Iraq Clamps Down on Oil Smugglers

By John Lee.

As part of the national campaign to eliminate the smuggling of oil derivatives, five vehicles prepared for smuggling were seized and four people were arrested in Salah al-Din Governorate.

Four large storage tanks were also seized at the smugglers' base.

A further four premises were seized in raids in Nineveh, Anbar, Babil and Basra, resulting in the arrest of five suspects and the seizure of large-capacity iron tanks loaded with 20 petroleum products, in addition to caravans and other materials used in the process of smuggling and illegal trade.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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The KRG Turns Thirty: The Future of US-Kurdish Relations (Part III)

By James Jeffrey, Matthew Amitrano and Bilal Wahab for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The KRG Turns Thirty: The Future of U.S.-Kurdish Relations in Iraq

Three experts evaluate the KRG's oil and gas industry and discuss the growing urgency of resolving its disputes with Baghdad.

Click here to see the full article and video.

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Schlumberger “Withdraws from Iraqi Kurdistan”

By John Lee.

Schlumberger has reportedly announced its withdrawal from Iraqi Kurdistan, as a result of the Federal Supreme Court ruling that oil contracts signed with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are unconstitutional.

Sources told the official Iraqi News Agency that the US-based oilfield services company "sent a letter with an official document to the Iraqi Oil Ministry in its commitment to Federal Court Decision No. 59, which includes not dealing with the Kurdistan region regarding the oil file."

The news agency adds that a similar decision was taken previously by Baker Hughes.

Schlumberger has been active at several fields in southern Iraq, drilling 37 oil wells in the Al-Zubair field in Basra, drilling 96 horizontal and diagonal oil wells at the West Qurna 1 field, and drilling 40 new wells at Majnoon oilfield.

(Source: Iraqi News Agency)

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Petrel to submit proposals to Incoming Iraqi Administration

By John Lee.

Petrel Resources has said its Iraqi business is being "re-galvanised" (sic), with data bases being updated, and updated proposals submitted to the incoming administration.

In its audited results for the year ended 31st December 2021, the company said it is strengthening its Iraqi team, and has invested heavily in the training and development of its Iraqi staff.

It adds that its Iraqi Director, Riadh Ani, has maintained strong relationships with Ministry of Oil officials, being "highly regarded as the son of one of the most successful drillers in history: his father Mahmoud Ahmed had run Iraq's North Oil Company, and also the State Iraqi Drilling Company."

More here.

The company claims to have an interest in Iraq's Block 6 in the Western Desert, subject to ratification.

(Source: Petrel Resources)

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The Necessary US Role in Fixing Baghdad-Kurdistan Energy Dispute

By Michael Knights, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Necessary U.S. Role in Fixing the Baghdad-Kurdistan Energy Dispute

On February 15, 2022, Iraq's Federal Supreme Court ruled that the 2007 oil and gas law for the Kurdistan Region was unconstitutional, requiring a review of numerous production sharing contracts and oil sales agreements.

If the case prevents oil exports via Iraqi Kurdistan, then the world market will almost immediately lose 500,000 barrels per day, triggering higher oil prices, expanded windfalls for Russia and Iran, the collapse of Iraqi Kurdistan's economy, and a dangerous turn in Baghdad's ties with Erbil and with Ankara.

In this timely Policy Note, Iraq expert Michael Knights calls for the United States to act with other concerned states to resolve the Baghdad-Erbil energy crisis. In doing so, he categorizes the sub-issues of FSC implementation on a spectrum from higher to lower consensus, and explains both sides' views in an unvarnished, direct manner.

A targeted intervention by the United States and its partners, the author argues, could guide the dispute toward a long-overdue resolution that greatly aids U.S. interests and the global effort to find a substitute for Russian and Iranian oil and gas.

Click here to read the full report.

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Scramble to Contain new Animal Virus Outbreak

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi health authorities scramble to contain new animal virus outbreak

Viral hemorrhagic fever is spread by contact with animals and can constitute a "public health emergency of international concern."

Click here to read the full article.

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Dana Gas suspends Khor Mor Expansion after more Attacks

By John Lee.

Dana Gas has said that following the incident on the 22nd of June, two further small rockets landed within the Khor Mor Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

It says there were no injuries or damage.

In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, the company says that production operations continue as normal, however the work on the KM 250 expansion project has been temporarily suspended while security enhancements are carried out.

