Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is on an official visit to Iraq, highlighted the positive outcomes of the Iran-Iraq Joint Trade Conference in Baghdad and said the doubling of the bilateral trade “is on the horizon”.

“Today, I, accompanied by 6 Iraqi ministers, addressed hundreds of participants at the Iran-Iraq Joint Trade Conference; exploring paths to significantly expand bilateral trade and investment,” Zarif said on his twitter account early on Tuesday.

“With implementation of shared vision, doubling of annual trade volume is on the horizon,” he added in his tweet.

Heading a high-ranking Iranian delegation, Zarif arrived in Baghdad on Sunday for an official visit.

The visit comes against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.

Iraq’s foreign minister said recently that his country is “not obliged” to abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing options to continue bilateral trade.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) closed 4.3 percent higher on Wednesday after the company provided an operational and corporate update.

Operational

  • Production operations, underpinned by strong performance of the Shaikan Jurassic reservoir, continue in line with expectations. Average gross production of 31,563 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”) was achieved in 2018, at the upper end of the 27,000 – 32,000 bopd guidance.
  • The plant debottlenecking programme required to expand gross production capacity to 55,000 bopd from PF-1 and PF-2 remains on schedule for completion towards the end of 2019.
  • GKP has signed an agreement with Independent Oil Tools to use ‘Rig 1’ during the Company’s workover programme to replace tubing on SH-1 and SH-3 wells and install downhole pumps (“ESPs”) on three other existing wells. The rig has been mobilised and is currently performing a workover on the SH-1 well to install larger bore tubing to increase productivity.
  • GKP has also signed an agreement with the rig operator, DQE, to use ‘Rig 40’ for its upcoming drilling campaign, due to start in March 2019, with the first four wells (needed for the 55,000 bopd target) expected to be completed in Q1 2020.
  • Since July 2018, all production from PF-2 has been exported via the Atrush export pipeline which connects to the main Kurdish export pipeline. Additional pumps along with a temporary unloading facility have now been installed at PF-2 which allows the majority of production from PF-1 to be trucked to PF-2 and exported via pipeline. Today, only ca.3,000 bopd are exported by truck via Fishkhabour which lowers HSSE exposure.
  • Further progress has been made, including delivery of all 16″ pipeline to the field, on the installation by KAR Group of the pipeline also connecting PF-1 to the Atrush export pipeline. This remains on schedule to be brought into service mid-2019, at which point the residual trucking of crude oil will be eliminated.
  • GKP and its partner MOL have agreed on a staged investment programme to increase gross production up to 110,000 bopd by 2024. The revised Field Development Plan was submitted for approval to the Ministry of Natural Resources in October 2018. The current expansion to 55,000 bopd is already underway.

Corporate

  • GKP has continued to receive regular oil payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government, with cash receipts of $225 million net to GKP during 2018.
  • Cash balance of $294 million as at 15 January 2019. The Company remains fully funded to complete the expansion to 55,000 bopd.
  • Gross capital expenditure guidance for the total 55,000 bopd project phase remains unchanged at $200 million to $230 million.
  • Of the 2018 approved gross budget of $91 million, ca.$40 million has been transferred to early 2019 which was primarily driven by delays in delivery of drilling and well completion equipment.

Outlook

  • Given the active 2019 investment programme, particularly in new wells and workovers, the Company anticipates improved production levels this year and expects gross average production guidance to be in the range of 32,000 – 38,000 bopd.
  • The above guidance takes account the latest drilling and project schedules, but also the temporary plant shut-downs required in 2019 for the tie-in of new facilities and wells being offline while workovers are taking place.
  • 55,000 bopd production target moved to early 2020 due to delays in the delivery of equipment, affecting the start date of the drilling campaign, originally January, now March 2019.
  • The Company intends to host a Capital Markets Day in the first quarter of 2019. Further details will be announced at a later date.

Commenting, Jón Ferrier, CEO, said:

Having successfully laid the foundations for our expansion plans in 2018, we are very pleased to have now initiated our new investment programme at Shaikan.

“We continue to make considerable operational headway as we look to safely increase production to 55,000 bopd, in line with our strategy. 2019 is set to be another important year for Gulf Keystone and we look forward to keeping our stakeholders updated on our ongoing progress.”

(Source: GKP)

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) closed 4.3 percent higher on Wednesday after the company provided an operational and corporate update.

Operational

  • Production operations, underpinned by strong performance of the Shaikan Jurassic reservoir, continue in line with expectations. Average gross production of 31,563 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”) was achieved in 2018, at the upper end of the 27,000 – 32,000 bopd guidance.
  • The plant debottlenecking programme required to expand gross production capacity to 55,000 bopd from PF-1 and PF-2 remains on schedule for completion towards the end of 2019.
  • GKP has signed an agreement with Independent Oil Tools to use ‘Rig 1’ during the Company’s workover programme to replace tubing on SH-1 and SH-3 wells and install downhole pumps (“ESPs”) on three other existing wells. The rig has been mobilised and is currently performing a workover on the SH-1 well to install larger bore tubing to increase productivity.
  • GKP has also signed an agreement with the rig operator, DQE, to use ‘Rig 40’ for its upcoming drilling campaign, due to start in March 2019, with the first four wells (needed for the 55,000 bopd target) expected to be completed in Q1 2020.
  • Since July 2018, all production from PF-2 has been exported via the Atrush export pipeline which connects to the main Kurdish export pipeline. Additional pumps along with a temporary unloading facility have now been installed at PF-2 which allows the majority of production from PF-1 to be trucked to PF-2 and exported via pipeline. Today, only ca.3,000 bopd are exported by truck via Fishkhabour which lowers HSSE exposure.
  • Further progress has been made, including delivery of all 16″ pipeline to the field, on the installation by KAR Group of the pipeline also connecting PF-1 to the Atrush export pipeline. This remains on schedule to be brought into service mid-2019, at which point the residual trucking of crude oil will be eliminated.
  • GKP and its partner MOL have agreed on a staged investment programme to increase gross production up to 110,000 bopd by 2024. The revised Field Development Plan was submitted for approval to the Ministry of Natural Resources in October 2018. The current expansion to 55,000 bopd is already underway.

