By John Lee.

The Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement today for USD 9 million (NOK 75 million) to support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL.

Norway’s contribution will be channelled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL.

This is Norway’s 10th contribution to FFS since 2015, bringing its total contributions to USD 45,000,000 (NOK 376,200,000). Norway is the 7th largest contributor of the 27 donors that fund the FFS.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair essential public infrastructure, boosts the capacity of local government, and provides short-term employment opportunities.

“Our biggest priority at the moment is to focus on areas that were the longest-held territories by ISIL and the last to be liberated,” says Resident Representative of UNDP, Zena Ali-Ahmad.

“These areas have experienced lower returns, and through UNDP and partners’ stabilization efforts we’re working hard to bring people back home. This generous contribution from Norway is critical in helping us achieve this important objective.”

“Our gratitude goes to the Government of Norway for all the support, and for reaffirming its commitment to not only stabilizing Iraq but securing long-term prosperity for its people,” adds Ms Ali-Ahmad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

This is done through rehabilitating essential infrastructure and restoring basic services. To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has implemented more than 2,500 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 600 in the pipeline, pending additional funds.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement today for USD 9 million (NOK 75 million) to support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL.

Norway’s contribution will be channelled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL.

This is Norway’s 10th contribution to FFS since 2015, bringing its total contributions to USD 45,000,000 (NOK 376,200,000). Norway is the 7th largest contributor of the 27 donors that fund the FFS.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair essential public infrastructure, boosts the capacity of local government, and provides short-term employment opportunities.

“Our biggest priority at the moment is to focus on areas that were the longest-held territories by ISIL and the last to be liberated,” says Resident Representative of UNDP, Zena Ali-Ahmad.

“These areas have experienced lower returns, and through UNDP and partners’ stabilization efforts we’re working hard to bring people back home. This generous contribution from Norway is critical in helping us achieve this important objective.”

“Our gratitude goes to the Government of Norway for all the support, and for reaffirming its commitment to not only stabilizing Iraq but securing long-term prosperity for its people,” adds Ms Ali-Ahmad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

This is done through rehabilitating essential infrastructure and restoring basic services. To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has implemented more than 2,500 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 600 in the pipeline, pending additional funds.

(Source: UN)

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)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported USD 35 million in first quarter 2019 operating revenues from its newly acquired North Sea assets, bringing the total quarterly figure across the portfolio to USD 204 million.

The Company generated a net profit of USD 51 million and exited the quarter with a cash balance of USD 254 million plus USD 109 million in treasury shares and marketable securities.

Company Working Interest (CWI) production averaged 107,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during the first quarter, up 36 percent from 79,100 boepd in the first quarter of 2018. Kurdistan contributed 89,400 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and the North Sea contributed 18,200 boepd.

Operated Kurdistan production from the Tawke and Peshkabir fields averaged 126,800 bopd during the quarter, up from 109,400 in the first quarter of 2018.

The Company plans to more than double capital and exploration expenditures to USD 440 million this year, up from USD 200 million last year. Planned 2019 expenditure in Kurdistan is USD 250 million and USD 190 million in the North Sea.

DNO has launched an active drilling program of up to 36 wells across the portfolio, representing the highest number of wells in the Company’s 48-year history.

DNO’s Executive Chairman, Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (pictured), said:

“With our recent acquisition, DNO has transformed into a more balanced company. We continue to generate significant cash from ultra-low cost, short-cycle, highly prolific fields in Kurdistan but now with a strong, second leg in the North Sea.”

(Source: DNO)

Shares in DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, were trading up five percent on Monday afternoon following the company’s announcemnt that it has replaced 2018 production through additions to reserves, marking the second consecutive year in which the Company’s replacement of proven reserves reached or exceeded 100 percent of production.

