DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced a 30 percent or USD 300 million reduction in its 2020 budget to shore up its balance sheet in the face of unprecedented market convulsions and plunging oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Steps have already been taken to suspend most discretionary drilling and capital projects across the Company’s portfolio and to focus instead on key projects in its core operating area in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The Company has also initiated staff reductions, cancelled the first half 2020 dividend, discussed modalities for cost reductions with its suppliers and contractors and frozen new ventures.

“We demonstrated our resilience and nimbleness during the regional geopolitical pandemonium triggered by ISIS some five years ago and can ramp up operations quickly once the coronavirus is put back in the bottle,” said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO’s Executive Chairman.

Meanwhile, among the Company’s priorities is completion of testing of the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well in Kurdistan starting late March. The Company previously reported that the well flowed light oil and sour gas to surface and that testing of remaining reservoirs would resume following a well workover program, now completed, to assess commerciality.

DNO also remains committed to complete its USD 100 million Peshkabir-to-Tawke gas capture, transport and reinjection project in Kurdistan to reduce CO2 emissions at the Peshkabir field and boost oil recovery at the Tawke field. Gas reinjection will commence in early April.

But the Company’s exploration, appraisal and development drilling campaign, historically the most active among the international oil companies in Kurdistan, has been scaled back, as both DNO and contractor staff movements and rotations have been impacted by border closings, quarantines and other coronavirus travel restrictions.

By the end of March, the number of active drilling rigs deployed by DNO in Kurdistan will drop to two (including one workover rig) from six (two workover rigs) at the beginning of the year. Production at the Tawke and Peshkabir fields has already started to slide to below 115,000 barrels of oil per day.

DNO’s ability to maintain its level of spending has also been strained by interruptions and delays to monthly payments for its oil exports from Kurdistan; the last payment received in January covered September 2019 exports.

“We have every confidence that payments will be forthcoming from Kurdistan, as they always have, but timing and regularity will drive our ability, and that of other companies, to plan and execute investments necessary to grow, even maintain, oil production,” Mr. Mossavar-Rahmani said.

The Company will suspend guidance, including on production, until it has more visibility on the course of the pandemic and the direct and indirect impact on DNO’s operations and financial position.

The Board of Directors, in light of oil market turmoil and uncertainty, has decided not to make use of the authorization granted at the 2019 Annual General Meeting to pay dividends for first half 2020 but remains committed to the program and at the next shareholder meeting will request authorization to resume dividend distributions once circumstances permit.

The Company today also released its 2019 Annual Report and Accounts and 2019 Annual Statement of Reserves and Resources.

DNO had a record year in 2019 with annual revenues of USD 971 million, up 17 percent from year earlier levels, Company Working Interest (CWI) production up 28 percent year-on-year to a record 104,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and the largest drilling program in the Company’s 48-year history. Notwithstanding strong underlying performance, 2019 results were impacted by non-recurring items as well as lower oil prices and increased exploration expenses resulting in operating profit of USD 76 million.

Yearend 2019 CWI proven and probable (2P) reserves stood at 345 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) down from 376 MMboe at yearend 2018 after adjusting for production during the year and technical revisions, offset partly by reserves added through the acquisition of Faroe Petroleum plc in 2019.  Proven (1P) reserves stood at 206 MMboe and proven, probable and possible (3P) reserves at 540 MMboe.

On a gross basis, at the Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, yearend 2019 2P reserves stood at 400 million barrels (MMbls) (502 MMbbls in 2018), of which 1P reserves represented 228 MMbbls. Gross 3P reserves stood at 641 MMbbls.

Broken down by field, Tawke field gross 2P reserves at the Tawke field stood at 284 MMbbls (376 MMbbls in 2018) after adjusting for 2019 production of 25 MMbbls and a downward technical revision of 67 MMbbls; of the total remaining 2P reserves, gross 1P reserves represented 176 MMbbls.  Gross 3P reserves at yearend 2019 stood at 421 MMbbls. At the Peshkabir field, gross 2P reserves stood at 116 MMbbls at yearend 2019 (126 MMbbls in 2018) of which gross 1P reserves represented 51 MMbbls.  Gross 3P reserves stood at 220 MMbbls.

Across its North Sea portfolio at yearend 2019 (87 licenses in Norway and 12 in the United Kingdom), on a CWI basis, DNO’s 2P reserves stood at 70 MMboe (1P reserves of 49 MMboe, 3P reserves of 102 MMboe and 2C resources of 149 MMboe).

The 2019 Annual Report and Accounts, the 2019 Country-by-Country Report  and the 2019 Annual Statement of Reserves and Resources are attached and also available on the Company’s website www.dno.no.

