Stephen Whyte, Chairman of Genel Energy, gave the following update on the business at the Company’s Annual General Meeting, held in London on Thursday:

Genel had a very successful 2018, with free cash flow generation of $164 million even while making significant investment in growth.

2019 has seen us continue this success. We are delivering year-on-year production growth, we have made portfolio additions that perfectly complement our existing asset base, and our cash position continues to strengthen.

Genel is participating in 20 wells this year, the most of any IOC in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (‘KRI’). Drilling on the Tawke and Peshkabir fields is ongoing, with activity ramping up as we progress through 2019. Year to date production from the Tawke PSC is currently c.126,800 bopd, with Peshkabir driving impressive growth compared to the prior year’s period.

The drilling programme at Taq Taq has now delivered three successful wells, and year to date production is currently c.13,300 bopd, an increase from the 2018 average of 12,350 bopd. We are continuing to achieve successful results from the flanks of the field, and are drilling ahead at pace.

Total Genel working interest production across all assets is 37,600 bopd, running slightly ahead of our expected 10% increase in year-on-year production.

Even as we invest to deliver this production increase we continue to improve our cash position, generating almost $50 million in free cash flow in the first four months of the year. We expect to keep up this impressive run rate. Our current expectation is that we will generate well over $100 million in free cash flow over the course of 2019, prior to the payment of the dividend, even after increasing expenditure on our growth opportunities.

The results at Peshkabir show the significant success that can be obtained from our low-cost, rapid return operations in the KRI. While investing to increase production from 12,000 bopd to 55,000 bopd over the course of the year, Genel still generated $50 million of free cash flow from the asset. This level of return is hard to match anywhere else in the world, and illustrates why we continue to look for further opportunities in the KRI.

Put simply, the KRI is a very good place in which to operate. Payments have been made on a monthly basis for over three and a half years now, the political situation continues to improve – with Baghdad having made budget payments to the Kurdistan Regional Government for over a year – and the low-cost of operations helping to set a breakeven oil price at an asset level of $20/bbl.

We are still looking to diversify the portfolio, but we will not ignore further opportunities in the KRI – and indeed continue to focus on these where our presence on the ground and regional expertise mean we can maximise their value potential for shareholders.

In that context, as you are probably aware by now, we were delighted to add Sarta and Qara Dagh to the portfolio. They tick all of the boxes, as we partner with Chevron on assets that offer a mixture of near-term production and long-term growth potential.

Sarta is expected to enter production in the middle of 2020, and we will develop the field utilising a similar strategy to the one that was so successful (and cash-generative) at Peshkabir. While we do not want to get ahead of ourselves there are hydrocarbons throughout the structure in all of the typical KRI reservoirs, from the Tertiary down to the Triassic.

We are focused on building an even stronger business with material growth potential, providing a clear and compelling investment case that offers the opportunity for a significant increase in shareholder value. As we prioritise that growth, we have also initiated a material and sustainable dividend, providing investors with a compelling mix of growth and returns.

I am delighted that Bill Higgs is now sitting alongside me as CEO, and that Esa Ikaheimonen, our CFO, has also joined the Board.

On a personal level, the transition that I was keen to oversee is now complete. As such I have decided that this will be my last AGM as Chairman of Genel, and I will leave the Company for new challenges once a suitable successor has been identified. When I joined the Board two years ago the share price was under 80p, production was declining, Genel had unpaid oil receivables of over $400 million and $142 million in net debt.

Genel’s production and net cash position is now rising, the portfolio is positioned to provide material organic growth, and Genel now has the right team to deliver that growth. Management has a wealth of experience in the sector, experience that can also be utilised to make further value-accretive portfolio additions and optimise our growing cash pile to generate value for shareholders.”

Genel will announce results for the six months ending 30 June 2019 on Tuesday 6 August 2019.

(Source: Genel Energy)

By John Lee.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has been awarded a $92,400,000 modification (P00003) to Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract W15QKN-18-D0020 for 120mm munition high explosive with tracer tank ammunition cartridges.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 16, 2022.