“DNO’s stellar record of reserves replacement through the drill bit is a result of stepped up spending on our portfolio of quality assets coupled with rapid-fire execution,” said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO’s Executive Chairman. “And the barrels we continue to add are among the lowest cost in the industry, anywhere,” he expounded.

Yearend 2018 Company Working Interest (CWI) proven (1P) reserves stood at 240 million barrels of oil (MMbbls), unchanged from yearend 2017 after adjusting for production and technical revisions. On a CWI proven and probable (2P) reserves basis, DNO replaced 98 percent of its 2018 production, exiting the year with CWI 2P reserves of 376 MMbbls (384 MMbbls in 2017).

At 2018 production rates, DNO’s 1P reserves life is 8.2 years and its 2P reserves life is 12.9 years.

Significantly, the Company’s 1P reserves replacement ratio (RRR) has reached or exceeded 100 percent in eight of the past ten years.

On a gross basis, at the Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, yearend 2018 1P reserves stood at 348 MMbbls, unchanged from 2017 after adjusting for production of 41 MMbbls and upward technical revisions of 41 MMbbls. Tawke license 2P reserves stood at 502 MMbbls (513 MMbbls in 2017) and proven, probable and possible (3P) reserves at 697 MMbbls (880 MMbbls in 2017).

Broken down by field, Tawke field gross 1P reserves stood at 294 MMbbls (335 MMbbls in 2017), 2P reserves at 376 MMbbls (438 MMbbls in 2017) and 3P reserves at 477 MMbbls (588 MMbbls in 2017). Peshkabir field gross 1P reserves stood 54 MMbbls (13 MMbbls in 2017), 2P reserves at 126 MMbbls (75 MMbbls in 2017) and 3P reserves at 220 MMbbls (292 MMbbls in 2017).

International petroleum consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton carried out the annual independent assessment of the Tawke license. The Company internally assessed the remaining licenses in its portfolio.

The 2018 Annual Statement of Reserves and Resources, prepared and published in accordance with Oslo Stock Exchange listing and disclosure requirements (Circular No. 1/2013), is attached and is also available on the Company’s website at www.dno.no.

(Sources: DNO, Yahoo!)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced 2018 net profit of USD 354 million on revenues of USD 829 million, the highest annual revenues in the Company’s 47-year history. Cash flow from operations increased 40 percent to USD 472 million in 2018, of which USD 334 million represented free cash flow.

Operated production averaged 117,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) including 81,700 boepd on a Company Working Interest (CWI) basis, up from 113,500 boepd and 73,700 boepd, respectively, during 2017. January 2019 operated production averaged 128,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) or 90,000 bopd on a CWI basis.

The Company stepped up its operational spend in 2018 to nearly USD 300 million to support the fast-track development of the Peshkabir field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and the ongoing drilling program at the Tawke field within the same license.

Spending levels in 2019 are projected to rise more than 40 percent from 2018 levels to an estimated USD 420 million. DNO’s 2019 drilling program includes up to 20 exploration and production wells in Kurdistan, including up to 14 wells at the Tawke field, four at Peshkabir and two at the Baeshiqa license. Another five wells are planned in Norway on DNO’s licenses.

In Kurdistan, two recently completed wells, Peshkabir-9 and Tawke-52, will be placed on production in February. Testing of the first Baeshiqa exploration well targeting the Cretaceous reservoir has been delayed by extensive rainfall but is also expected to commence this month.

Already the leading international oil company in Kurdistan, with a 75 percent operating interest in fields contributing a third of the region’s total exports, the Company is now firmly establishing itself in Norway as it completes the takeover of Faroe Petroleum plc. With 90 licenses, of which 22 are operated, DNO will leapfrog to the ranks of the top five companies in total licenses held in Norway.

“The Faroe transaction transforms DNO into a more diversified company with a strong, second leg,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. “This represents not a pivot away from Kurdistan but a pivot to Norway,” he added. “We are now well positioned in two areas in which we have a comparative, even competitive, advantage.”

