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

New pipeline in works to transport Iraqi oil to Turkey

Ankara and Baghdad are working toward building a new oil pipeline with the capacity to transport one million barrels per day from Iraq’s Kirkuk fields to the Turkish border.

“The Iraqi government is now examining tenders for the new oil pipeline between Iraqi and Turkey, after having finished with the engineering and technical studies,” Iraqi Ministry of Oil spokesperson Assem Jihad told Al-Monitor recently.

He added that construction will probably get underway in 2020.

Click here to read the full story.

Report on Payments to Governments for 2018

This report sets out details of the payments made to governments by Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd and its subsidiary undertakings (“Gulf Keystone”) for the year ended 31 December 2018 as required under Disclosure and Transparency Rule 4.3A issued by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“DTR 4.3A”) and in accordance with The Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014 (as amended in 2015) (“the UK Regulations”) and our interpretation of the Industry Guidance on the UK Regulations issued by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.

DTR 4.3A requires companies listed on a stock exchange in the UK and operating in the extractive industry to publicly disclose payments to governments in the countries where they undertake exploration, prospection, discovery, development and extraction of oil and natural gas deposits or other materials.

This report is available to download on the Company’s website: http://www.gulfkeystone.com/investor-centre/presentations-and-reports.

Basis for preparation

Total payments below £86,000 made to a government are excluded from this report, as permitted under the UK Regulations.

All of the payments made in relation to the Shaikan Production Sharing Contract (“Shaikan PSC”) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been made to the Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (“KRG”).

Production entitlements

Production entitlements are the host government’s share of production during the reporting period from the Shaikan Field operated by Gulf Keystone. The figures reported have been produced on an entitlement basis, rather than on a liftings basis. Production entitlements are paid in-kind and the monetary value disclosed is derived from management’s calculation of estimated revenue.

Royalties 

Royalties represent royalties paid in-kind to governments during the year for the extraction of oil. The terms of the royalties are described within the Shaikan PSC. Royalties have been calculated on the same basis as production entitlements.

Taxes

Taxes include taxes levied on the income, production or profits of companies, excluding taxes levied on

consumption such as value added taxes, personal income taxes or sales taxes.

Bonuses

Bonuses include signature, discovery and production bonuses.

Licence fees

These include licence fees, rental fees, entry fees, capacity building payments, security fees and other considerations for licences or concessions.

Infrastructure improvement payments 

These include payments for infrastructure improvements, whether contractual or otherwise, such as roads, other than in circumstances where the road is expected to be primarily dedicated to operational activities throughout its useful life.

Summary of payments

KRG

Production entitlements in-kind (1) (mboe (3) )

3,877

Production entitlements in-kind (1) (2) ($ ‘000)

190,077

Royalties in-kind (1) (mboe (3) )

926

Royalties in-kind (1) (2) ($ ‘000)

45,419

Taxes in-kind (4) ($ ‘000)

2,838

Bonuses ($ ‘000)

16,000

Licence fees in-kind (5) ($ ‘000)

12,566

Infrastructure improvement payments ($)

430

Total (mboe (3) )

4,803

Total ($)

267,330

 

Notes

(1)   All of the crude oil produced by Gulf Keystone was sold by the KRG. All proceeds of sale were received by or on behalf of the KRG, out of which the KRG then made payment for cost oil and profit oil in accordance with the Shaikan PSC to Gulf Keystone, in exchange for the crude oil delivered to the KRG. Under these arrangements, payments were made by or on behalf of the KRG to Gulf Keystone, rather than by Gulf Keystone to the KRG. However, for the purposes of the reporting requirements under the UK Regulations, we are required to characterise the value of the KRG’s production entitlements under the Shaikan PSC (for which the KRG receives payment directly from the market) as a payment to the KRG.

(2)   The realised prices for crude oil sales remain subject to audit and reconciliation.

(3)   Barrels of oil.

(4)   Per the Crude Oil Sales Agreement (dated 10 January 2018), road tax is payable on export sales of Shaikan crude oil transported by road from 15 November 2017 until 31 December 2018 at $7/ton. The road tax was paid in kind, as the value of the road tax was deducted in calculating the value of production entitlements payable by the KRG to Gulf Keystone.

