By John Lee.

Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate (PCLD) has announced that previously-qualified international oil companies (IOCs) which are not currently operating in Iraq, and which did not participate in earlier licensing rounds, will not be eligible to compete in the current licensing round.

In an announcement (copied below), the PCLD said such companies will have to resubmit all documents and pay a fee of $25,000 if they wish to participate:

 

 

By John Lee.

Chevron has become the latest member of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), joining 57 other world- and region-leading organisations that form IBBC’s membership.

The company operates and has an 80 percent interest in the Sarta production-sharing contract (PSC) and the Qara Dagh PSC (pictured). The two blocks cover a combined area of 279,000 net acres (1,129 sq km).

In early 2016, it completed a second exploration well in the Sarta Block, and more evaluation of the block is planned.

For the Qara Dagh PSC, the results from seismic acquisition and evaluation in 2015 improved understanding of the prospects, and it is evaluating the next steps.

(Sources: IBBC, Chevron)

Speedcast International Limited has announced it has been awarded a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) license to operate in Iraq through its locally-licensed entity, prompting the completion of a new systems integration project providing managed network services for an international oilfield services group in the country.

The VSAT license is a strict new requirement as of January 2017 for service providers operating in Iraq, which was previously covered under the yearly telecommunications license required to operate communications networks in-country.

Speedcast’s local entity has renewed its general telecommunications license in addition to being awarded the VSAT-specific license, allowing the company to continue to support customers in the region for satellite connectivity as well as other telecommunications and technology services.

“Obtaining the VSAT license is a huge win for us, as it was essential for us to continue providing reliable communications to international customers doing business in Iraq,” said Keith Johnson, EVP, Energy, Speedcast.

“The customer we are supporting for this systems integration project is new to operating in the country and was looking for an experienced international service provider they could trust. Speedcast’s unique experience in providing ruggedized communications equipment and highly reliable services made us a great fit for the environment, which includes extreme temperatures and desert conditions. Being one of the few companies with the license to provide managed satellite communications in-country, Speedcast is able to exceed the customer’s needs with the dependability and professionalism that has made the company a leader in the industry.”

The project scope includes four sites at a major oilfield in southern Iraq, utilising Speedcast’s locally-licensed entity to deliver communications services and 24×7 support. The sites are equipped with terrestrial, microwave and satellite connectivity, CCTV, video conferencing, WAN optimization and a range of IT equipment.

Fiber and microwave serve as the primary connections with satellite providing backup. Terrestrial and VSAT networks were provided together to ensure business continuity for both operator and service contractors, so both drilling and critical business data could be transmitted 100 percent of the time. Under the terms of the agreement, Speedcast will also provide end-user VSAT licenses.

Speedcast’s system integration experience spans 30 years and includes engineering and design, procurement, testing, installation and maintenance for complete communications needs – from entertainment systems and security and monitoring services to navigation equipment, video streaming, internet of things (IoT) and more.

(Source: Speedcast)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq says the date to hold an independence referendum has been set and won’t be changed.

That was in response to a request by US secretary of state Rex Tillerson to postpone the referendum.

During a telephone call on Thursday, Tillerson told Masoud Barzani that he favours dialogue instead, between the Kurdish region and the Iraqi government.

The US and other Western nations are worried the vote, could lead to renewed conflict with the Iraqi government in Baghdad and distract the Kurds from fighting ISIL.

Turkey, Iran and Syria which also have large Kurdish populations all oppose an independent Kurdish state.

So, could this vote lead to an independent Kurdish state? and what will that mean for Iraq and the region?

Presenter:

  • Imran Khan

Guests:

  • Dindar Zebari – Deputy Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • Ahmed Rushdi – Director of the House of Iraqi Expertise Foundation.
  • Dlawer Ala’Aldeen – President of the Middle East Institute.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has confirmed that a gross payment of $15.0 million ($12.0 million net to GKP) has been received from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for Shaikan crude oil export sales for April 2017. Company’s current cash position is $140.3 million.

On August 8th, cumulative production from the Shaikan field reached 40 million barrels; another important milestone for the Company.

The Shaikan Field continues to perform in line with expectations with an average daily production of 36,671 barrels of oil per day during the first half of 2017. Gulf Keystone remains on course to achieve its previous gross production guidance of between 32,000 – 38,000 bopd for the full year.

