Weatherford International plc (OTC-PINK:WFTIQ) has announced it has been awarded two fully integrated rig contracts and one well services (through-tubing intervention) contract with a multinational operator in one of the world’s largest proven oil fields located in Iraq.

Frederico Justus, President of the Eastern Hemisphere for Weatherford, said:

Weatherford has operated in Iraq since 2006, longer than any other multinational oilfield services provider.

“During that time, Weatherford proved to operators in Iraq that its capabilities across the life of the well reduce costs, enhance safety and maximize production efficiency.

“This experience gave the operator confidence in our ability to execute these turnkey drilling projects in one of their most strategic global locations.

For the next two years, Weatherford will provide integrated services to drill development wells in one of Iraq’s most productive oil fields.

For the next five years, Weatherford will provide in-country support and specialized well services, including workshop services, fishing, milling, water shutoff and zonal isolation.

(Source: Weatherford)

By John Lee.

ADES International Holding Ltd., a London-listed company providing offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling and production services in the Middle East and Africa, is to expand into Southern Iraq.

The company will acquire two idle land rigs in Iraq from Weatherford, as part of a $287.5-million deal to buy 31 rigs from the Swiss-based company.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Mohamed Farouk, Chief Executive Officer of ADES International Holding, said:

“We are truly delighted to have signed this agreement with Weatherford … [which] significantly expands ADES’ total fleet and more than doubles its operational fleet”

(Sources: ADES International Holding Ltd., Weatherford)

By John Lee.

In its First Quarter 2016 Results, oil services company Weatherford said that it has now largely completed its Zubair project in Iraq.

Net cash expenditure on the project to date amounts to $47 million.

Shares in Weatherford have fallen by almost 30 percent since the results announcement.

(Source: Weatherford, Yahoo!)

By John Lee.

An investigation by Fairfax Media — publisher of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers — and The Huffington Post, claims that Monaco-based Unaoil has been involved in widespread bribery and corruption in the oil industry, including in Iraq, Iran and Libya.

Following examination of tens of thousands of emails, the report says that Unaoil channelled huge bribes to government officials on behalf of its clients to help win billions of dollars worth of government contracts.

In Iraq, it accuses the company, and its country manager Basil Al Jarah, of arranging bribes for clients including Rolls-Royce, Petrofac, Clyde Pumps, Weatherford, Cameron/Natco, FMC Technologies, Saipem, SBM Offshore, MAN Turbo, Rosetti Marino, ABB, The Shaw Group, Core Labs, Leighton Offshore, Weir and Hyundai.

Public officials allegedly implicated include Dr Hussain al-Shahristani, former Minister for Oil and current Minister for Education, who has denied any wrongdoing; Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi [Elaibi], former Minister for Oil; Kifah Numan, Director General of the South Oil Company (SOC); Dhia Jaffar also a Director General of the SOC and since last year a Deputy Minister for Oil in the Iraqi government; and Oday al-Quraishi (SOC).

According to the report, “Unaoil made Dhia Jaffar and Oday al-Quraishi wealthy men.

Family owned and controlled, Unaoil was founded by the Iranian-born Ata Ahsani, who left Tehran at the time of the Islamic revolution. The company says it “strenuously [denies] any wrongdoing and consider[s] the allegations to be baseless and entirely false.

The original story can be read in more detail here.

(Source: The Age)

(Corruption image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

Radioactive material that went missing in Iraq in November has been found, apparently undamaged, on Sunday near a patrol station in Zubair.

The chief of the security panel at the Basra Provincial Council told Reuters:

“A passer-by found the radioactive device dumped in Zubair and immediately informed security forces which went with a special radiation prevention team and retrieved the device.

“After initial checking I can confirm the device is intact 100 percent and there is absolutely no concern of radiation.”

(Sources: CNN, Reuters)

(Radioactive material image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told Reuters of a theft a radioactive source in Zubair.

The industrial radiography device is described Ir-192 in a shielding container, which is classified as a Category 2 radioactive substance, meaning that if not managed properly it could be fatal to someone exposed for a period of hours to days.

SGS, the testing company which was using the material at a Weatherford site, issued the following statement:

“SGS Turkey was hired by the oil services company Weatherford to perform standard non-destructing testing activities on pipes at an oil field in Southern Iraq. The equipment used for these services is equipped with a low level radioactive source.

“The site where these operations are conducted is fully secured and guarded by security guards under the responsibility of the owner of the site. SGS does not assume any responsibility for the site security and does not control accesses. SGS is one of many contractors active on the site.

“When not in use, the equipment and radioactive source are stored in a secured bunker designed for that effect and provided by Weatherford. The disappearance of the equipment occurred while the equipment was stored in the Weatherford bunker. The loss was discovered on November 3, 2015.

“SGS Turkey/Erbil Branch Office immediately notified the Iraqi authorities and fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by the competent authorities.”

Meanwhile, Weatherford has told Reuters:

“Weatherford has no responsibility or liability in relation to this matter because we do not own, operate or control sources or the bunker where the sources are stored.

“SGS is the owner and operator of the bunker and sources and solely responsible for addressing this matter.”

(Sources: SGS, Reuters)

(Radioactive material image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

In its results for the first quarter of 2015, oil services company Weatherford said it expected “a positive cash outcome on the Zubair project in Iraq as milestones are achieved and continued control of capital expenditures,

The company added that “reduction in working capital balances and managing a cash neutral end to the Zubair project in Iraq which will contribute enough to more than offset any reduction in earnings.”

Bernard J. Duroc-Danner, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer commented:

“Our approach is to treat this down cycle as an opportunity to become a much leaner, more efficient and streamlined organization. Our key focus areas of cost management, cash generation and talent development will pay dividends in improved market share, margins and reduced debt levels by year end.”

(Source: Weatherford)

By John Lee.

Iraq has awarded oil drilling deals with a combined value of $348 million.

Associated Press reports that Weatherford picked up two drilling contracts, one for nearly $95 million and another for $82.4 million.

Another contract worth $96.7 million went to China’s Bohai, while COSL, a division of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), won a contract for $73.8 million.

The deals relate to work at oil fields in Maysan province that are being developed by China’s state-owned CNOOC.

(Source: Associated Press)

(Picture: a Weatherford rig at Bazirgan oilfield in Maysan)