Corporate

  • GKP has continued to receive regular oil payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government, with cash receipts of $225 million net to GKP during 2018.
  • Cash balance of $294 million as at 15 January 2019. The Company remains fully funded to complete the expansion to 55,000 bopd.
  • Gross capital expenditure guidance for the total 55,000 bopd project phase remains unchanged at $200 million to $230 million.
  • Of the 2018 approved gross budget of $91 million, ca.$40 million has been transferred to early 2019 which was primarily driven by delays in delivery of drilling and well completion equipment.

Outlook

  • Given the active 2019 investment programme, particularly in new wells and workovers, the Company anticipates improved production levels this year and expects gross average production guidance to be in the range of 32,000 – 38,000 bopd.
  • The above guidance takes account the latest drilling and project schedules, but also the temporary plant shut-downs required in 2019 for the tie-in of new facilities and wells being offline while workovers are taking place.
  • 55,000 bopd production target moved to early 2020 due to delays in the delivery of equipment, affecting the start date of the drilling campaign, originally January, now March 2019.
  • The Company intends to host a Capital Markets Day in the first quarter of 2019. Further details will be announced at a later date.

Commenting, Jón Ferrier, CEO, said:

Having successfully laid the foundations for our expansion plans in 2018, we are very pleased to have now initiated our new investment programme at Shaikan.

“We continue to make considerable operational headway as we look to safely increase production to 55,000 bopd, in line with our strategy. 2019 is set to be another important year for Gulf Keystone and we look forward to keeping our stakeholders updated on our ongoing progress.”

(Source: GKP)

MAN Energy Solutions has successfully commissioned six MAN 18V32/40 engines in a cement factory in Samawa, Iraq, and delivered five more engines of the same type to a freshwater-treatment plant in Basra.

“The country’s infrastructure has suffered greatly from armed conflict in the past and the re-electrification of Iraq is pivotal for further growth and new prosperity. We are very happy that our engines will bring such tangible, positive benefits to the Iraqi people,” said Waldemar Wiesner, Head of Region MEA (Middle-East Africa), Power Plant Sales, MAN Energy Solutions.

Defying the desert

The six engines in Samawa form the backbone of a power plant that will generate around 54 MW of electrical energy for a new cement plant owned by Iraqi producer, Kairat Al Abar Iraqi Co. (KAAI).

Samawa has a population of around 150,000 and is located on the River Euphrates, half way between Baghdad and the Persian Gulf. Conditions locally are testing with a rainfall of just 100 mm over the course of a year, while temperatures peak at over 40°C from June to September. “The heat and dry desert climate create demanding conditions for industrial processes,” said Wiesner. “However, our MAN 32/40 engines are particularly robust and well capale of delivering a reliable power supply under such extreme climatic conditions.”

Fresh water in Basra

Five MAN 18V32/40 engines with a total capacity of 45 MW will guarantee the energy supply of a freshwater-treatment plant in Basra, a city with 2.5 million people located on the Persian Gulf. Normally, the plant operates with electricity from the public grid. However, since Iraq’s energy supply still fluctuates strongly, the MAN engines will serve as an important backup to ensure the reliable operation of the plant.

“In Iraq, more than five million people have only limited access to drinking water or sanitary facilities. With this new freshwater plant, the quality of life for the people of Basra will increase significantly,” said Wiesner. “In the event of power failures, which unfortunately still occur frequently, our engines will ensure a stable energy supply so that Basra’s population has access to fresh water at all times.”

(Source: MAN Energy Solutions)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The head of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Board of Tourism has reportedly said that tourism is expected to “approach” 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

Mawlawi Jabar Wahab told Rudaw that this would be roughly double the sector’s current size.

Visitor numbers are now beginning to climb once more, topping three million in 2018.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the fact that each year, 7 million Iraqis and Iranians visit each other’s country is a sign of the two neighboring countries’ close ties.

Speaking at a meeting with Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi in Baghdad on Monday, attended by the chairmen of the Iraqi parliamentary factions, Zarif hailed the relations between the two countries, the parliamentary ties in particular.

The fact that seven million Iranians and Iraqis visit each other’s country each year is an outstanding sign of “the proximity of the two great nations,” Zarif said.

Every year, a large number of Iranians visit Iraq for pilgrimage. Iranian pilgrims travel to Karbala, Najaf and Baghdad to pay homage to Shia Imams buried in Iraq.

Iraqis visit the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Qom for pilgrimage.

The Iraqi parliament speaker, for his part, referred to the two countries’ common interests and praised Iran’s role in helping the Iraqi people defeat the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terror group.

Daesh militants made swift advances in much of northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large swaths of northern Syria.

However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after top Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling for fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive.

In November 2017, the self-proclaimed caliphate of Daesh collapsed after Syrian and Iraqi armed forces and their allies managed to recapture the terror group’s last strongholds in the two Arab countries.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)