(5)   No cash payments were made by Gulf Keystone to the KRG. Instead, the value of these fees has been accrued and will be settled with the KRG upon finalisation of the second PSC amendment.

(Source: GKP)

Report on Payments to Governments for 2018

This report sets out details of the payments made to governments by Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd and its subsidiary undertakings (“Gulf Keystone”) for the year ended 31 December 2018 as required under Disclosure and Transparency Rule 4.3A issued by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“DTR 4.3A”) and in accordance with The Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014 (as amended in 2015) (“the UK Regulations”) and our interpretation of the Industry Guidance on the UK Regulations issued by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.

DTR 4.3A requires companies listed on a stock exchange in the UK and operating in the extractive industry to publicly disclose payments to governments in the countries where they undertake exploration, prospection, discovery, development and extraction of oil and natural gas deposits or other materials.

This report is available to download on the Company’s website: http://www.gulfkeystone.com/investor-centre/presentations-and-reports.

Basis for preparation

Total payments below £86,000 made to a government are excluded from this report, as permitted under the UK Regulations.

All of the payments made in relation to the Shaikan Production Sharing Contract (“Shaikan PSC”) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been made to the Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (“KRG”).

Production entitlements

Production entitlements are the host government’s share of production during the reporting period from the Shaikan Field operated by Gulf Keystone. The figures reported have been produced on an entitlement basis, rather than on a liftings basis. Production entitlements are paid in-kind and the monetary value disclosed is derived from management’s calculation of estimated revenue.

Royalties 

Royalties represent royalties paid in-kind to governments during the year for the extraction of oil. The terms of the royalties are described within the Shaikan PSC. Royalties have been calculated on the same basis as production entitlements.

Taxes

Taxes include taxes levied on the income, production or profits of companies, excluding taxes levied on

consumption such as value added taxes, personal income taxes or sales taxes.

Bonuses

Bonuses include signature, discovery and production bonuses.

Licence fees

These include licence fees, rental fees, entry fees, capacity building payments, security fees and other considerations for licences or concessions.

Infrastructure improvement payments 

These include payments for infrastructure improvements, whether contractual or otherwise, such as roads, other than in circumstances where the road is expected to be primarily dedicated to operational activities throughout its useful life.

Summary of payments

KRG

Production entitlements in-kind (1) (mboe (3) )

3,877

Production entitlements in-kind (1) (2) ($ ‘000)

190,077

Royalties in-kind (1) (mboe (3) )

926

Royalties in-kind (1) (2) ($ ‘000)

45,419

Taxes in-kind (4) ($ ‘000)

2,838

Bonuses ($ ‘000)

16,000

Licence fees in-kind (5) ($ ‘000)

12,566

Infrastructure improvement payments ($)

430

Total (mboe (3) )

4,803

Total ($)

267,330

 

Notes

(1)   All of the crude oil produced by Gulf Keystone was sold by the KRG. All proceeds of sale were received by or on behalf of the KRG, out of which the KRG then made payment for cost oil and profit oil in accordance with the Shaikan PSC to Gulf Keystone, in exchange for the crude oil delivered to the KRG. Under these arrangements, payments were made by or on behalf of the KRG to Gulf Keystone, rather than by Gulf Keystone to the KRG. However, for the purposes of the reporting requirements under the UK Regulations, we are required to characterise the value of the KRG’s production entitlements under the Shaikan PSC (for which the KRG receives payment directly from the market) as a payment to the KRG.

(2)   The realised prices for crude oil sales remain subject to audit and reconciliation.

(3)   Barrels of oil.

(4)   Per the Crude Oil Sales Agreement (dated 10 January 2018), road tax is payable on export sales of Shaikan crude oil transported by road from 15 November 2017 until 31 December 2018 at $7/ton. The road tax was paid in kind, as the value of the road tax was deducted in calculating the value of production entitlements payable by the KRG to Gulf Keystone.

(5)   No cash payments were made by Gulf Keystone to the KRG. Instead, the value of these fees has been accrued and will be settled with the KRG upon finalisation of the second PSC amendment.

(Source: GKP)

By John Lee.

