DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced issuance of a notice of discovery to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well, in accordance with the requirements of the Production Sharing Contract, after flowing hydrocarbons to surface from the upper part of Triassic Kurra Chine B reservoir.

Following acid stimulation, the zone flowed variable rates of light oil and sour gas. Further testing of this and other Jurassic and Triassic zones is ongoing and will determine the next steps towards appraisal and assessment of commerciality.

The Baeshiqa-2 well was spud in February 2019 and drilled to a total depth of 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS).

DNO acquired a 32 percent interest and operatorship of the Baeshiqa license in 2017. Partners include ExxonMobil with 32 percent, Turkish Energy Company (TEC) with 16 percent and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with 20 percent.

(Source: DNO)

By John Lee.

The government-sponsored Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sulaimaniyah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) in a bid to promote bilateral trade.

Taiwan News says the document was signed by SCCI President Sirwan Mohammed Mahmood and TAITRA Executive Vice President Leonor F. M. Lin (林芳苗), during the visit of a trade mission from Iraq to Taiwan for the procurement of machine tools, ICT products, food packaging machinery, and more.

According to TAITRA, automobile components, machinery, and construction materials are the three major exports from Taiwan to Iraq.

Sulaymaniyah, the second largest city in Kurdistan Region, has ramped up efforts to develop industry and commerce. Established in 1967, SCCI has 30,000 company members and is one of the most important trade associations in Iraq, said TAITRA.

(Source: Taiwan News)

Dana Gas PJSC, the Middle East’s largest regional private sector natural gas company, announced that in the first nine months of 2019 collections in Egypt, the UAE and from its share of Pearl Petroleum Company Limited‘s sales in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), increased 16.7% year on year to $230 million (AED 844m).

Dana Gas, which owns a 35% stake in Pearl Petroleum, saw its share of sales of condensate, LPG and gas in the KRI jump 52% to $118 million in the nine-month period from $77 million in the same period the previous year.  Dana Gas received cash dividends of $68.3 million from Pearl Petroleum over this period.

Meanwhile, the collections from Dana Gas Egypt were $105 million during the period, in line with the $111 million received in the same period of 2018 whilst collections from the Company’s Zora gas field in the UAE stood at $7.3 million.

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward (pictured), CEO of Dana Gas, said:

“We are pleased to record higher collections over the first nine-months of the year in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, due primarily to an increase in production and regular payments from the government. Our overall collections are higher at $230 million, and our strong in-country relationships have continued to benefit our overall business performance. We are committed to operating all our assets to maximise production and value for all our stakeholders.”

Pearl Petroleum is boosting production in the KRI, where 25% of the region’s power needs remain unmet and the demand for power is expected to outstrip supply in the medium and long-term. The consortium operates world-class gas fields in the KRI and currently enables the power generation of three quarters of the area’s official electricity production.

It signed a 20-year gas sale agreement with the KRG earlier this year that will facilitate the production and sale of an additional 250 MMscf/d of gas. Pearl Petroleum’s expansion plan will see output increase to 650 MMscf/d in 2022, and then to 900 MMscf/d by 2023 from the current 400 MMscf/d.

Dana Gas’s share of the proved plus probable (2P) hydrocarbon reserves at Pearl Petroleum Khor Mor and Chemchemal Fields in the KRI increased by 10% following the recent certification of reserves by its independent external reserves auditor, Gaffney Cline Associates. Dana Gas’s total share is equivalent to 1,087 million barrels of oil equivalent, up from 990 million barrels of oil equivalent when Gaffney Cline first certified the fields in April 2016.

By 2040, natural gas demand in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to grow 40% and oil demand will increase by 10 million barrels a day, according to industry estimates. To help meet that increase in energy demand, projects valued at $238 billion are being executed in the next 20 years.

(Source: Dana Gas)

By John Lee.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has announced the resumption of its direct services between Bahrain and Erbil in Iraq; further strengthening the airline’s existing Iraqi routes of Baghdad and Najaf.

