Opinion: Security trends in Iraq for 2016

As director of an Iraqi security services company, I am often asked by energy companies what the key issues are that are currently affecting security for their operations in Iraq and how I see these trends developing in 2016. Unsurprisingly, most trends impacting the energy sector are strongly influenced by the sharp drop in oil prices. In particular, we are concerned about increasing price pressure on security provision from international energy companies. Those who make senior policy decisions on security matters know that the probability of attacks does not change with oil prices. If the risks were there on a $100-dollar barrel, then you can make a safe assumption they are still there in a $40-dollar barrel. However, our industry is being asked to reduce costs by up to 20%. As security operators don’t have such margins to begin with, this is causing real difficulties, and we advise energy companies that security in high-risk areas is an essential: it’s vital to think very carefully about the impact of reducing security budgets.

Other News

Iraq offers itself as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Iraq has offered to act as a mediator to ease tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran that escalated after the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite cleric and attacks on two of Saudi diplomatic posts in the Islamic Republic. Some Sunni Arab nations have followed the Saudis’ lead and severed or downgraded ties with Iran, while others have offered words of caution aimed at calming the situation. The offer by Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, made during a news conference in the Iranian capital, included the diplomat referring to the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as a “crime”, a description that raised questions as to whether Saudi officials would even consider such an offer. The kingdom and its allies say that Mr al-Nimr was executed after being tried and sentenced to death under Saudi law.

Oil & Gas

Iraq in approach to PetroChina and Exxonmobil to boost production

Iraq is said to have approached PetroChina and ExxonMobil about investing in a multi-billion dollar project to help boost output from a number of smaller southern fields, according to reports. A senior Iraqi oil official said South Oil Co is seeking investment from either company to build infrastructure needed to raise output at fields it operates. SOC deputy chairman Basim Abdul Kareem said the decline in oil price has hit the country’s ability to fund oilfield development and foreign investments are needed.

Other News

UN moves to block IS terror funds

Finance ministers from the United Nations Security Council’s 15 powers are poised to adopt a resolution aimed at disrupting the Islamic State (IS) terror group’s earnings from oil and antiquities sales, ransom payments and other criminal activities. IS is already subject to UN sanctions under resolutions dealing with al Qaida. But the proposed resolution, sponsored by the United States and Russia, elevates IS to the same level as al Qaida, reflecting its split from al Qaida and the growing threat it poses especially in the Middle East and North Africa. US treasury secretary Jacob Lew, who will chair today’s meeting, said disrupting IS’ revenue and cutting it off from the international financial system “are critical to effectively combating this violent terrorist group”.

Oil & Gas

Dana Gas Group awarded $1.98billion in Iraq Kurds dispute

36 Dana Gas Group Awarded $1.98 Billion in Iraq Kurds Dispute (2) ©2015 Bloomberg News Arif Sharif (Bloomberg) -- Dana Gas PJSC said a court has ordered the Kurdistan Regional Government to pay it and two other energy companies $1.98 billion in a dispute over development rights for two oil and natural gas fields in Iraq’s self-governing Kurdish region.

Oil & Gas

Iraq asks oil companies to cut spending after drop in prices

Iraq asked oil companies to reduce their 2016 spending plans in the country by Sept. 30, citing lower oil prices and government revenue. The reduced budgets shouldn’t affect 2015 production, Abdul Mahdy Al-Ameedi, director of licensing at Iraq’s oil ministry, said by phone Tuesday, citing a letter that the ministry sent to companies. Iraq is now producing more than 3 million barrels a day, he said. “We’ve asked them in a letter we sent them to take into consideration the drop in oil prices and the low revenues of the government that may not cover their investments,” al-Ameedi said. “There was a stipulation that this investment reduction must not affect oil output from the fields that was in the 2015 schedule.”