The combination places DNO among the top three European-listed independent oil and gas companies in production and reserves.

DNO has acquired more than 96 percent of Faroe shares and initiated the compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares. The integration of the Faroe and DNO organizations is well underway; the new combined entity has over 1,100 employees and offices in Oslo, Stavanger, Erbil, Dubai, London, Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth.

The Company will release pro-forma financials and 2019 investment programs and budgets for the combined entity in February and March.

Separately, DNO’s Board of Directors have approved a dividend payment of NOK 0.20 per share to be made on or about 27 March 2019 to all shareholders of record as of 18 March 2019. DNO shares will be traded ex-dividend as of 15 March 2019.

(Source: DNO)

The Government of Norway is supporting the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with an additional NOK 25 million (approximately USD 3 million) for stabilization in Iraq, bringing Norway’s total contribution since 2015 to USD 36 million, the seventh largest donor to FFS.

The fund will be directed towards UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated after the fall of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Acting UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Mr Gerardo Noto, said:

“Although much progress has been made, we still have a long way to go in stabilizing parts of Iraq devastated by ISIL. At this stage, more than 4 million people have returned to their homes. This is good news, but a lot more needs to be done, particularly in areas like western Mosul and the Ninewah Plains. Norway’s contribution will help us to accelerate our work in these areas, and we are very grateful for this support.”

The Norwegian Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan, H.E. Mrs. Tone Allers, added:

“As Iraq is entering a new phase, Norway remains committed to support the efforts to ensure long-term stability and growth for all Iraqi citizens. Since the initiation of UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, we have seen that the projects are yielding results on the ground, rehabilitating important infrastructure and restoring basic services in Iraqi towns and cities affected by ISIL’s takeover. With this additional contribution to FFS, we hope to contribute to improving conditions for the safe return of the more than 300,000 families still displaced from their homes.”


(Source: UNDP)

Government of Iraq and United Nations Launch National Strategy to Combat Violence Against Women in Iraq

The Government of Iraq and the United Nations in Iraq launched today a national strategy to combat violence against women, a significant step towards achieving women’s rights.

This strategy provides an overall framework on which policy and decision makers will draw to take concrete actions aimed at preventing violence against women and girls and protecting survivors of violence. Endorsement by all stakeholders of this updated national strategy formalises the commitment of the Government of Iraq and the United Nations to take concrete action.

The launch event in Baghdad was attended by the First Lady of Iraq, Ms. Surbagh Salih, the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Mahdi al-Allaq, the Director-General of the Women Empowerment Department, Dr. Ibtisam Aziz, ministers and members of parliament, members of the High Judicial Council, civil society and international NGOs, diplomats as well as representatives of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The launch was supported by the embassies of the Kingdoms of Norway and Sweden.

“It is a propitious day to be thinking and talking about the rights of women to live lives free of violence,” the Deputy Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ms. Alice Walpole, said in remarks delivered at the event. “The national strategy to combat violence against women will be a significant tool for the Iraqi government to fulfil its international gender commitments, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the Beijing Platform.”

UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr. Oluremi Sogunro, stated: “This strategy is yet another win for women and girls in Iraq as it adds to the progresses observed in the past few years. UNFPA is proud to have worked with the Government of Iraq to develop this strategy through the provision of the technical capacities and expertise.”

Despite achievements in the field of women’s protection and empowerment, significant challenges remain, such as the lack of parliamentary endorsement of a Law to Protect Families from Domestic Violence. The delay in the approval of this law hinders the journey towards gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as overall national sustainable development and peace-building.

The United Nations reiterates its commitment to support and engage with the new Iraqi government, including the senior political leadership and the Council of Representatives, to advocate for the prioritisation of relevant legislation in the new parliament.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Iraq has fallen one place in this year’s Legatum Institute Prosperity Index, ranking in 143rd place out of the 149 countries measured.

The index ranks countries according to its nine pillars of prosperity: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment.

