By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has agreed that it will update and fully implement legislation on intellectual property, protecting the Kurdistan Region’s entrepreneurs, academics and businesses from infringement.

A legal committee will also be established to review new draft legislation for approval in this session of the Kurdistan Parliament.

(Source: KRG)

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.

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)

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.

Genel Energy has confirmed that Chevron Sarta, as operator of the Sarta field (Genel 30% working interest), has signed a contract with Dubai-based OILSERV for the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of a 20,000 bopd central processing facility (‘CPF’).

OILSERV has been contracted for the facility through a lease agreement. The commissioning of the CPF and production start-up remains on track for the middle of 2020.

Phase 1A of the development represents a low-cost pilot development of the Mus-Adaiyah reservoirs, designed to recover 2P gross reserves of 34 MMbbls. Crude will be processed through the CPF and then transferred to a local facility for further distribution.

Subsequent expansion investment decisions will be based on production behaviour plus a subsequent two to three well appraisal/development campaign. Unrisked gross mid-case resources relating to the Jurassic Mus-Adaiyah reservoir alone are estimated by Genel at c.150 MMbbls, similar in size to the Peshkabir field.

(Source: Genel Energy)

Hackasuly, the largest international hackathon in Iraq, brings the coding community together over a weekend to work in teams and turn their ideas into technological solutions on September 5th – 7th.

This year, the organisers are accepting projects in three different and exciting tracks:

  • AI & Data Science
  • E-Society
  • Fintech

The goal is to help promote technology, generate more interest in the field, and encourage new innovations.

Venue: 
American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Agenda:

  • Opening Ceremony, Thursday, 5 September 2019 at 06:00 pm to 08:00pm.
    • Welcoming Speeches
    • The Development of Iraqi Tech Industry Panelmoderated by Alice Bosley, Executive Director at Five One Labs.
      • Speakers:
        • Qubad Talabani, The Deputy Prime Minister
        • Yad Rasheed, CEO at Avesta Group
        • Tarry Singh, CEO at Deepkapha.ai
        • TBA
      • Closing Ceremony, Saturday, 7 September 2019 at 7:00 pm to 9:00pm:
        • Projects Demo and Winners Announcement.

For more information, please visit: https://hackasuly.com

(Source: Hackasuly)

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

 Oil, budgets, Kirkuk still nag Baghdad-Erbil relations

Meetings last month between representatives of Iraq’s federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil failed to produce any clear resolutions of their ongoing differences.

A high-level delegation from the Baghdad government visited Erbil on July 25 for talks with the newly elected government there. Discussions focused on KRG oil exports, its share of the federal budget and control of disputed, oil-rich Kirkuk.

The Baghdad representatives included Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban and Finance Minister Fouad Hussein, national security adviser Faleh al-Fayadh and the director of the prime minister’s office, Mohammed al-Hashemi.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) has announced that the group’s oil and gas business delivered strong performance with an 11% increase in revenue, mainly driven by increased production volumes from its assets in Europe and Iraq.

In its financial results and operational highlights for the six-month period ending June 30, 2019, it said its overall capex also rose to AED 957 million in the first six months of 2019, a 15% increase when compared to the same period in 2018.

The increase in Oil and Gas capex was largely driven by the AED 116 million acquisition of an additional 7.5% working stake in the Atrush Block from Marathon Oil Kurdistan B.V. in May of this year. The acquired stake increases TAQA’s working interest in the project from 39.9% to 47.4%.

“Additional capex in Iraq was focussed towards bringing new wells on stream and the impact of debottlenecking work to increase the capacity of the current production facility. This has proven to be a worthwhile investment, with TAQA’s entitlement production increasing to 5,728 boe/d in H1 2019, a 149% improvement compared to the previous year.”

It added that this has proven to be a worthwhile investment, with TAQA’s entitlement production increasing to 5,728 boe/d in H1 2019, a 149% improvement compared to the previous year.

The average production by the oil and gas business for the first half of the year increased 3% to 124,760 boe/d, aided by strong well performance in Europe and Iraq.

Commenting on the positive performance, Saeed Mubarak Al Hajeri, Chairman of TAQA, said:

Our solid performance in H1 2019 is underpinned by our strong operational performance.  The Group’s balance sheet remains healthy, and with stable revenues and a further reduction in debt coupled with strong liquidity we remain on course to meet our long term objectives. The recent ratings affirmation from Moody’s is a testament to the stability of our operational performance.

“We also made exciting progress in advancing our strategy of maintaining capital discipline with focused investments in our core assets, such as the Atrush Block. Looking ahead, we remain optimistic and believe that our investments in the UAE and other strategic markets will contribute to a sustained growth story.

(Source: TAQA)

Fruit prices plummeted considerably during the summer harvest season in the Kurdistan Region, so much so that the price of harvesting the fruits and transporting them to wholesale markets sometimes outweighs their sale price.