Iraqi oil minister Thamir Ghadhban has reportedly said he plans to offer a new Basrah Super Light grade, with up to 38 API gravity, in the next few years.

According to S&P Global Platts, he added that this would depend on the development of the country’s southern fields.

A Basrah Medium grade, with an API gravity of 29-30 and 2 percent sulfur, is dependent on refurbishments to Iraq’s southern export and storage terminals.

Iraq currently ships Basrah Light and Basrah Heavy, which it introduced in mid-2015.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister Muayad Salih has said that he expects Russian companies to increase their investment in Iraq.

Tass quotes him as saying that a Russian company is starting to develop of fields in the area of the Ramadi city, adding:

“Hopefully investments there will top $45 billion by 2030.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Legal Department at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Mr. Luqman Al-Faily, met with the Russian ambassador to Baghdad Mr. Maxim Maksimov, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad.

During the meeting, they discussed procedures for the mutual exemption of entry visas between the two countries for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports.

(Sources: Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Tass)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) has signed a contract with the Dhi Qar Oil Company to drill 20 wells at Nasiriyah oil field.

Fayyad Hassan Nehmeh, Undersecretary for Extraction Affairs, said the new wells will increase the field’s oil production by 40,000 bpd, in addition to the investment of gas associated with rates up to 20 million standard cubic feet of gas to be used as fuel for power plants.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), a leading independent operator and producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (“Kurdistan” or “Kurdistan Region”), has announced its results for the half year ended 30 June 2019.

Highlights to 30 June 2019 and post reporting period

Operational

  • Average production during August was 39,269 bopd, reflecting the positive results from the workover campaign and facilities debottlenecking at PF-1; gross production this month up to 8 September averaged 39,921 bopd.
  • Gross production for the first half of 2019 averaged 29,362 bopd.  Average production rates during H1 of 2019 were necessarily affected by wells being off-line for workovers and well maintenance, in addition to the planned shutdown of PF-1 to install facilities as part of the 55,000 bopd expansion project.
  • The first well of the drilling campaign, SH-12, successfully reached total depth (“TD”) of 2,112 metres on 23 August.  Well results were encouraging with the structure coming in 53 metres higher than prognosis.  The well is currently being completed and is expected to be on production later in October.
  • Following completion of SH-12, the rig will move to the second well of the campaign, SH-9.  This well is designed to assess the gas reinjection potential of the Jurassic formation; part of the longer-term gas management plan for the Shaikan development.
  • The workover campaign to install electrical submersible pumps (“ESPs”) in existing wells has been moved into 2020 to coincide with the availability of new permanent facilities being installed as part of the 55,000 bopd expansion programme.  These facilities will allow the wells to be cleaned-up more effectively when the ESPs are installed.
  • The PF-1 pipeline and export station are nearing completion and will be in full operation following commissioning at which point all Shaikan oil will be exported via pipe.
  • A revised Field Development Plan (“FDP”), which addressed additional feedback on gas management, was submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) in May 2019.  We await formal feedback from the MNR and look forward to a constructive dialogue to finalise the FDP as soon as possible. As we have stated in the past, this delay is not slowing operations and progress on the 55,000 bopd work programme.
  • Operations at Shaikan remain safe and secure, with no Lost Time Incidents (“LTI”) in over 400 days.

Financial

  • Revenue of $95.6 million (H1 2018: $116.2 million).
  • EBITDA of $59.0 million (H1 2018: $61.6 million).
  • Profit after tax of $24.2 million (H1 2018: $26.7 million).
  • Growth in activity required to bring production to 55,000 bopd led to an increase in cash operating costs and cash operating costs per barrel in line with previous guidance to $18.4 million (H1 2018: $14.1million) and $3.9/bbl (H1 2018: $3.0/bbl) respectively.
  • Net capital investment in Shaikan of $32.4 million (H1 2018: $6.9 million). Full year capital investment guidance stands at $88-104 million net ($110-130 million gross).
  • Cash balance of $302.7 million at 30 June 2019 and $263.6 million at 9 September 2019.