Despite Iraq’s dismal performance, the report found some areas of improvement:

“Iraq … now ranks 80th for its level of democracy, up from 145th in 2008. It has improved from 147th to 138th in the overall Governance rankings in the same time period.”

The top three positions were unchanged from last year, with Norway scoring highest, followed by New Zealand and Finland.

The least prosperous country is Afghanistan, followed by the Central African Republic and Yemen.

(Source: Legatum Institute)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced a rise in third quarter 2018 net profit to USD 63 million from operating revenue of USD 171 million on the back of solid production, regular export payments and higher oil prices.

Operated production averaged 117,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during the quarter including 81,500 boepd on a company working interest basis. DNO received three monthly export payments totaling USD 164 million net to its 75 percent operated interest in the Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Realized export prices averaged USD 61 per barrel during the quarter.

Net profit for the three months ending September was ahead of the USD 93 million net loss in the same period last year, excluding the one-time recognition of its Kurdistan Settlement Agreement in August 2017, and above the USD 43 million in the second quarter this year. Operating revenue was up from USD 73 million in the third quarter a year earlier and USD 147 million in the preceding quarter in 2018.

Notwithstanding third quarter spend of USD 71 million, DNO maintained its strong financial position with free cash balances of USD 640 million. In addition, the Company held USD 335 million in marketable securities as at 30 September, including a 28.22 percent stake in London-listed Faroe Petroleum plc, a 5.64 percent stake in Oslo-listed Panoro Energy ASA, a 4.83 percent stake in Olso-listed RAK Petroleum plc and a 3.23 percent stake in DNO held through treasury shares.

Going into the fourth quarter, on the Tawke license in Kurdistan containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields the Company has ramped up production from the Peshkabir field to over 50,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from six wells less than 18 months after commencement of operations, beating its end-2018 target ahead of schedule and below budget. Six wells are currently producing from Peshkabir, and the seventh, Peshkabir-8, will shortly commence test production. Peshkabir-9 will spud in mid-November.

“Peshkabir is on steroids,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. “Production continues to climb and we are proud of our operating teams who set stretch targets and then proceed to beat them,” he added. “With the fast-track, low-cost development of Peshkabir, DNO continues to tease out Kurdistan’s promise as a world class oil province,” Mr. Mossavar-Rahmani said.

The Company has four active rigs in Kurdistan, of which one is at the Peshkabir field, two at the Tawke field and one at the Baeshiqa license. In mid-October, the Company spud the Baeshiqa-1 exploration well to test the Cretaceous at the Baeshiqa structure. A back-to-back well to test the deeper Jurassic and Triassic on the same structure will follow in December. A third well is planned to test the Jurassic and Triassic on a separate structure during 2019.

At the Tawke field, two shallow Jeribe wells, Tawke-50 and Tawke-51, were brought onstream during October. The Tawke-49 well, drilled to the deeper Cretaceous, will follow later this month. The well has been drilled utilizing underbalanced technology, the first on the license, and is producing from the target zone while drilling. The Tawke-52 Cretaceous well will spud by the end of November. Tawke is currently producing at an average rate of 80,000 bopd.

Elsewhere, the Rungne prospect offshore Norway was spud last month by operator Faroe Petroleum; DNO separately holds a 10 percent interest in the license. The Company will participate in at least five additional wells offshore Norway next year.

The Company currently holds 21 Norway licenses, including the 20 percent interest in a Barents Sea license recently acquired from Chevron containing the Korpfjell prospect.

The Company has received ten monthly Kurdistan export payments year-to-date totaling USD 500 million net to DNO, of which USD 59 million was received in October. This compares to USD 380 million received net to DNO during the full-year 2017.

DNO expects to exit the year with operated Kurdistan production of at least 130,000 bopd, representing more than one-half of total production by international operators and around one-third of all Kurdistan exports.

(Source: DNO)