According to Defense World, the ammunition will be used for Iraqi Army M1A1 Abrams tanks, such as the one pictured.

(Sources: US Dept of Defense, Defense World)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has completed the private placement of USD 400 million of new, five-year senior unsecured bonds with a coupon rate of 8.375 percent.

The bond placement received strong investor demand across international markets and was oversubscribed.

The bond issue is expected to be settled on or about 29 May 2019, subject to customary conditions precedent.

An application will be made for the bonds to be listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. In connection with the bond placement, the Company has agreed to buy back USD 60 million in nominal value of DNO01 bonds (ISIN NO 0010740392) at 104.16 percent of par plus accrued interest and USD 10 million in nominal value of FAPE01 bonds originally issued by Faroe Petroleum plc in 2017 (ISIN NO 0010811268) at 107.50 percent of par plus accrued interest.

In addition to partial refinancing of the DNO01 and FAPE01 bonds, net proceeds from the new bond issue will be used for general corporate purposes.

Danske Bank and Pareto Securities AS acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners with SpareBank 1 Markets AS as co-manager and bookrunner.

(Source: DNO)

(Picture: Bonds, from Alexskopje/Shutterstock)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 16th May 2019).

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The RSISX index ended the week at IQD622 (+4.3%) / $669 (+4.3%) (weekly change) (-5.7% and -5.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.1 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD2.6 bn ($2.1 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Fallujah for Construction Materials (IFCM) will hold an AGM* on May. 29, 2019 to discuss and approve 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Jul. 6, 2015 by an ISC decision due to not disclosing 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual financial results.
  • According to the Board of Insurance, Ahliya for Insurance (NAHF) will resume trading on Sunday (May. 19, 2019).
  • Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) completed its capital increase procedures from IQD5.0 bn to IQD7.0 bn through 40% rights issue.
  • Babylon Hotel (HBAY) invited its shareholders on May. 14, 2019 to receive their cash dividend for the years between 1997 and 2001 as well as the year of 2016.

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

The Cabinet discussed and reviewed a number of infrastructure projects, and approved a scheme to develop land close to Baghdad International Airport.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Five One Labs is pleased to announce IGNITE, our very first entrepreneurship program focusing on achieving product market fit.

This program will help you better understand the market you are competing in and how you can create the most value for your customers.

We are now recruiting tech-entrepreneurs from communities all around Iraq to participate in this month long program.

If you are passionate about a tech-focused startup idea and want to learn the skills to turn it into a business, this program is right for you!

Apply by May 21 at 11:59pm to be considered.

More details here.

(Source: 51 Labs)

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)

From the U.S. Embassy in Iraq:

The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq.

An Iranian official said the exports of natural gas to Iraq are growing steadily and are expected to hit 40 million cubic meters a day in summer.

Managing director of the Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company (IGEDC) Hassan Montazer Torbati told Tasnim that Iran’s gas exports to Iraq are constantly increasing and nearing a ceiling set on the contract between the two neighbors.

He noted that the exports will be rising as the hot season is looming with a surge in Iraq’s electricity consumption, adding that the daily export is expected to hit 40 million cubic meters.

Baghdad and Basra are the main export destinations of Iranian natural gas, the official added.

On a gas deal with Turkey, Montazer Torbati said Tehran and Ankara are planned to enter negotiations to extend the gas export contract during the last five years of the deal, adding that serious talks to renew the contract will kick off next year.

In June 2017, Iran started to export natural gas to Iraq after years of negotiations and settlement of financial problems.

Tehran and Baghdad had signed a deal on the exports of natural gas from the giant South Pars Gas Field in 2013.

Under the deal, the Iranian gas is delivered to Sadr, Baghdad and al-Mansouryah power plants in Iraq through a 270-kilometer pipeline.

Last month, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said the Arab country’s gas imports from Iran are planned to rise by 13 percent by January 2020.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)