China “the Only Winner” in this Huge Iraqi Oil Field

Writing in Oil Price, Simon Watkins that the recent approval of the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC)'s acquisition of ExxonMobil's 32.7 percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field is likely to leave China delighted, the U.S. irritated, and Iraq's oil industry still unable to achieve any of its key oil output goals.

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Chevron’s Oil Deal with Iraq “is One to Watch”

Writing in Oil Price, Simon Watkins says that, given the negative history of dealing with China over the Nassiriyah project and the fact that Russia is occupied elsewhere in the country and the region, the United States might be in an unusually positive position to take a significant role in either the Nassiriyah field development alone or in the broader Nassiriyah Integrated Project (NIP).

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INOC to Negotiate with Chevron to Develop Dhi Qar Oil Fields

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet has authorised the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) to negotiate directly with US oil company Chevron to develop four oil fields in Dhi Qar Governorate.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Oil, the fields constitute the Nasiriyah block, which has a target output of 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) over a seven-year period.

The announcement follows last month's approval by Iraq's Ministerial Energy Council for discussions to go ahead.

Chevron currently has interests in the Sarta and Qara Dagh blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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US provides Additional $3m COVID-19 Assistance to Iraq

The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is pleased to announce an additional $3 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for Iraq.

USAID's contribution will help Iraq better detect and diagnose COVID-19 infections, reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths, and broadly increase access to vaccines for Iraqis nationwide.

This assistance, implemented by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), will add up to 800 new COVID-19 vaccination locations, including in challenging humanitarian areas, such as in camps housing refugees and internally displaced persons.

It will also provide equipment and supplies, as well as technical assistance to Iraqi laboratories, clinics, and hospitals for testing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19. USAID funding also will help train frontline workers on caring for COVID-19 patients and promote vaccination among the Iraqi public.

"As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Iraq, this latest contribution from USAID will help our local partners better protect the people of Iraq through increased vaccination centers and enhanced prevention and treatment measures," said Robert Birkenes, USAID's Acting Mission Director to Iraq. "This is an example of our ongoing commitment to help save lives and defeat the pandemic together."

USAID has committed more than $60 million since the start of the pandemic to help Iraq respond to COVID-19. The $3 million in additional COVID-19 assistance funds from the American Rescue Plan Act builds on our August donation, in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Health, of more than 500,000 Pfizer vaccine doses through COVAX, the global initiative to equitably distribute safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

The activities implemented with this additional support will contribute to the overall goals of the Government of Iraq's National Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and the National Vaccine Deployment Plan.

(Source: USAID)

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Iraq OKs talks with Chevron on Oil Exploration

By John Lee.

Iraq's Ministerial Energy Council approved discussions with US-based Chevron on the development of four exploration blocks in Dhi Qar.

The statement from Iraq's Ministry of Oil gave no further details, but the project had previously been discussed during Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's visit to the United States in August.

Chevron currently has interests in the Sarta and Qara Dagh blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Khor Mor gets $250m Financing from DFC

Pearl Petroleum, the consortium led by Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum of the UAE, has signed a $250 million financing agreement with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support the gas expansion works currently under way at the Khor Mor gas plant in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

DFC is the development finance arm of the U.S government and proceeds from the 7-year DFC financing will support an increase in gas production capacity by 50% to 690 million standard cubic feet (scf)/day to meet rising demand for clean natural gas for electricity generation and industry in the KRI. The total project cost is $630 million and the remaining financing has already been secured through a regional bank facility and the EPC contractor.

The KM-250 project is the first stage of a two-train expansion project at Khor Mor that aims to boost total production capacity to approach 1 billion scf/day. Work resumed in April 2021 after onsite construction was halted last year due to the COVID pandemic and is currently on track for completion by April 2023.

Total investment by Pearl Petroleum at Khor Mor to date exceeds US$2.1 billion with total cumulative production of over 341 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in natural gas and liquids. The uninterrupted supply of gas to power plants in Erbil, Chemchemal and Bazian has resulted in significant fuel cost savings and economic benefits for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole.

The gas produced to date has enabled emissions savings of 42 million tonnes of CO2 by displacing diesel fuel in power generation in the KRI, thereby making a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution in the region as well as supporting the transition to better energy sources to tackle global climate change.

Between 2018 and 2021, the Khor Mor Gas Plant also benefitted from a 45% production increase through an optimization of the facility bringing current total production to 106,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd). The project is today the largest regional private sector upstream gas operation in Iraq.

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

"This financing agreement with DFC underscores the importance of developing the natural gas resources in the KRI to support regional economic development and growth. Despite the global challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, we have continued to maintain our record of uninterrupted operations and even managed to grow production. The DFC agreement is a testament to our successful track record and further highlights the potential of these resources and the bright future for the KRI."

