DNO Returns to Profitability, Ups Tawke Production Guidance

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported operating profit of USD 66 million in the first quarter of 2021, following four quarters of losses triggered by market perturbations from the global Covid pandemic. The turnaround was driven by solid production, cost optimization, higher oil prices and regularization of payments from Kurdistan.

The Company stepped up spend early in the year with drilling of new wells and workovers of existing ones in its flagship Tawke license to sustain gross operated production from the Tawke and Peshkabir fields at 112,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in the first quarter, up from 110,000 bopd in the previous quarter. Net production attributable to the Company's interest across the portfolio, including from DNO's North Sea oil and gas assets, stood just shy of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

In another positive development during the quarter, Kurdistan initiated principal payments towards Tawke license 2019 and 2020 withheld entitlement and override amounts, reducing the outstanding balance due DNO from USD 259 million to USD 239 million. If oil prices and license production remain around current levels through 2021, some two-thirds of the remaining arrears will be recovered by the end of the year.

"DNO, like our peers, is positioned for strong cash flow in 2021 with the firming up of oil demand and prices," said DNO's Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. "Barring another pandemic derailing of global economic activity, we will repair our balance sheet, regroup in person and then fly like a bat out of hell in pursuit of opportunity," he added.

DNO exited the first quarter with a cash balance of USD 477 million and as a first step towards shoring up its balance sheet, the Company yesterday announced it would retire USD 100 million in bond debt on 1 June 2021 by exercising a call option on the USD 400 million DNO02 bond.

The Company has budgeted full year operational spend of USD 700 million, including 12 Tawke license wells of which nine in Tawke and three in Peshkabir. Gross operated Tawke license full-year 2021 production guidance has accordingly been increased to 110,000 bopd. DNO operates and has a 75 percent stake in the Tawke license, with partner Genel Energy plc holding the balance.

DNO will participate in an active drilling program in the North Sea with five exploration and eight development wells during the balance of 2021.

(Source: DNO)

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Iraq may Buy Exxon stake in West Qurna 1

By John Lee.

Press reports quote Iraq's oil minister as saying that Iraq could buy ExxonMobil's 32.7-percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field.

Ihssan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail told a news conference on Monday that the government might purchase the stake via the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC).

BOC previously took over the Majnoon field from Shell and Petronas at the end of June 2018.

It had previously been rumoured (see here and here) that China would take over Exxon's holding in West Qurna 1.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil sold its share in the Baeshiqa license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to DNO.

(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)

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DNO announces Ramp-Up of Oil Production in Iraq

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported receipt of USD 54.0 million net to the Company from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), of which USD 35.2 million represents DNO's entitlement share of February 2021 crude oil deliveries to the export market from the Tawke license in Kurdistan.

Of the balance, USD 4.6 million is an override payment equivalent to three percent of gross February 2021 Tawke license revenues under the August 2017 receivables settlement agreement and USD 14.2 million is a payment towards the Company's arrears relating to withheld payment of Tawke license 2019 and 2020 entitlement and override invoices.

Following receipt of the latest arrears payment, the outstanding balance has dropped from USD 259.0 million at the end of 2020 to USD 238.6 million.

DNO operates and has a 75 percent stake in the Tawke license, which contains the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, with partner Genel Energy plc holding the balance.

With resumption of payments, the partners have stepped up drilling of new wells at Peshkabir and workovers of existing wells at Tawke in 2021, raising gross operated license production from an average of 110,300 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in 2020 to 110,900 bopd in January, 112,000 bopd in February, 113,100 bopd in March and 115,500 bopd month-to-date in April.

(Source: DNO)

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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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DNO announces 2020 Interim Results

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported interim 2020 revenues of USD 615 million, down a third from a year earlier in the wake of weak oil prices triggered by the pandemic and global economic contraction.

Net production totaled 95,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down nine percent, as the Company cut spending to preserve cash.

For the full year, DNO reported a net loss of USD 286 million driven by the lower revenues and pre-tax asset impairments of USD 276 million, most of which were reported in the third quarter.

With solid cash flow from operations of USD 236 million and North Sea tax refunds of another USD 236 million, DNO exited 2020 with a cash balance of USD 477 million, essentially unchanged from the start of the year, following repayment of USD 161 million in bond debt.