(Source: DNO)

A 29 MW gas-fuelled power plant supplied by the technology group Wärtsilä to the Umm Qasr Ports Authority Zone in Basra, Iraq, commenced commercial operations in February. The plant ensures availability of a reliable supply of electricity to the port’s operations, which had previously been subject to frequent power interruptions.

The Wärtsilä plant was ordered in October 2018 by Lebanon-based Butec, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider for the project. Butec was contracted by Prime Metro Power Holdings (PMPH), the company having a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the General Company for the Ports of Iraq, an Iraqi Ministry of Transport entity.

Wärtsilä delivered the plant on a fast-track basis, and the project was completed in an exceptionally short period of time, despite delays caused by the ongoing political situation in the country.

Guillaume Lucci, President and COO of PMPH, said:

We have been able to leverage the local natural gas resources to develop a first class, state-of-the-art power plant facility that adds a vital power generation infrastructure and services to the state of Iraq. The completion of this project in less than one year is a significant milestone in our strategy to quickly develop the needed power infrastructure.

“We are pleased to have worked with Wärtsilä on this project, and we are certain that the quality and performance of the engine will be an asset over the lifecycle of the plant.

Alexandre Eykerman, Energy Business Director, Middle East, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said:

“The fast-starting, flexible operation of the Wärtsilä engines was a decisive consideration in the award of this contract. The plant can run fewer engines when less power is demanded and start the additional engines only when and as needed. This provides a cost-effective, efficient, and highly reliable solution that will greatly enhance the port’s operations.”

The Umm Qasr plant operates on three Wärtsilä 34SG gas engines, which deliver reliable baseload power on a 24/7 basis. Wärtsilä has also signed a maintenance agreement, the scope of which includes field service, and engine maintenance planning based on remote monitoring and asset diagnostics. For this, the plant is already connected to the Wärtsilä Digital Expertise Centre located in Dubai.

In addition to providing cost predictability, the agreement ensures the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the plant’s operations. Wärtsilä will have technical advisors stationed on site for mutually agreed periods of time to supervise the plant’s performance.

This is the first phase of an overall power supply project that will be expanded to increase the availability of electricity throughout the region. It represents Wärtsilä’s first gas-fired power plant in Iraq.

(Source: Wärtsilä)

UNICEF partners with the Republic of Korea to provide water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable children in Iraq

Approximately 3 million children and young people across Iraq need humanitarian support as they try to recover from years of conflict and violence.

The Republic of Korea has partnered with UNICEF and contributed US$1 million to provide water and sanitation services to the most vulnerable children living in displacement camps in Anbar, Ninewa and Salah al Din-areas hardest hit by the violence.

Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq, said:

“An estimated 30 per cent of displaced children live in camps, where humanitarian needs are greatest. The contribution from the Republic of Korea will ensure we are able to continue providing critical services such as safe drinking water as well as maintaining sanitation facilities to promote hygiene and protect children from preventable diseases.”

In addition to the provision of safe drinking water for nearly 60,000 people in the displacement camps, the contribution from the Korea will support the following activities:

  • care and maintenance of the existing water systems including the network, taps, water tanks and water purification units;
  • care and maintenance for the sanitation facilities, including repair of latrines, showers, toilet pans, and septic tanks;
  • waste collection services;
  • dissemination of information, education, and communication materials on water conservation, safe purification and storage of water, and hygiene awareness sessions will take place to help maintain positive practices in the targeted population.

In 2019, the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Cluster (WASH) co-led by UNICEF and other non-governmental organizations reached over 1.8 million people with safe water in Ninewa, Salah al Din and Anbar.

(Source: UN)

COVID-19 preventive measures during mass gatherings discussed with religious leaders and health officials in Iraq

As millions are expected to visit Iraq in the coming month for religious events, WHO is working with religious leaders and health officials to discuss necessary preventive measures to improve planning for mass gathering events during visits to holy sites to protect visitors from possible coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

“So far, the measures taken by the Government of Iraq to limit the spread of COVID-19 comply with WHO recommendations. Other urgent preparations, however, are critically needed, such as designating proper isolation facilities,” said WHO Representative in Iraq Dr Adham Ismail.

“Iraq has conducted a risk assessment and health authorities are calling on clerics to support Iraq’s decision to avoid gatherings as much as possible to prevent the spread of this disease. WHO supports that position,” he added.

Iraq announced the first COVID-19 infection on 25 February 2020. This number has since increased to 26 cases on 3 March, all among nationals coming from Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Strict measures have been taken by religious authorities at Al-Kadhimain Holy Shrine to preserve the safety of workers and visitors alike. These measures include the use of personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, by all shrine workers, in addition to closing the site for sterilization,” said the Secretary-General of Kadhimain Holy Shrine Dr Haider Hussain Al-Shammari.

