years and four months' imprisonment for their crimes.

The SFO would like to thank the Australian Federal Police, the French Parquet National Financier, the Police Judiciaires of the Principality of Monaco, the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) of the Netherlands, the United States Department of Justice, Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police, the National Crime Agency and West Mercia Constabulary for their valuable assistance in this case.

More here.

(Source: SFO)

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COVID-19 and Environmental Sustainability in Iraq

Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental Sustainability in Iraq

Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental Sustainability in Iraq is the fifth in a series released by UNDP on the impact of COVID-19 in Iraq.

It emphasizes how the pandemic has exacerbated Iraq's environmental fragility, which was already affected by legacies of conflict, lack of significant public sector and governance reforms, loss of development gains and illicit activity such as illegal hunting, fishing and logging, amongst other factors.

It outlines how the virus has led to some negative environmental impacts, such as increased quantities of medical waste, but also positive impacts, such as temporary improvements in air quality and ecosystems. It also proposes how key drivers of fragility can be addressed over time.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: UN)

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Iraq to buy Chinese COVID Vaccine

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister praised the efforts of state institutions and agencies to ensure the implementation of curfew regulations, and thanked all citizens for adhering to preventative health measures.

Following discussions, the Cabinet agreed to authorise the Ministry of Health to purchase the coronavirus vaccine from the Chinese company Sinopharm.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Coronavirus: Iran to Shut Border with Iraq

Iran's minister of interior unveiled plans to shut the border with Iraq in the southwestern province of Khuzestan in order to contain a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the Coronavirus Fight National Headquarters has made new decisions to control the coronavirus in Khuzestan province, where the number of COVID-19 cases has risen in recent days.

He said the border crossings with Iraq are going to be closed and travels between cities in the Khuzestan province will be prohibited.

He also expressed hope that cooperation from people would help control the situation in Khuzestan ahead of the new Iranian year's holidays.

Officials have warned that the coronavirus has begun to spread rapidly in Khuzestan, stressing the need for new travel bans and strict control at the border.

Several cities in the southwestern Iranian province have been categorized as red zones with high risk of infection.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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Iraq “Pauses Oil Pre-Payment deal with China”

By John Lee.

Iraq has reportedly "put on hold" it oil contract with China's Zhenhua Oil.

The multi-billion-dollar agreement would have seen Zhenhua pre-pay Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) for a regular supply of crude oil.

Oil prices have risen significantly since the deal was struck.

More here.

(Source: S&P Global)

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Iraqi Cabinet approves New “Alternative Energy” Power Plants

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet has agreed to approve a recommendation from the National Investment Commission (NIC) for the Ministry of Electricity to proceed with an investment project for the construction of seven "alternative energy" power plants.

The new power stations are to be built in Karbala, Wasit, Babylon, and Al-Muthanna provinces.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Iraq allocates additional resources for Labs, Medicines

By John Lee.

The Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

It received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest Covid-19 related developments and on the ongoing national efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

Following discussions, the Cabinet agreed to:

  • Authorise the Ministry of Health to sign special agreements with the manufacturers of the Coronavirus vaccines
  • Allocate 100 million US dollars to fund the purchase of laboratories, medicines (other than vaccines) and supplies related to Covid-19

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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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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