Corporate

  • A $50 million dividend was approved at the June AGM. The first tranche of c.$17 million was paid in July 2019, with the second tranche of c.$33 million to be paid on 4 October 2019.
  • A $25 million share buyback programme was announced in July. The Company is pleased to confirm that the first tranche of $15 million was completed on 30 August.
  • Today, the Company is resuming its buyback programme for the remaining $10 million.
  • Following completion of the above, the Company will have returned $75 million to its shareholders in 2019.

Outlook

  • Active work programme to continue with the ongoing Jurassic drilling campaign, ESP workovers and completion of the debottlenecking plan with the Company remaining on track to deliver 55,000 bopd in Q2 2020.
  • Total capital expenditure of $200-230 million gross for the 55,000 bopd expansion programme remains in line with earlier guidance.
  • Gross production guidance for 2019 is now expected to be between 30,000-33,000 bopd, compared to previous guidance of 32,000-38,000 bopd.  This new guidance considers the delayed start to the drilling campaign, the postponement of the ESP workover campaign and the planned shutdown of PF-2 in October.

Jón Ferrier, Gulf Keystone’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

The first half of 2019 saw high levels of operational activity as we continue to develop Shaikan targeting a significant, phased, production uplift.  Despite some operational delays, we have made considerable headway towards our 55,000 bopd production target.

“Activity has further increased during H2 2019 as we remain on track to achieve this milestone in the first half of 2020.  As a consequence of the work to increase production in the longer term, the near-term production guidance for the full year has been reduced.  However, the Shaikan reservoir, the cornerstone of our equity story, continues to behave strongly.

“The Company has a robust balance sheet which supports operational funding requirements and expansion plans in addition to returning funds to shareholders.  The Company is therefore well positioned to deliver on its growth objectives for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Full statement here.

(Source: Gulf Keystone Petroleum)

Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Badra has begun shipping granulated sulphur from its Badra oilfield in Iraq — the unique gas infrastructure installed by the enterprise here having made it possible not just to diversify production, but also increase associated petroleum gas (APG) utilisation to 98 percent.

The pilot consignment, delivered by order of Iraqi client “Ard as-Sakhlya”, totalled 1,000 tonnes and was shipped from the field with the help of 40,000-tonne-capacity heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) over the course of one week. Gazpromneft-Badra is now preparing to ship its next consignment, of more than 3,000 tonnes of granulated sulphur, for another business in Iraq.

Gazpromneft-Badra has managed commercial production at this asset for a period of five years, during which time total cumulative production has reached 100 million barrels. The business has produced more than 2,1 million tonnes (15.6 million barrels) of liquid hydrocarbons since early 2019. Shipments of granulated sulphur from Badra commenced this year.

Production is undertaken through sulphur production and granulation plants with capacity of 110,000 and 136,000 tonnes per year, respectively, both of which form part of the 1.6-billion cubic metres per year capacity gas plant at the Badra field.

The technological process of producing granulated-sulphur production is automated throughout all key stages, from intake of raw materials to packaging of finished products. Gazpromneft-Badra has, already, produced more than 72,000 tonnes of sulphur (now in storage), which is expected to be shipped to Iraqi customers as orders are received.

Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO of Gazprom Neft, commented:

We have, in Badra, created a modern industrial complex, unique in the variety of its output, producing not only oil and gas, but also granulated sulphur and electricity.

“Cutting-edge technological solutions have allowed us to monetise all hydrocarbons produced, as well as ensuring optimum environmental friendliness on this project, increasing APG utilisation to more than 98 percent.”

(Source: Gazprom Neft)

By John Lee.

Oil minister Thamer al-Ghadhban (pictured) has said Iraq will reduce oil production from October, in the hope of achieving stability in the world oil market.

He added that talks with Iraqi Kurdistan on coordinating the export of oil from the two regions were in “advanced stages“.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

By John Lee.

Basra Oil Company (BOC) has signed two contracts for new drilling at the giant Majnoon oil field.

China’s Hilong Oil Service & Engineering Company is to drill 80 oil wells at a cost of $54 million, while the Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) will drill 43 oil wells at a cost of $255 million.

Oil Minister Thamir al-Ghadhban said the contracts are part of BOC’s plan to increase the production at Majnoon to 400,000 barrels per day by 2022.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Oil)