It adds:

"The company is closely coordinating with the KRG who along with the Iraqi government have shown strong support.

"As a response to these attacks the KRG has taken all necessary measures to enhance security measures in Khor Mor including the mobilisation of further armed forces to protect the facilities."

(Source: Dana Gas)

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KRG PM ‘deeply troubled’ by attacks on Khor Mor Oilfield

From the Kurdistan Regional Government:

Like citizens across the Kurdistan, I have been deeply troubled by the repeated terror attacks on our people and public infrastructure in recent months. The cowards behind the attacks have resorted to terror tactics because they have lost the court of public opinion in the rest of the country.

Rather than focus on the future, and economic integration to lift all of the country, lawless groups have resorted to rocket attacks on our villages and civilians.

I have spoken by phone with key political partners in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, and our friends abroad. During my call with Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi, I emphasized the need for joint Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces to fill any remaining vacuum in the disputed territories used by lawless groups to recklessly destabilize the whole of the country.

I explained to the Prime Minister that the attacks threaten the country's electricity provision and the investment climate for all the country, and I have urged him to take public, practical measures to rein in the groups.

I have also directed both Ministers of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior to take all measures necessary to protect critical public infrastructure and oil and gas installations. As part of the plan, we have agreed to reinforce the area with additional forces. More measures will be reviewed in the coming days.

Last night, I also spoke with White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk. Our American friends, and every investor must remain committed; we cannot give into fear. Over the next few days, I will urge our international friends and partners, and the UN Security Council to renew efforts with Erbil and Baghdad and explore ways for us both to protect against more terror attack.

The KRG deeply values and will defend and protect investments in its oil and gas sector and all public infrastructure. I have made it clear that an attack anywhere on Kurdistan is an attack on all of Kurdistan and its peoples.

In this moment of national concern, I urge our people to stay resolute. This is a blatant attack on our infrastructure, and part of a concerted effort to deter us from our strategic plans and reform agenda. Our resilience will not be shaken.

Masrour Barzani

Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government

(Source: KRG)

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Iran “Ready to Export Technical, Engineering Services to Iraq”

By John Lee.

The CEO of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has said that Iran is ready to export technical and engineering services to Iraq.

Addressing a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Iran-Iraq Oil Cooperation, Mohsen Khojastehmehr, said:

"Iran wants to benefit from Iraq's participation in the development of the oil and gas industry ...

"It is time for Iran and Iraq to take practical steps to cooperate in the field of oil and gas activities and the scientific, technological and educational sectors."

The Iraqi delegation to the meeting was led by Deputy Minister of Oil, Bassem Mohammad Khedir,

(Source: Shana)

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Economic Diversification and Energy Transition in Iraq and the Gulf

From The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Economic Diversification and Energy Transition in Iraq and the Gulf

Iraq is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis as it grapples with a volatile post-election political environment and continued social unrest. The onset of the pandemic two years ago combined with the subsequent decline in oil prices to create added economic pressures for a state that remains highly oil-dependent and a society that is overwhelmingly dependent on the public sector for employment.

The country's inability to provide jobs and services for its predominantly young population has sparked a protest movement that has added urgency to the need for major reforms. Meanwhile, the growing threat of climate change and climate-induced socio-economic challenges have raised the specter of an existential crisis, one that could potentially be hastened by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the resulting impact on food security.

And while other Gulf oil exporters are reaping the benefit of a windfall in revenues by spring 2022, disputes over revenue sharing and the ability to catalyze domestic spending and investment continue to weaken recovery prospects for all of Iraq.

To identify pathways to deal with demands for economic reform and volatility in resource revenue, in November 2021 the Middle East Institute (MEI) and Iraq Policy Group (IPG) convened a high-level workshop on the side-lines of the American University of Kurdistan's annual Middle East Peace and Security Forum, bringing together decision-makers in Baghdad, Erbil, and the wider region, as well as practitioners, scholars, and the private sector to examine the country's prospects for addressing its short- and long-term economic challenges as Baghdad and Erbil embark on ambitious reform agendas.

This included discussions and debates on plans to diversify their economies away from fossil fuel dependency, the progress of reforms, regional policy goals on net zero at 2050, and the wider lessons that Erbil and Baghdad could draw from the Gulf region.

This report provides the insights and analyses of a select group of participants, and forms part of a series of forthcoming Iraq- and Gulf-focused reports and initiatives that MEI and IPG will be convening.

Click here to read the full article.

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