The airline’s services to Erbil will commence on 02 February 2020, and will see Gulf Air’s three weekly flights between Bahrain International Airport and Erbil International Airport operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft.

(Source: Gulf Air)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) took a significant group of members on a trade mission to KRI this week. Paramount was the need to review business opportunities and investment in the region and to learn directly from the Prime Minister Barzani his plans for business and industry.

The group, led by Baroness Nicholson, UK Trade Envoy to Iraq, Christophe Michels MD of IBBC and Eng Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC included representatives from Jaguar LandRover, Crescent Petroleum, EY, Siemens, Sardar Trading Agency, Garda World, Stirling Education, KPMG, G4S, OilServ Kuwait, and from the DIT Mr Rawand Askary, and James Thornton of UK FCO.

The Prime Minister introduced a number of Ministers for discussion with the group, including KRI Minister of Electricity Mr Kamal Mohammad Saleh discussing project finance and other related matters. The DG of the KRIs MoI joint crisis coordination centre Mr Hoshang Mohamed discussed the clearance of IEDs & mines and the handling of the overall IDP and refugee crisis (that G4S have been heavily engaged with).

In conversation, Mr Barzani stated that ‘the KRI government will bring in reforms to cut down on red tape for the private sector to develop. It will pursue a policy of registering companies through a ‘one window’ online portal which should allow company registrations to be done in the same time it takes in western countries to do so. He also said that the new administration is streamlining overall bureaucracy for private businesses to limit unnecessary Government interference.

The Government is also planning to draft a new bribery law to fight corruption and is looking at reviewing its financial framework to encourage PPPs throughout the economy including education and health. Diversification of the economy is big on the agenda with agriculture, tourism and the manufacturing of goods being a priority. KRI should import less and produce more and eventually find markets outside its borders for its products. Foreign partners for all of this are sought after.’

A permanent revenue sharing agreement with Baghdad is top of the agenda among other things to allow credit export agencies to work directly in the KRIG.’

On Sunday the Planning Minister and Mr Amanj Raheem, Cabinet Secretary, Kurdistan Regional Government spoke, and the Ministers for Construction and Electricity attended the British Consulate Reception taking place at the JLR show room kindly sponsored by Sadar Trading Agencies – thanks to Mr Sardar Al-Bebany Chairman and CEO. Dr Dara Al Khayat, Chairman of KRI federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Erbil, hosted a Monday evening event and on Tuesday the mission visited Crescent Petroleum offices.

The trip continued to Baghdad

(Source: IBBC)

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has received a delegation from the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) headed by its chairman and the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, Baroness Emma Nicholson.

The two officials discussed strengthening bilateral trade relations between the Kurdistan Region and the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister outlined the government’s plans to modernise the Kurdistan Region’s economy, including through increasing local production and export levels and building up capacity in the service industry.

The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to working with partners such as the Iraq Britain Business Council to develop the Kurdistan Region into a preferred destination for investors.

Baroness Nicholson expressed the UK’s support for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans to diversify its economy and expand its sources of revenue, especially through the new government’s focus on transforming the agriculture and industry sectors.

(Source: KRG)

By John Lee.

Shares in DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, were trading down 7.5 percent on Thursday morning, after the company reported a net loss for the third quarter.

The company reported what it described as strong third quarter revenues of USD 227 million, up 33 percent from a year earlier, on the back of solid production averaging 99,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) on a Company Working Interest (CWI) basis, up 22 percent year on year.

In its statement, the company added:

Notwithstanding strong underlying performance, 2019 third quarter results were impacted by non-recurring items as well as lower oil prices and higher exploration expenses, resulting in a net loss of USD 96 million.

In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, third quarter production at the Tawke license containing the DNO-operated Tawke and Peshkabir fields (shared 75-25 with partner Genel Energy plc) averaged 119,800 barrels of oil per day (bopd). The Company expects to exit the year with Tawke license production averaging 120,000 bopd and to maintain this rate into 2020. The Company recently reached a significant milestone of 300 million barrels of cumulative oil production from the Tawke and Peshkabir fields.

