By John Lee.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction has reportedly won a $2.45-billion deal to build a seawater processing facility in Iraq.

South Korean media report that the company signed a letter of intent with Basra Oil Company (BOC) on Wednesday for the 49-month project, which will be capable of supplying 5 million barrels of fresh water per day.

This will help to increase output at Iraq’s oil fields.

(Sources: Yonhap, Korea Herald)

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)

The Rumaila oilfield produced 1.467 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 – the oilfield’s highest annual rate of production for 30 years. 2018 also saw the milestone of four billion barrels of oil produced since the Rumaila Operating Organisation [ROO] began operating in June 2010.

The results were reported in the 2018 Rumaila Annual Report, submitted by the Basra Oil Company (BOC) to the Iraq Ministry of Oil.

In accordance with BOC’s objectives, Rumaila continued its journey to becoming a more advanced oilfield in 2018. New infrastructure played an important part in the year’s success, with three major projects completed that help Rumaila’s capacity to produce its current high production rates, as well as contribute to securing the field’s long-term future.

The new Rumaila Power Plant began operating, providing 150,000kW of electricity to the Iraq National Grid and supporting Rumaila facilities; three new dehydrator and desalter production trains were commissioned – increasing production capacity by 124,000 bpd; and two degassing facilities installed new large-scale ‘free water knock out’ vessels that ensure oil quality remains high by stripping water from the hydrocarbons.

The introduction of new technologies continues to play a vital role in the field’s advancement. In 2018, this included: the further expansion of the ‘digital oilfield’ (with 2,000 digital sensors now providing instant data from wells, facilities and manifolds to guide production performance), the completion of a field-wide TETRA radio communications infrastructure, and new data analytics tools and frameworks that visualize, interpret and reveal meaningful insights to improve day to day working.

Underpinning the 2018 results has been the ongoing programme to drill new wells, optimize existing wells, and the injection of industrial-use water to restore pressure to reservoirs in the north of the field. Thanks to the water injection programme and its supporting operations, Rumaila has been able to produce oil from historically harder to access reservoirs: in 2018, the oil produced from the Mishrif reservoir was more than triple the amount of oil extracted from that reservoir in 2010 and generating results never previously achieved at the oilfield.

The 2018 Annual Report also highlighted:

  • 59 Iraqi contracted companies won 85 contracts worth $650 million
  • 220,181 training hours were delivered to Iraqi staff
  • 31 new wells were drilled
  • 23.5km2 of land was cleared of unexploded ordnance
  • 206,675m2 of land was remediated
  • $5 million spent on supporting Iraq’s oil and gas industry via the Rumaila Education Fund

Rumaila General Manager, Hussein Abdul-Kadhim Hussein, commented:

“2018 was a remarkable 12 months in the 70-year history of this oilfield, as well as another exceptional year for the Rumaila Operating Organisation. The partnership goes from strength to strength: our success derives from the way BOC, BP and PetroChina continues to operate as one integrated team.”

BOC Director General, Ihsan Ismael, said:

“On behalf of BOC, I’d like to thank every single BOC staff member who has ensured that Rumaila continues to deliver successful oil production for Iraq, as well as pay tribute to the support of our partners, BP and PetroChina.”

ROO Deputy General Manager, Julian O’Connell, said:

“Rumaila is in service to Iraq. Our objective is to provide oil to support Iraq today, as well as create a legacy for the future. Our strategy and programme for field rejuvenation and training Iraqi personnel is helping us to achieve these twin goals and to overcome the multitude of challenges Rumaila faces.”

Rumaila Special Deputy General Manager, Fan Jianping, added:

“We are very pleased to report another successful year at Rumaila. Equally important is the fact that we have achieved this within a safe working environment. We of course want to increase production, but we also want Rumaila to be the pride of Iraq, which can only be achieved by having safety as the number one priority.”

(Source: Rumaila Operating Organisation)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed four new members, bringing its membership to 71 companies:

Crescent Petroleum: Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum is the only foreign oil and gas company to maintain a continuous presence in Iraq for three decades, and is the largest private oil and gas investor in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Sardar Trading Agencies (STA): One of the core companies of Sardar Group, with more than 50 years of experience in the Iraqi private business field, mainly in the automotive segment.

Stirling Education: The Luxembourg-based company is committed to providing excellent affordable education and pastoral care for students in Iraq. Across Iraq, they have around 17,000 students, 42 schools and two university campuses.

Tube Tech International: UK-based Tube Tech is a world leader in the removal of fouling from refinery, petrochemical and energy process assets.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadban has criticised ExxonMobil‘s decision to temporarily evacuate staff from the West Qurna oil field as “unacceptable and unjustified”.

In a statement on Sunday, he said the move was “political“, and pointed out that other international oil companies are continuing to work freely.

According to CNN, the company evacuated about 30 foreign engineers from Basra as a “temporary precautionary measure“.

(Sources: Ministry of Oil, CNN)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban (pictured) has reportedly said on Thursday that Iraq has contingency plans in place to cope with any stoppage of Iranian gas imports.

His comments come as the US increases sanctions pressure on Iran.

According to Reuters, Ghadhban added that he hopes no such disruption will take place.

(Source: Reuters)

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)

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)

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)

TTE Technical Institute has secured a new project with international energy and water company TAQA to provide technical training to Middle East based technicians.

A group of 13 technicians from TAQA’s Atrush Block oil production facility in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are spending three months in the UK at TTE’s fully-equipped training centre in Middlesbrough to develop practical engineering competencies to achieve internationally-recognised qualifications.

The project is also supporting TAQA’s development of women technicians in the Kurdistan region with one member of the group a female process technician.

Within the group are three technicians working towards Level Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) Level 2 in mechanical engineering and three technicians aiming to achieve the PEO Electrical & Instrumentation Level 2 standard.

The seven remaining technicians are working towards the Process Industry Operations Level 2 qualification. Once completed, all of the qualifications allow for continual development to achieve Level 3.

Working with TTE’s internationally-experienced trainers, the technicians will utilise the training centre’s industry-standard facilities and equipment undertaking a programme of practical, hands-on modules and assessments.

TTE has an established reputation for providing on-site skills and competency assessments for international companies such as TAQA, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi operating in 11 countries across four continents.

This is one of the first significant contracts TTE has secured since it became a Technical Institute earlier this year.  Marking its 30th year in operation, becoming TTE Technical Institute supports its strategy to increase the export of its services to international markets.

Technical Institutes are globally-acknowledged as centres of vocational training, providing learners with skills, competencies and qualifications to enter or advance a career in industry, which is in keeping with TTE’s existing, comprehensive provision.

Contracts such as this also support the training of young people in the North East of England. As a charitable, not-for-profit social enterprise, TTE gift-aids the surplus revenues generated from its commercial training to support the funding of training for apprentices and young learners from schools and colleges in the North East.

Steve Grant, Managing Director of the TTE Technical Institute, said: “We are very proud to establish this new relationship with such a globally-recognised company as TAQA to support the development of its workforce.  This is the another group we have welcomed to TTE from Kurdistan, further extending the reach of the organisation into international markets.

“Exporting our expertise to areas of the world such as West Africa, the Middle East and Asia plays an important role in the training of young people in the North East through the gift-aiding of commercial surpluses into our charity. Increasing our presence in key international markets and securing important projects with companies such as TAQA will generate more opportunities for local young people.”

(Source: TTE)