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)

Advertising Feature

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

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

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)

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)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

For much of Iraq’s recent history, the trend has been for educated and talented Iraqis to leave the country, and for Iraq to use its oil revenues to import the expertise it needs.

But that’s changing; to at least some extent, the Iraqi diaspora is returning, innovative home-grown Iraqi businesses are being created, and some are even exporting their goods and services abroad.

One prime example is Arab Payment Services (APS), which I visited on a recent trip to Baghdad. Founded by Ziad Khalaf in 2013, the company now employs 100 people, many of them Iraqis who have returned from overseas with new skills and experience.

The company provides a range of banking-related services, including ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) devices, and payment processing. In this business, proper security is essential. General Manager Haider Alobaidi, who has been with the company from the start, explained:

“Our processes all comply with international standards, such as PCI DSS [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] — our reputation depends on flawless execution, so there is no room for error.”

In a country so reliant on cash, is there really a need for such a business? “Most definitely“, says Roger Abhoud, Advisor to the Chairman:

“The demographics are all in our favour. Forty million people, 83 percent of them without bank accounts, increasing by one million people each year — more and more of those people want access to the sorts of services that we can provide, and that trend can only continue. It’s a huge opportunity!”

His vision doesn’t end there. APS has just opened an office in Dubai, and plans to expand internationally.

This is a new and positive phenomenon for Iraq, and one that will provide welcome opportunities in the years ahead.

Iraq, one of the world’s biggest energy producers, can address its current electricity shortfall and growing power needs through immediate action to relieve pressure on the system, according to an in-depth report published Thursday by the International Energy Agency.

It also provides a medium-term strategy that makes the best use of the country’s abundant oil and natural gas resources and solar potential.

Despite the extraordinary challenges of war in recent years, Iraq has made impressive gains, nearly doubling the country’s oil production over the past decade. But the turmoil has also undermined the country’s ability to maintain and invest in its power infrastructure.

The new IEA report, Iraq’s Energy Sector: A Roadmap to a Brighter Future, maps out immediate practical actions and medium-term measures to tackle the most pressing problems in Iraq’s electricity sector.

The analysis finds Iraq has huge potential to cut its electricity network losses, which are among the highest in the world. Reducing these losses by half would help dramatically improve the efficiency of grid supply, effectively increasing available capacity by one-third.

The report also takes a detailed look at the country’s oil and gas sector. It projects that Iraq’s oil production will grow by 1.3 million barrels a day by 2030, accounting for the third-largest increase globally over the period, and soon becoming the world’s fourth-largest oil producer behind the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The report also notes that more gas can be captured and put to use in efficient power plants. Today, 16 billion cubic meters of gas are flared each year, more than enough to replace Iraq’s current imports.

Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director met, with Iraqi President Barham Salih on Wednesday in Baghdad, and presented the study’s findings and recommendations. He then met with Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to discuss ways forward for the electricity sector, including making best use of Iraq’s significant natural gas and solar resources.

On Thursday, Dr Birol will discuss the report at a press conference with Thamir Ghadhban, the Deputy Prime Minister for Energy and Minister of Oil, and Luay Al-Khatteeb, the Minister of Electricity.

The IEA has worked closely with the Iraqi Ministries of Oil and Electricity to produce the report, and would like to thank the ministers and their staff for their cooperation with this study.

“Operating under extremely challenging circumstances, Iraq has done a remarkable job expanding its oil industry,” said Dr Birol. “Today’s urgent issue is to address the national power sector as the summer heatwave approaches by improving grid maintenance, boosting electricity production with larger mobile generators, and incentivising upgrades of power plants. The IEA is pleased to recommend immediate practical actions for the benefit of the entire Iraqi people, and provide a roadmap for a sustainable power system in the medium term.”

Iraq’s electricity demand is set to double between now and 2030, and its shortfall in electricity supply will widen, as the country’s population grows by more than 1 million people each year.

Without changes to the current structure of electricity supply and improvements to the network, domestic generation, imports and neighbourhood generation would need to double by 2030, for a total supply of over 250 TWh. However, there are many opportunities to improve on this outcome through measures such as investing in transmission and distribution to cut network losses.

Promoting the more efficient use of electricity, including by introducing more progressive tariffs, would play an important role in ensuring that the growth in demand during the summer peak does not continue to outpace supply.

Iraq also needs to take advantage of its abundant renewable energy potential.  The analysis shows that expanding the share of solar PV and wind to 30% of electricity supply by 2030 would bring benefits both to the Iraqi consumer, in the form of reduced electricity bills, and to the environment.

Reducing network losses and moving towards an electricity mix where renewables play a more prominent role would free up 9 billion cubic meters of gas for other uses in 2030, plus 450 kb/d of oil for export.

“In addition to oil, Iraq is blessed with some of the richest solar and gas resources in the world but it is yet to take advantage of them,” Dr Birol said. “Turning that potential into fuel for its own economy and for export would help bring about a more sustainable, reliable and affordable energy future.”

The report is the second in-depth study of Iraq’s energy sector following the publication of the Iraq Energy Outlook in 2012.

Download the report here.

(Source: IEA)

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hasd advised all U.S. citizens of heightened tensions in Iraq and the requirement to remain vigilant.

Actions to Take:

  • Do not travel to Iraq
  • Avoid places known as U.S. citizen gathering points.
  • Keep a low profile
  • Be aware of your surroundings

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad
Telephone (during business hours)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3000;

From the United States:  301-985-8841
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone (ask for the duty officer)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3000;

From the United States:  301-985-8841

E-mail: BaghdadACS@state.gov
Website: https://iq.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa Erbil, Iraq
Telephone (during business hours)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3227;

From the United States:  240-264-3467 extension 4554
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone (ask for the duty officer)

From Iraq:  066-211-4554;

From the United States:  240-264-3467

E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov
Website: https://iq.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/erbil/

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

(Source: US Embassy)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 9th May 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD596 (+1.8%) / $642 (+1.8%) (weekly change) (-9.6% and -9.6% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD4.0 bn ($3.3 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Ready-Made Clothes (IRMC) invited its shareholders to receive their cash dividend (5% cash dividend, IQD0.05 dividend per share) starting May. 12, 2019.
  • According to the Board of Insurance, Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance (NGIR) will resume trading on May. 12, 2019 due to the company’s commitment to the Board of Insurance’s letter.
  • Al-Mansour Bank (BMNS) invited its shareholders to receive their cash dividend (7% cash dividend, IQD0.07 dividend per share) starting May. 8, 2019.
  • Al-Khazer for Construction Materials (IKHC) resumed trading on May. 6, 2019 due to disclosing 2018 annual financial results.
  • Kurdistan International Islamic Bank (BKUI) resumed trading on May. 5, 2019 after electing 4 original and 7 alternative board members.