The Company drilled six exploration wells last year leading to three likely commercial discoveries, including Røver Nord and Bergknapp in Norway and Zartik in Kurdistan's Baeshiqa license. The discoveries will be considered for fast-track development and tie-in to existing offshore or onshore infrastructure.

DNO will drill two potentially high impact exploration wells this year, notably the much anticipated Edinburgh prospect that straddles the Norway-United Kingdom border in which the Company holds a 45 percent stake and the Gomez prospect offshore Norway in which the Company holds an 85 percent stake.

The total 2021 well count, including development wells, will increase to 27 from 17 last year.

Temporary Norwegian petroleum tax incentives are driving other stepped-up investments. The Company is proceeding to concept selection for the operated Brasse field, accelerating infill drilling at Ula, Tambar and Brage fields in 2021 and evaluating the Iris/Hades, Røver Nord, Alve Gjøk, Orion/Syrah and Trym South discoveries for project sanction in 2022.

DNO projects operational spend of USD 700 million this year, up from USD 511 million in 2020.

The Company achieved a net 2P reserve replacement ratio of 64 percent in 2020, notwithstanding limited activity, ending the year with 332 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) of proven and probable reserves, down 13 mmboe from yearend 2019, according to preliminary figures.

More here:

(Source: DNO)

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Genel Energy issues Update on Tawke

Genel Energy notes that DNO ASA, as operator of the Tawke PSC (Genel 25% working interest), has issued an update on licence activity.

Gross operated production from the Tawke licence averaged 110,300 bopd in 2020, about evenly split between the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, the sixth consecutive year in which gross Tawke licence production has averaged over 100,000 bopd.

With higher oil prices and more visibility on Kurdistan export payments, up to eight new development wells will be drilled at the Tawke licence and multiple workovers on existing producing wells will be undertaken in the drive to maintain production above 100,000 bopd.

Between the middle of 2020 and the end of the year, a total of 2.4 bcf of Peshkabir field gas, which otherwise would have been flared, was piped and reinjected into the Tawke field for pressure maintenance, leading to an estimated 200,000 barrels of incremental oil recovery and 400,000 barrels of reduced field water production. Another 0.3 bcf of gas were reinjected into the Peshkabir field itself.

(Source: Genel Energy)

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DNO boosts Kurdistan Oil Output in Q3

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported boosting Kurdistan output to 113,700 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in the third quarter, reversing declines triggered by oil market convulsions in the wake of Covid-19.

Production from the DNO-operated Tawke and Peshkabir fields was up 12 percent from the prior quarter following a campaign of quick turnaround, low cost well interventions and the startup of the Kurdistan region of Iraq's first enhanced oil recovery project.

Both fields have outperformed expectations and DNO projects replacement of a significant share of its reserves produced this year in Kurdistan, even as the Company scaled back drilling of new wells to meet a one-third budget reduction in response to lower oil prices and a four-month payment hiatus in Kurdistan.

The Peshkabir-to-Tawke gas capture and reinjection project, in operation since mid-year, is continuing to cut gas flaring and greenhouse emissions by half at Peshkabir to 7 kilograms CO2 equivalent for each barrel of oil equivalent produced, while unlocking additional oil at Tawke. To date, two billion cubic feet of otherwise flared gas have been reinjected with positive reservoir response, adding up to 5,000 bopd.

"Starting in June, our Kurdistan teams took up the challenge of doing more with less,  launching creative solutions they called Operation Throttle-Up and Operation Afterburner, which delivered the stellar operational results we report today," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO's Executive Chairman. "Once again, at DNO the oil we produce is conventional; how we do it is not."

Across the portfolio, third quarter 2020 Company Working Interest (CWI) production increased nine percent from the second quarter to 97,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), of which Kurdistan contributed 80,200 bopd and the North Sea 17,700 boepd.

DNO expects to exit the year with Kurdistan and North Sea production at third quarter levels.

Revenues more than doubled to USD 163 million in the third quarter on the back of improved oil prices and higher cargo liftings of previously produced oil in the North Sea. EBITDA climbed to USD 76 million in the third quarter up from USD 13 million in the previous quarter on higher revenues.

