DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced expansion and acceleration of operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq while building up its North Sea exposure.

First quarter revenues, the highest in nearly four years, stood at USD 142 million and net profit at USD 18 million. The Company exited the quarter with cash balances of USD 518 million plus USD 76 million in treasury shares and marketable securities.

The Company added a third license in Kurdistan following government and partner approvals of the previously announced transaction with ExxonMobil. Effective 10 April 2018, DNO assumed operatorship of the Baeshiqa license with a 40 percent (32 percent participating) interest alongside ExxonMobil, Turkish Energy Company and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

At the Tawke license, the Company fast tracked development of the Peshkabir field with three new wells. The recently completed Peshkabir-4 well will shortly undergo production testing and the Peshkabir-5 well is drilling ahead at 2,250 meters. The Peshkabir-6 well was spudded as a development well last week and will also explore the field’s deeper Triassic formation.

We have the wind on our back,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, “with higher oil prices, timely export payments in Kurdistan, a growing portfolio of quality assets, efficient drilling and bold strategy execution.

On the DNO-operated Tawke license containing the Peshkabir and Tawke fields, 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) of production from two Peshkabir wells are comingled with 90,000 bopd from the flagship Tawke field for export through Turkey.

A new Tawke Cretaceous well was brought onstream earlier this month at more than 5,000 bopd. The Company will drill additional Tawke development wells in 2018 following mobilization of a fourth rig.

Elsewhere, the Company acquired 28.71 percent of North Sea-focused Faroe Petroleum plc at a price of GBP 1.25 per share through four separate transactions in April, complementing DNO’s existing portfolio of 19 exploration licenses offshore Norway and the United Kingdom.

DNO’s current cash balance stands at USD 356 million plus USD 280 million in treasury shares and marketable securities. The Company’s outstanding bond debt remains at USD 400 million and the equity ratio at 61 percent.

(Source: DNO)

By John Lee.

Iraq could transport up to a million barrels of oil per day through the Jordanian port of Aqaba (pictured), according to a report from The National.

Ali Nazar Faeq Al Shatari, deputy director general for the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) told The National:

“That project is still in place and we’re going to go ahead with it. We need another outlet for our crude oil,”

There has been little detail on the scheme’s timeline for completion or the scope of the project.

More here.

(Source: The National)

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Saudi Arabia is considering investing in 2.5 million acres of agricultural land in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, which has suffered both economically and otherwise after the bitter war to regain control of the province from the Islamic State. If such an investment is made, it would be facilitated by the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, which was formed in October.

The Iraqi Ministry of Commerce announced the potential investment in a brief statement to the press April 4, but did not disclose any further details on the matter.

Iraqi-Saudi relations have remarkably improved since mid-2017, particularly after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Riyadh in October. During that visit, an announcement was made on establishing the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, in the presence of Abadi, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The council aims to develop economic relations at all levels between Iraq and Saudi Arabia after nearly three decades of estrangement. It also seeks to open land borders, encourage investments, review the customs cooperation agreement and study the establishment of a trade zone.

The Ministry of Commerce’s media office declined to provide Al-Monitor with any details on the potential Saudi investment in Anbar.

However, Yahya al-Mohammadi, a member of the Anbar provincial council, told Al-Monitor that officials in Anbar were indeed in contact with the Saudi Embassy in Baghdad, adding, “Provincial officials have noticed a Saudi desire to broadly invest in Anbar.”

Meanwhile, Salman al-Ansari, chairman of the Washington-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Al-Monitor that the investment project in Anbar “will be launched soon.”

A Iraqi political source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity about the nature of the investment project in Anbar, its economic feasibility, and all related security and political aspects.

The source said the prospective investment will largely be “in the area of Nukhayb, which lies on the borders of the province of Karbala and is also adjacent to the Saudi border.” The project “aims to build fields for breeding calves, as well as producing dairy products and drinking water.” Large dairy companies will likely be established, mimicking a number of successful projects in Saudi Arabia.

The source did not deny the security objectives behind the project. “This area is lacking in security,” he said. “It is located on Saudi Arabia’s border, and the two countries are trying to turn it into a labor-intensive business center, which brings stability to it rather than it posing a permanent threat to both countries.”