WHO is providing technical advice and recommendations on visits to holy sites to prevent the spread of disease, including COVID-19. This includes best methods for sterilizing surfaces and equipment, the use of thermal detection devices at entrances and checkpoints, and proper referral and isolation measures for suspected cases.

(Source: UN)

Hospitals and bridges: Major sites re-open in Ramadi highlighting city’s recovery

The Government of Iraq has re-opened two major infrastructure projects in Ramadi following their rehabilitation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The re-opening of Ramadi Maternity Hospital and the Palestine Bridge marks a significant moment for the recovery of the city after years of ISIL occupation.

Ramadi Maternity Hospital is a large, 260 bed, modern medical facility – one that will provide over 400,000 women in Anbar with specialized maternity services. As the only such facility in Anbar, the hospital will serve women from areas as far away as Heet, Haditha, Anah, Rawa and Al Qaim.

UNDP carried out major work at the hospital, including the rehabilitation of operating theatres, labour wards, water and electrical systems and doctor’s accommodation.

UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

“Today marks an important day for Ramadi. After many difficult years, this great city is back on its feet. Access to healthcare is one of the foundations of strong societies, and UNDP is proud to be working to improve health services across the areas that suffered under ISIL with the support of our generous donors.”

The rehabilitation of the hospital was funded through a significant contribution by the Federal Republic of Germany, through KfW Development Bank.

KfW Country Director, Dr. Anna-Christine Janke, said:

“On behalf of the German Government KfW Development Bank is proud to finance a host of projects in Iraq. Projects range from the rehabilitation of basic and critical infrastructure including hospitals, electricity, roads and bridges, to support for small and medium enterprises and assistance to livelihoods.”

The nearby Palestine Bridge also suffered extensive damage during the battle to dislodge ISIL, and several of its parts were either partially damaged or completely destroyed. As the largest bridge in Anbar, it spans over 500m and measures three lanes wide on each side. The complex rehabilitation of the bridge was undertaken by UNDP, beginning in 2018.

Adds Ms. Ali Ahmad:

“Bridges don’t just connect roads; they connect people and communities. This bridge serves as critical passageway for residents of Ramadi and an integral gateway to Greater Anbar. UNDP’s commitment to restoring these vital pieces of infrastructure is clear, with 11 bridges across Anbar now completed.”

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq, FFS helps quickly repair essential public infrastructure, boosts the capacity of local government, provides short-term employment opportunities and helps to build cohesive communities.

To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has completed more than 2,300 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa.

(Source: UNDP)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced the following investment opportunities:

(Source: National Investment Commission)

Kerlink, a French-based specialist in solutions dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the success of a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) pilot program for reservoir monitoring in Uganda and Iraq, which incorporates Kerlink’s LoRaWAN gateway technology.

The effectiveness of the sensor-to-cloud monitoring programs in remote locations is resulting in near-term expansion to eight additional installations in Africa and Asia, and officials see a multitude of potential applications for IoT-based wireless sensor networks going forward.

The UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, is charged with providing water to millions of people worldwide, often with daunting logistics. The Ugandan Arua Field effort, where the pilot monitoring program was first implemented, provides daily water deliveries to as many as 470,000 refugees.

The LoRaWAN-enabled sensors installed at reservoirs starting in January 2019 enabled managers to monitor water levels in real time, providing unprecedented visibility into usage and resource management. They also provided a reliable new source of coordinated payment information for some 630 rental tanker trucks that were hauling up to 6,387 cubic meters (about 1.5 million gallons) of water daily when the emergency response began in 2015.

Data from the sensors designed by several companies travelled through an outdoor Kerlink Wirnet™ Station LoRaWAN gateway, which provided essential connectivity with cloud databases and applications. UNHCR managers integrated the data into a dashboard that provided new levels of visibility into operations of this global program.

UNHCR Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer Ryan Schweitzer noted that the IoT made it both easy and cost-effective to roll out a static water-level monitoring system. The agency hopes to use it globally as a “basis-of-payment‟ system for water-trucking operations, which in Uganda are as high as $15 million per month. “The LoRaWAN IoT technology is mature, extremely cost effective and scalable. The static reservoir-monitoring technology works extremely well,” he said.

Schweitzer added that the approach has broad potential for all sectors of humanitarian services, including monitoring of groundwater, water-supply systems, water quality, waste collection, and air quality. He described it as a “possible game-changer for monitoring in refugee settings,” noting that the ability to document delivery of safe, potable water to refugees at all times is a “holy grail”-type of technology for UNHCR water and hygiene efforts.

Next steps include replication of the pilot systems at other locations in Uganda and Iraq, as well as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

“This unique and vital use case underscores the humanitarian benefits that the IoT can support,” said Stéphane Dejean, Kerlink’s chief marketing officer. “Because the UNHCR sensor-to-gateway-to-platform system provides critical life support for large numbers of people, there’s a very high need for trustworthiness and reliability.”

“At the same time, the projects’ remote location and minimal staffing also demanded a true carrier-grade solution with quick, easy integration and deployment, and secure and straightforward administration,” he said. “We’re gratified by our Wirnet Station’s performance under harsh conditions, and honored to work with UNHCR – their work reflects our values and commitments towards society and the environment, and we look forward to continuing to provide expertise on the next round of projects.”

Since its introduction in 2014 as the first commercial LoRaWAN gateway, the Wirnet Station has been chosen for thousands of installations worldwide by public operators, cable operators, private businesses, and public authorities. It has set new standards for robust, reliable, high-performance operation; an upgraded successor, the Wirnet iStation, was introduced in 2019.

(Source: Kerlink)

By John Lee.

An article for Port Strategy has questioned whether Iraq’s huge Al Faw port project is it really necessary, or is just a ‘rice bowl’ for a select few enabled by dysfunctional government?

It appears to be a text book case study in a government and civil society short on technical and commercial competence as well as oversight and “checks and balances” but inventive and “entrepreneurial” when it comes to kickbacks and corruption“, the report suggests.

Click here to read the full article.

(Source: Port Strategy)

UNESCO to begin work at Al-Tahera Church in Mosul

UNESCO will soon start reconstruction of the Syriac Catholic Al-Tahera Church in Mosul, Iraq, that was severely damaged in 2017. More than a church, Al Tahera is a symbol of the diversity that has been the story of Mosul for centuries.

An iconic symbol woven into the history of Mosul, Al-Tahera Church was built in 1859 and opened in 1862. The Church is located in the heart of the old city, formerly defined by the Ottoman city walls on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite ancient Nineveh. Its multiple altars, dining room and two sacristy rooms set it aside from other churches of the same period. It already underwent renovation about 100 years after its construction.

The reconstruction work is quite complex as large parts of its arcades were destroyed, as well as its external walls. In addition to the demolition of the remaining portions of its concrete roof, the early stages of work will require clearing rubble and removing landmines from the 650m2 site. Local contractors, under the supervision of skilled experts, are doing the work.

UNESCO is fostering reconciliation and social cohesion in Mosul through the restoration and reconstruction of emblematic historical sites as part of UNESCO’s led international initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”. The rehabilitation of this church is important not only because of its value as cultural heritage, but also as a testimony to the diversity of the city, a proud crossroads of cultures and a peaceful haven for different religious communities over the centuries.

Students in the departments of archaeology, architecture and engineering of the University of Mosul will benefit from taking part in the process of restoration of the landmark buildings.

This project is funded by the United Arab Emirates and beyond the rehabilitation of architectural landmarks, it includes:

  • On the-job training for young professionals
  • Strengthening the capacities of craftspeople (masons, carpenters, stone carvers, metalsmiths, etc.)
  • Job creation opportunities
  • Technical and vocational education

(Source: UNESCO)

Luna park and a multi-store  Parking Garage / Babil province

According to investment law no. 13 for the year 2006 as amended and its regulations, Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) is pleased to announce the investment opportunity of constructing a Luna park and a multi-store  Parking Garage on the land lot numbered 2/400 m 8 Alexandria- Babil Province (the total area of the land lot is 10 donum and 2 olks and 99 M ²) with adhering to the demarcated site on the sectoral design and the specified areas for the multi- store garage (7200 M² – 60 M * 120M) in addition to the area of the Luna park which ownership belongs to  the Alexandria Municipality.

Local and foreign companies willing to invest in this opportunity are invited to apply through filling in the Investment application form available on the NIC website: www.investpromo.gov.iq and provide all the documents mentioned in the application within (30) days from the date of publishing this announcement knowing that winning investor shall undertake the fees of local official  newspapers announcements.

For any further information please visit the NIC premises- Ones Stop Shop dept. located at Baghdad – IZ next to Avicenna Hospital) or send email to:  oss@investpromo.gov.iq

Required documents

  • application form (stamped and approved by the Administration dept. of the National Investment commission) with a buying receipt of the application form
  • Executive briefing
  • Economic feasibility study
  • Company establishment papers and its final records with a briefing of its work history (legal person)
  • Copies of ID and passport of the investors (natural person)
  • Copies of ID and passport of the company representative
  • A list of the similar works previously implemented by the company or the investor (4 maximum)

(Source: NIC)