However, North Sea non-cash impairments of USD 202 million pre-tax (USD 118 million post-tax) related principally to the South East Tor and Iris/Hades assets led to an operating loss of USD 208 million.

In July 2020, the Company completed the drilling of Zartik-1, the third exploration well on the Baeshiqa license on a separate structure around 15 kilometers southeast of the Baeshiqa-2 discovery well. Testing of the Zartik-1 Upper Jurassic reservoirs continued through the third quarter. Evaluation of the results of the previously reported discoveries in the Baeshiqa-2 well is ongoing to determine commerciality.

Temporary Norwegian petroleum tax incentives are driving investment plans, with the Company maturing development options for the Brasse field (2021 PDO) and evaluating the Iris/Hades, Fogelberg and Trym South discoveries (2022 PDOs). Appraisal of the Bergknapp discovery (DNO 30 percent), among Norway's largest discoveries this year, is scheduled for 2021.

Two exploration wells are scheduled in the fourth quarter with Polmak already drilling in the Barents Sea (DNO 20 percent) and Røver Nord to spud shortly in the Northern North Sea (DNO 20 percent). These wells will be followed by an active exploration program in 2021 including wildcat wells at Gomez in the Southern North Sea (DNO 85 percent) and Edinburgh cross-border (UK-Norway) in the North Sea (DNO 45 percent).

Following the latest UK licensing round, DNO was awarded four licenses (two operated) all with previous discoveries.

(Source: DNO)

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DNO Starts Gas Capture in Kurdistan

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced that the USD 110 million Peshkabir Gas Capture and Injection Project in its Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq is onstream and has reached the one billion cubic feet of gas injection milestone.

The project is expected to reduce annual emissions from the Company's operated production by over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, offsetting the emissions from some 150,000 automobiles.

Engineering and construction were launched in mid-2018 and commissioning completed in mid-2020 in what is the first gas capture and storage project in Kurdistan. Some 20 million cubic feet a day of previously flared gas at the Peshkabir field is gathered, treated and transported 80 kilometers by pipeline to the Tawke field where it is injected for storage and reservoir pressure recharging.

Effective June 2020, the project halves the average carbon intensity of the Company's operated production from 14 kilograms CO2 equivalent for each barrel of oil equivalent produced (kg CO2e/boe) to an average of 7 kg CO2e/boe. This compares to the target set by a group of 12 of the world's largest oil companies comprising the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) to reduce the average carbon intensity of their aggregated upstream oil and gas operations to between 20-21 kg CO2e/boe by 2025 from a collective baseline of 23 kg CO2e/boe in 2017.

"Gas injection and the associated carbon capture and storage is proven, practical and potentially profitable," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO's Executive Chairman. "Our project was completed on schedule and on budget notwithstanding the challenges of working in what is still a frontier oil and gas operating environment and the obstacles posed in the late stages by the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.

Gas flaring at the Peshkabir field has been reduced by over 75 percent, with work underway to reduce it further. Any Peshkabir field injected gas produced at the Tawke field will be recovered and recycled into the latter or used as fuel to displace diesel.

Reservoir models suggest gas injection will increase gross Tawke field recoverable volume by 15 to 80 million barrels of oil, of which 23 million barrels are included in the gross proven and probable (2P) Tawke field reserves in the DNO 2019 Annual Statement of Reserves and Resources.

DNO's greenhouse gas emissions increased following commencement of production from the Peshkabir field in 2017 as the oil contains a relatively high associated gas content. Flaring from the Peshkabir field was the largest single contributor to DNO's total 2019 greenhouse gas emissions of 639,200 tonnes of CO2e.

Mr. Mossavar-Rahmani announced the launch of a new initiative to more actively measure, monitor and mitigate methane leakages at DNO's operated sites, noting that while CO2 emissions from oil and gas operations receive the greatest attention, methane emissions are a significant but underreported source of greenhouse gas with an impact 25 times greater than CO2 on a 100-year horizon.

DNO operates the Tawke license containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields with a 75 percent interest; partner Genel Energy plc holds the remaining 25 percent.

The Company will publish its Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which covers greenhouse gas emissions developments and strategies, next week.

(Source: DNO)

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