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

"With our partners in Pearl Petroleum we are proud to be further developing the gas sector of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, delivering expanded supply of cleaner energy, and supporting local economic development. This agreement underscores our continued confidence in the region and its long-term prospects."

Mr. Dev Jagadesan, Acting CEO of DFC, said:

"DFC's investment in the Khor Mor expansion will substantially increase access to energy for people all across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This highly developmental project represents the United States' continuing investment in the KRI."

In April 2007, Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum entered into an agreement with the KRG for exclusive rights to appraise, develop, produce, market, and sell petroleum from the Khor Mor and Chemchemal fields in the KRI. Production from a newly built plant at Khor Mor began just 15 months later, in October 2008, an industry record. In 2009, Pearl Petroleum was formed as a consortium with Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum as the majority shareholders, and with OMV, MOL, and RWE joining the consortium subsequently with a 10% share each.

Full-time staff at the operation number over 500, with over 85% local staff, including many in senior management positions. The companies have implemented a corporate social responsibility program to support local communities with equipment and supplies to deal with the COVID pandemic such as ventilators, sanitizers and protection equipment, in addition to a pledge to donate 100,000 vaccines to be administered in those local communities. This is in addition to ongoing support with local education, health and power supply as well as humanitarian aid for persons displaced from conflict zones as well as orphans. These initiatives assist the local communities in improving their standard of living, health, well-being, security and stability and the development of human capital.

(Source: Dana Gas)

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US Donates COVID-19 Vaccines to Iraq

The United States Donates More Than 500,000 COVID-19 Vaccines to Iraq

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller joined Iraqi Acting Minister of Health Hani al-Oqabi and other partners to receive the delivery of more than 500,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the Iraqi Ministry of Health as part of the ongoing partnership of the United States with the people of Iraq.

The vaccines were delivered via COVAX in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The United States provided these 503,100 vaccine doses free of charge to Iraq in reflection of our commitment to our shared fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  This commitment was one of several made during the most recent session of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, held in Washington, D.C., July 23-26.

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided more than $60 million to Iraq to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The United States is proud to partner with the Iraqi people to help save lives and defeat COVID-19.  Together, we will continue to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease," said Ambassador Tueller.

This delivery of vaccines helps fulfill the White House global vaccine sharing allocation plan, announced on June 3, 2021, that prioritized an allotment for Iraq.

As President Biden promised, the United States is sharing vaccines with Iraq and many other countries to save lives and lead the world in ending the pandemic.

These safe and effective vaccines are key to protecting Iraqi lives and boosting Iraqi economic recovery.

(Source: US Embassy)

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US contributes $53.3m to UNHCR Ops in Iraq

UNHCR welcomes the generous contribution of USD 53.3 million by the Government of the United States of America (USA) towards UNHCR's protection and assistance programmes to support vulnerable displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugees in Iraq.

This contribution brings the total USA contribution to UNHCR Iraq in 2021 to USD 88 million. Thus far, the UNHCR operation in Iraq is 35% funded.

There are over 247,000 Syrian refugees and 1.2 million IDPs currently living in Iraq. For these vulnerable families living through protracted displacement under dire living conditions, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn has been remarkably severe.

This timely donation will enable UNHCR to support the refugees and IDPs with life-saving services. The services include, among others, protection interventions covering legal protection and registration services, child protection, the prevention of gender-based violence, and community-based protection, in addition to camp management, education support, and the rehabilitation of infrastructure, schools, and health facilities.

"The U.S. Mission in Iraq is proud of its long-standing support of UNHCR in Iraq. Our contributions to UNHCR reinforce our commitment to the Iraqi people for voluntary, sustainable, long-term solutions for those citizens who suffered under ISIS and now seek to return home and rebuild their lives," said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller.

"The tough economic situation had significantly impacted the lives of refugee and IDP families. However, the continuous and reliable support from the USA helps us continue providing life-saving assistance, which can be a lifeline for these families", said Nicole Epting, UNHCR Representative a.i.

UNHCR is grateful for the generous and long-standing support of the United States to UNHCR globally. This support means that UNHCR can continue to offer protection and pursue durable solutions for internally displaced people and refugees in Iraq.

(Source: UN)

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Kadhimi “wants US Firm to replace Exxon” at West Qurna 1

By John Lee.

According to a report from Reuters, the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has told the press in Washington DC that he wants another American company to replace ExxonMobil when it exits the West Qurna 1 oilfield.

Meanwhile, S&P Global Platts reports that Exxon filed an arbitration case against the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) related to its stalled attempt to sell its stake in the field.

More here and here.

Read also: The Demise of ExxonMobil in the Iraqi Petroleum Sector 

(Sources: Reuters, S&P Global Platts)

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