He said that, politically, “Saudi Arabia certainly seeks to expand in Iraq, but will not follow the Iranian example, which occupies the Iraqi market without employing the labor force in Iraq.” Saudi Arabia, he said, “seeks soft dominance in Iraq by creating jobs for Iraqis,” which will make its “presence and influence in the political scene acceptable within the Iraqi society.”

Nukhayb has long been a disputed area between Anbar and Karbala. Nukhayb is administratively affiliated with Anbar province, but Karbala demands that it be annexed to its administrative borders. Security tension is common there, but the area has been relatively stable for nearly two years now.

Mohammadi denied “an actual start of investment operations in Anbar.” He said, “Saudi Arabia and Iraq only discussed the projects put forward,” noting that “this is due to the security and political instability in Iraq.”

In fact, not many political forces and Shiite factions welcome the idea of Saudi Arabia coming to Iraq and establishing business operations there. This rejection was demonstrated in March, when the media reported an upcoming visit to Iraq by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and, in response, Shiite factions and parties organized protests in a number of cities in Iraq.

Some Iraqi parliamentarians from Shiite blocs are seeking to pass a law similar to the American Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act to sue Saudi Arabia for allegedly allowing its citizens to enter Iraq and commit acts of terrorism on its territory.

Mohammadi ruled out the possibility that this would intimidate Saudi Arabia and stop it from launching projects in Anbar. “The Iranian-Saudi conflict has a wide impact on the countries of the region,” he said, “but Iraq’s neutral policy has been boding well so far, and I hope it continues to achieve what is in the interest of Iraq.”

Addressing whether Saudi Arabia fears for its investments in Iraq from pro-Iranian factions, Ansari said, “Saudi Arabia does not fear anyone and is capable of protecting its interests by all means, be it in the region or anywhere in the world.”

Iraq needs a very balanced policy in dealing with its conflicting neighbors Iran and Saudi Arabia, a fact that ought to be taken into account when either of these two countries wants to invest in Iraq, especially since both Iran and Saudi Arabia believe that investments are also a gateway to influence Iraq’s political situation.

SULAIMANI — The US dollar to Iraqi dinar (IQD) exchange rate was stable in the Kurdistan Region's currency markets on Thursday (April 26). Broker Dana Mawlud told NRT that $100 was selling at 120,000 Iraqi dinars, maintaining the same rate as the previous day. Mawlud also reported that 100 …

E-Dinar Coin (CURRENCY:EDR) traded down 6.2% against the dollar during the 24 hour period ending at 0:00 AM E.T. on April 18th. During the last seven days, E-Dinar Coin has traded 3.3% lower against the dollar. E-Dinar Coin has a total market capitalization of $18.21 million and approximately …

Taking a quick snapshot of the levels for E-Dinar Coin (EDR), we can see that the cryptocurrency has recently touched $0.0216 with volume of approximately 230 on the day. Investors might be tracking the crypto over the next couple of weeks to see which direction the price starts shifting. The dramatic …

At a major Iraqi business event in London on Tuesday, there was a strong sense that Iraq’s perceived risk profile is improving, and that this is an excellent time to do business in the country.

Nearly 300 delegates attended the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC)s Spring Conference at the Mansion House, which focused on “building a diversified and modern economy“, with many of those flying in from Iraq specially for the occasion.

This record attendance was just one of the positive indicators in evidence at the event, with speakers pointing to improved security, better relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central government in Baghdad, and a growing trend towards up-skilling and capacity building in the local population; here at Iraq Business News, we’ve seen a positive indicator of our own, with a 15 percent increase in our website traffic over the past year.

Closing the conference’s first day, IBBC Managing Director Christophe Michels also drew attention to the growing number of companies joining his organisation, and a much more relaxed atmosphere in Iraq’s major cities.

The second day of the conference also saw a full house at the Royal Overseas League to discuss business opportunities for Iraqi and British small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

(Picture: Baroness Fairhead CBE, UK Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, addressing the conference.)

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

A week-long Flower Festival is being held in the Iraqi capital Baghdad to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Foreign participants say they are speechless with the sight of Baghdad shining in full bloom.

Press TV‘s correspondent, Altaf Ahmad, reports from the Iraqi capital: