By John Lee.

ExxonMobil‘s giant oil project in southern Iraq is reportedly on hold.

According to Reuters, a combination of contractual difficulties and security concerns is delaying agreement on the $53-billion Southern Iraq Integrated Project, which includes the construction of a water treatment plant needed to boost oil production. The deal would have seen Exxon get the rights to develope the Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi oilfields.

Last month, Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadban criticised ExxonMobil‘s decision to temporarily evacuate staff from the West Qurna oil field following an attack in the area.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

A rocket has hit a residential and oil operations headquarters near Basra city, wounding three workers at an Iraqi drilling company.

The short-range Katyusha missile hit a compound in Burjesia which is used by several international oil companies (IOCs), including ExxonMobil.

Oil production and exports are not expected to be affected.

(Sources: The Guardian, Bloomberg, Xinhua)

By John Lee.

Production at the West Qurna 1 oilfield has reportedly reached 465,000 barrels per day (bpd), following the completion of new crude processing facilities and oil storage tanks.

Officials told Reuters on Monday that the field was previously producing about 440,000 bpd.

Exxon‘s foreign staff were present at a ceremony to launch the new facilities, having returned to the oilfield on 2nd June.

(Source: Reuters)

By Hamdi Malik for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

ExxonMobil evacuated dozens of its non-Iraqi employees from Iraq on May 18. The evacuation follows a US State Department decision to withdraw its non-essential staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The US oil company relocated its employees to Dubai, where they will continue their work related to the West Qurna-1 oil field in Basra. The company announced May 31 that it will begin returning its employees from June 2 after the Iraqi government promised to increase the security measures in the site.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

According to a report from Reuters, employees from Exxon Mobil will start returning to work at the West Qurna 1 oilfield on Sunday.

Sources told the news agency that the company had received assurances from the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the Basra Oil Company (BOC) that its staff would receive extra security.

Earlier in the month, the company evacuated about 30 foreign engineers from Basra as a “temporary precautionary measure”.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Oil production is to increase at the West Qurna 1 oilfield, according to Reuters.

The news agency quoted Basra Oil Company (BOC) chief Ihsan Abdul Jabbar as saying on Wednesday that output will rise from 440,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) to 490,000 bpd in the “next few days”.

The field is being developed by ExxonMobil (25%), PetroChina (25%), Itochu (15%), Pertamina (10%), Iraq’s state-owned Oil Exploration Company (25%)

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

At its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet received a briefing on negotiations led by Iraq’s Ministry of Oil with ExxonMobil and PetroChina on the Southern Iraq Integrated Project.

In a statement, the government describes the project as “a mega energy and infrastructure scheme consisting of building oil pipelines, storage facilities and a seawater supply project to inject water from the Gulf into reservoirs to increase oil production and Iraq’s export capacity.”

According to Reuters, Iraq is close to signing the $53-billion, 30-year agreement, from which it expects to make $400 billion over the life of the project.

It quotes the Prime Minister as saying that it will involve increasing production at the Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi oilfields from around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) now to 500,000 bpd.

(Sources: Iraqi Cabinet, Reuters)

By John Lee.

Wood Group has said that it is seeing strong growth in the Middle East due to “increased activity in Iraq with Exxon and Basra Gas [Company (BGC)]“.

In its full year results for the year ended 31 December 2018, the UK-based energy services company said it sees “opportunities in Middle East driven by Iraq“.

In addition to trading as Wood Group, the company is also sole owner of Iraqi subsidiaries Ghabet El Iraq for General Contracting and Engineering Services, Engineering Consultancy (LLC) and Touchstone General Contracting, Engineering Consultancy and Project Management LLC.

(Source: Wood Group)

By John Lee.

ExxonMobil Iraq Limited has awarded Schlumberger a 42-month IDS contract for 30 wells in the West Qurna Field.

The contract includes the provision of drilling rigs and multiple technologies and services, and the first well was spud in July.

The announcement was made in the company’s Third-Quarter 2018 Results on Friday.

(Source: Schlumberger)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced plans for its first dividend distribution to shareholders in 13 years following release of strong half-year 2018 results, including revenues of USD 289 million which were up 83 percent from the same period last year. The Company also reported a net profit of USD 61 million and free cash flow of USD 142 million during the first half of the year.

“With growing production and robust and reliable revenues, the dividend announcement underscores confidence in our strong growth prospects,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (pictured). “Kurdistan is back and so is DNO,” he added.

The Company continues to ramp up activity in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where fast track development of the Peshkabir field is expected to boost output by another 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to 50,000 bopd by yearend.

The Company, the most active driller in Kurdistan, has three rigs operating across its licenses with a fourth to be added next month.

Two rigs will be active at the flagship Tawke field to reverse natural field decline through workovers and the drilling of two wells in the main Cretaceous reservoir and two wells in the shallow Jeribe reservoir.

Operations will commence at the Baeshiqa license with another rig to be mobilized to spud the first well in September as part of a back-to-back, three-well exploration program. DNO acquired a 32 percent interest in and operatorship of the Baeshiqa license last year, joining ExxonMobil (32 percent), the Turkish Energy Company (16 percent) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (20 percent).

At Peshkabir, the fourth rig will spud Peshkabir-8 in 10 days followed by Peshkabir-9 in October. Early production and successful appraisal have raised previous field proven (1P) and proven and probable (2P) reserves. Two newly completed wells, Peshkabir-6 and Peshkabir-7, will commence testing by the end of this month before being placed on production. Peshkabir-6 is key to unlocking further Cretaceous and Triassic reserves.

“Peshkabir is proving prolific in production and has generated over USD 300 million in gross revenue since startup last year or three times the investment,” said Mr. Mossavar-Rahmani.

Elsewhere, DNO recently completed the sale of its Tunisia assets and relinquished Block SL18 in Somaliland as part of the Company’s ongoing rationalization of its portfolio through divestment of non-core assets and focus on expanding operations in Kurdistan and Norway.

Offshore Norway, the Company recently added six new exploration licenses for a total of 21 licenses and plans to participate in one exploration well in the fall, followed by at least five wells next year.

DNO retains indirect interests in North Sea assets through its 28.23 percent strategic stake in Faroe Petroleum plc and, given the size of its shareholding, will request seats on the board and has asked for an extraordinary general meeting to be called for this purpose.

DNO exited the second quarter with a cash balance of USD 584 million in addition to USD 288 million in marketable securities and treasury shares. The Company’s outstanding bond debt stands at USD 600 million.

The planned annual dividend distribution of NOK 434 million (USD 50 million equivalent), payable in two tranches, is subject to shareholder approval. To facilitate the distribution of the planned dividend, the DNO Board of Directors will convene an extraordinary general meeting on 13 September 2018 (i) to seek approval for payment of a dividend of NOK 0.2 per share in H2 2018 to be distributed to shareholders of record on 13 September 2018 (as registered in the VPS on 17 September 2018), and (ii) to seek authorization to approve an additional dividend payment of NOK 0.2 per share in H1 2019.

(Source: DNO)