In the past, farmers used to dry these fruits and sell them that way to make a profit.

But nowadays, 95 percent of the dried fruit available in Kurdistan Region markets is imported, and this has discouraged local farmers from drying their fruits to avoid financial loss during the harvest season.

Click here to read the full story from Rudaw.

Genel Energy has announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

Bill Higgs (pictured), Chief Executive of Genel, said:

These results demonstrate the continued success of our strategy -highly cash generative productionunderpins capital investment in growth opportunities that deliver rapid returns and enables a compelling cash return to shareholders through our dividend.

“Our production grew 17% in H1 2019, and pro forma free cash flow rose to $76 million. This cash generation, and our strong balance sheet, allows us to both increase investment in growing the business as well as returning cash to shareholders via dividends. Accordingly, we have today announced an interim dividend of $14 million.

“Disciplined capital allocation remains at the core of our business. The speed with which our investments pay back means that cash is quickly recycled to create most value for shareholders. The cash that our production generates funds worknow underway at Sarta and Qara Dagh, with plenty left over to both pay a dividend and seek new opportunities, as we progress Genel’s growth strategy.

Results summary ($ million unless stated)

H1

2019

H1

2018

FY

2018

Production (bopd, working interest) 37,400 32,100 33,700
Revenue 194.3 161.1 355.1
EBITDAX 1 167.3 137.4 304.1
  Depreciation and amortisation (74.8) (63.6) (136.2)
  Exploration (expense) / credit (0.6) (0.5) 1.5
  Impairment of intangible assets (424.0)
Operating profit / (loss) 91.9 73.3 (254.6)
Cash flow from operating activities 142.3 125.1 299.2
Capital expenditure 72.2 34.1 95.5
Free cash flow2 56.7 70.1 164.2
Pro forma free cash flow2 75.6 70.1 164.2
Dividend payments 27.4
Cash3 353.3 233.2 334.3
Total debt 300.0 300.0 300.0
Net cash (debt)4 55.8 (63.8) 37.0
Basic EPS (¢ per share) 27.2 21.3 (101.6)
Underlying EPS (¢ per share)1 59.9 49.2 109.0
  1. EBITDAX is operating profit / (loss) adjusted for the add back of depreciation and amortisation ($74.8 million) and exploration expense ($0.6 million). Underlying EPS is EBITDAX divided by the weighted average number of ordinary shares
  2. Free cash flow is set out on page 7 and does not include $18.9 million, invoiced for Tawke production and due in June 2019 and received late on 9 July 2019, with the delay due to a change in the Operator’s banking arrangements. Pro forma free cash flow of $75.6 million includes this payment.
  3. Cash reported at 30 June 2019 excludes $10 million of restricted cash and the $18.9 million noted above
  4. Reported IFRS debt less cash

Highlights

  • Working interest production averaged 37,400 bopd in H1 2019 (H1 2018: 32,100 bopd), an increase of 17% compared to H1 2018
    • 8 wells completed in H1 2019, resulting in year-on-year production increases at both the Tawke and Taq Taq PSCs
  • Free cash generation of $57 million in H1 2019 (H1 2018: $70 million), which increases to $76 million when including the post period receipt of $19 million, with annual free cash flow yield of c.20% of current market capitalisation
  • Net cash of $56 million at 30 June 2019 (net debt of $64 million at 30 June 2018)
    • Following the receipt of all payments relating to April 2019, Genel had $390 million of cash as of 5 August 2019, a net cash position of $92 million
  • Addition of Sarta and Qara Dagh to the portfolio in January 2019 provides near-term production and material future growth potential
  • Maiden dividend distribution of 10¢ per share paid on 24 June 2019
  • Interim dividend of 5¢ per share confirmed
  • Genel retains an open mandate for a share buy-back programme of up to $10 million, and will continue to review purchasing opportunities

Outlook

  • Net production guidance in 2019 maintained at close to Q4 2018 levels of 36,900 bopd, an increase of c.10% year-on-year
  • Drilling programme ongoing, with over 10 wells set to be completed by early 2020
  • Active discussions with the Kurdistan Regional Government (‘KRG’) regarding Bina Bawi are ongoing, focused on agreeing the detailed commercial terms for the integrated Phase 1 oil and gas development and approval of the associated field development plans
  • Work continuing at Sarta to prepare for production by the middle of 2020
  • QD-2 well location agreed at Qara Dagh, well pad civil engineering work set to begin
  • Farm-out process relating to Somaliland acreage to begin in late Q3 2019
  • Genel expects to generate material free cash flow in H2 2019, even while investment in growth increases
    • 2019 capital expenditure is expected to be towards the top end of the $150-170 million guidance range
  • Searches for a new Chairman and Chief Operating Officer are progressing
  • The Company continues to actively pursue growth and is assessing opportunities to make value-accretive additions to the portfolio

More details here.

(Source: Genel Energy)