Commenting on today’s announcement, CEO, Jón Ferrier (pictured), said:

“Safe and reliable operations remains a strategic priority and we continue to be strongly encouraged by the stable performance of the Shaikan Field during 2017. I am also pleased to report that GKP recently achieved two years with no Lost-time-incidents (“LTI”), a testament to the quality of our field operations.”

(Source: GKP)

Panalpina, the Swiss-based provider of supply chain solutions, has won what it describes as its “largest award with a specific oil and gas major to date”.

The company was awarded with a contract to manage transportation for a gas project in Iraq, for a minimum of five years, involve high air and LCL (less than container load) ocean freight volumes.

Work has already begun and besides transport Panalpina will also provide customs clearance, light warehousing, full order management and in-house staffing for the customer. Additionally, Panalpina will handle ad hoc air and ocean chartering for this project.

Panalpina says it has worked with the customer since 2010 in the USA and over the last seven years has developed activities with several divisions and geographies, which now also include Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Morocco — it does not name the customer.

In 2015, Panalpina and the customer developed an automated order management system in the USA, and building on this expertise Panalpina will expand the value offering to the project in Iraq throughout the duration of the contract.

Another critical factor for winning this new business was the fact that Panalpina fosters local expertise in a key country such as Iraq, meaning that the company employs a local workforce instead of an expat workforce.

(Source: Panalpina)

By John Lee.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) has confirmed that production from the Atrush Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is expected to ramp up towards the 30,000-barrel-per-day project capacity (gross) in 2017.

Oil production at Atrush started in July.

TAQA is the operator of Atrush and has a 39.9% working interest in the Production Sharing Contract. The other co-venturers are the Kurdistan Regional Government (25%), General Explorations Partners, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of ShaMaran Petroleum Corp) (20.1%), and Marathon Oil KDV B.V. (15%).

(Source: TAQA)

On August 1, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2017 Article IV consultation with Iraq.

Iraq is facing a double shock arising from the conflict with ISIS and the plunge in oil prices.

In 2016, real GDP increased by 11 percent owing to a 25 percent increase in oil production, which was little affected by the conflict with ISIS. This year, economic activity is expected to remain muted due to a 1.5 percent contraction in oil production owing to the OPEC + agreement to reduce oil production and only a modest recovery of the non-oil sector.

The decline in oil prices has driven the decline of Iraq’s international reserves from $54 billion at end-2015 to $45 billion at end-2016. Fiscal pressures are ongoing, with the government deficit increasing from 12 percent of GDP in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016 despite the ongoing fiscal consolidation, due to weaker oil prices and rising humanitarian and security spending.

The authorities have appropriately maintained the exchange rate peg. The simplification of documentation requirements implemented by the Central Bank of Iraq led to a decline in the parallel market spread to 6 percent in June 2017.

Medium-term growth prospects are positive. Growth will be driven by the projected moderate increase in oil production and the rebound in non-oil growth supported by the expected improvement in security and implementation of structural reform. Risks remain very high, however, arising primarily from volatile security, political tensions, and poor policy implementation.

The Fund is supporting Iraq through a three-year Stand-By Arrangement in the amount of SDR 3.831 million ($5.380 billion), equivalent to 230 percent of quota.

Full statement here.

30-page report can be downloaded here.

(Source: IMF)

Reuters reports that a former Iraqi oil minister said it was necessary for Iraq to regain the Iraqi Pipeline in Saudi Arabia (IPSA), which has not carried Iraqi crude since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, and which was confiscated by Saudi Arabia in 2001 as compensation for debts owed by Baghdad.

Bahr Al Olum, who is currently a member of parliament, said he has discussed the issue with Saudi side expected that Riyadh would have a more “positive response” given an improved political environment between the two countries.

(Source: Reuters)

(Picture: Haider Al-Abadi meets King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 19th June 2017)

By John Lee.

The Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has reportedly plundered more than $800 million from Iraqi bank facilities and reserves.

According to a new report from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), the group has taken $101 million and 856.5 billion Iraqi dinars ($727.6 million) from banks in the territory it controlled over the past three years.

Although significant, the figure is less than the billions of dollars first estimated.

(Source: Newsweek)