Activity remains high as the Company continues to deliver its largest drilling campaign in its 48-year history with some 36 wells in 2019, of which 22 are development/infill wells and 14 exploration/appraisal wells. DNO projects full-year operational spend of USD 620 million (post-tax), of which USD 454 million was spent through the end of the third quarter, including USD 244 million in Kurdistan and USD 210 million (post-tax) in the North Sea.

Financial results were impacted by impairment charges of USD 138 million, including USD 89 million for technical goodwill on the Brasse discovery (Norway) and USD 33 million for decommissioning of the Schooner and Ketch fields (United Kingdom).

With USD 228 million in cash from operations during the third quarter, the Company resumed its share buyback program and acquired 23 million shares at a cost of USD 35 million, lifting its overall stake to 58 million treasury shares, representing 5.35 percent of the total outstanding shares at end quarter. DNO also bought back an additional USD 17 million of FAPE01 bonds during the quarter.

DNO maintained its previously approved dividend distribution program with another semi-annual payment of NOK 0.20 per share to be made on 4 November 2019.

“We continue to deliver across a range of operating and financial targets even as we paused this quarter for early spring cleaning of our balance sheet,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. “Given global headwinds, we are budgeting at the low end of the industry’s Brent price range of USD 60-70 per barrel,” he added.

CWI production during the third quarter included 84,400 bopd from Kurdistan and 14,900 boepd from North Sea assets acquired earlier this year.

In 2019, nine wells were spud in Kurdistan through the end of the third quarter, with an additional ten wells planned for the fourth quarter. In the North Sea, 13 wells were spud through the end of the quarter, with an additional four wells planned for the fourth quarter, including DNO’s first operated exploration well, Canela, in the North Sea since 2007.

DNO exited the third quarter with a cash balance of USD 624 million in addition to USD 110 million in treasury shares and marketable securities.

(Source: DNO)

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

Civil society activists and journalists leave Baghdad in fear of being arrested

On Oct. 9, an Iraqi journalist left Baghdad for Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, after hearing that his name was on a list prepared by the Iraqi government for the arrest of journalists and civil society activists.

“I had to travel to Erbil until things calm down,” the journalist, who appeared on satellite television, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity for security reasons. “The government is launching a tight crackdown and arresting anyone who wrote, supported and spoke about the protests.”

He continued, “In Erbil also, the authorities arrest dissidents who criticize them or talk about corruption and freedoms, but this is a temporary stop for those like me who escaped the danger in Baghdad.”

Click here to read the full story.

Genel Energy has announced the signing of a contract with Parker Drilling for the drilling of the QD-2 well on the Qara Dagh field (Genel 40% working interest, operator), in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The QD-2 well will test the structural crest 10 km to the north-west of the QD-1 well, which tested sweet, light oil from Cretaceous carbonates. The Parker-269 rig (pictured) has been contracted to drill the well.

Civil construction works for the well pad and camp are now underway, and the well is on track to spud in H1 2020.

Unrisked gross mean resources at Qara Dagh are currently estimated by Genel at c.200 MMbbls.

(Source: Genel Energy)

By John Lee.

Doctors Without Borders /Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has issued a statement on the situation along the Iraq-Syria border:

As people continue to flee conflict in northeast Syria for Iraq, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched medical activities at one site receiving refugees in Iraq along the border with Syria and has assessed mental health needs in Bardarash camp, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

“Immediately after the fighting in northeast Syria started, we quickly assessed different locations including reception sites at the Iraq-Syria border, and camps where we learned that refugees were going to be hosted,” said Marius Martinelli, MSF project manager.

“In these types of assessments, we evaluate the site’s infrastructure, look at the services available, and coordinate with other organisations and authorities to determine and implement as rapidly as possible the most relevant activities for the people arriving.”

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: MSF)