A senior official working for Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC) has been shot dead – just a month after his predecessor at the state-run firm was killed. The chief engineer, Saad Ali Hussain, had been driving to his office in the city of Kirkuk when he was attacked.
US-operator Gulf Keystone has leveraged record daily production from its Iraqi assets.
Iraq’s self-ruling Kurds are threatening to bypass the country’s central government and sell oil produced in the neighboring Kirkuk region in a dispute over revenue from crude sales by OPEC’s second-largest producer.
Air Energi has landed a contract with BP Iraq to supply personnel for its operations for the giant Rumaila and Kirkuk oil fields. The five-year deal is Air Energi’s biggest ever win in the region. The fields, which represent 40% of Iraq’s total production last year, are estimated to hold 20 billion barrels of reserves.
Attacks in and around Baghdad have killed at least 14 civilians, as Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by the Islamic State group on the country’s largest oil refinery, officials said. Seven people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a commercial area in the town of Mahmoudiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, police said. The car was parked in a mainly Shiite section of town near a bakery and went off as people were standing in line to buy bread. Another 13 civilians were wounded in the attack, police said. Hours later, another car bomb exploded in a car park outside Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital, killing four civilians and wounding 10, a police official said.
APR Energy has signed a contract renewal for its power generation contract in Iraq. The agreement will take the term through the end of 2015. The power plant has been in operation since 2012 and comprises six GE TM2500 mobile gas turbines capable of generating more than 1200MW of electricity.
Foreign oil producers in Iraqi Kurdistan are resorting to selling crude at about $30 a barrel in the domestic market as the government hangs on to companies’ export earnings amid weaker world prices and a costly battle with Islamic State. “The government’s announcement was that there would be payments coming,” said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, executive chairman of Norwegian producer DNO ASA, said in an interview in Oslo. “That payment I think got disrupted because of lower prices and the resolution of the budget issues.” That’s forcing DNO to increase sales to the local market.
Shell has signed a deal with Iraq worth $11billion to build a petrochemicals plant. The agreement was announced by Industry Minister for the country, Nasser al-Esawi, who said the Nibras complex was expected to come on line within the next five to six years. The southern oil hub in the Basra region would make it the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, raised the selling price for February shipments to Asia of its main Basrah Light crude by 30 cents a barrel, after Saudi Arabia boosted its pricing to the region. Iraq set Basrah Light at a discount of $3.70 a barrel to the average of Middle Eastern benchmark Oman and Dubai grades, the country’s Oil Marketing Co. said yesterday in an statement.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum said seven wells are now producing at its Shaikan production facilities. A further well is expected to come online this month in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where operations are taking place. The company said total daily production has been gradually increasing since last month, with the company’s 400,000 gross barrels of oil per day target being reached shortly before New Year.
The company, which is in a consortium with Kuwait Energy, had success in its Faihaa-1 exploration well, after targeting the Yamama formation. A spokesman said the discovery was made at 4,000 metres at the site in Northern Basra.
Islamic State militants have returned to the outskirts of a strategic Iraqi oil refinery town after being driven out last month, officials said. Raed Ibrahim, governor of Salahuddin province, said the militants had fought their way to the edge of Beiji after three days of heavy clashes. He added that they were able to advance because Iraqi troops lack heavy weapons.
Iraq’s cabinet approved a smaller 2015 spending plan than the government expected because of the collapse in oil, which provides most government revenue. The budget, based on a $60 a barrel price for oil, stands at 123 trillion dinars ($103 billion), Saad Al-Hadithi, spokesman for the office of the prime minister, said. The budget deficit was set at 23 trillion dinars and total revenue at 99.8 trillion dinars, including oil revenue of 84 trillion dinars, Obaid Mahal, deputy secretary general of the cabinet, said.
An estimated 15,000 oil and gas workers in Iraq will be trained in how to deal with the potential hazards of hydrogen sulphide. Oil giant Shell and Industry training standards body Opito have joined forced to ensure workers are protected. The corrosive and hazardous gas, also known as 'sour gas', H2S occurs in the production of oil and gas fields which have a high content of it in their reservoirs.
Iraq said a collapse in oil prices and the cost of fighting Islamic State militants may force the country to review its plans to boost crude production this decade. “It may be necessary to revisit our ambitious plans for the next five years,” Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways said at a conference in London, without specifying what measures the country might take. “But we are committed to progress in this vital economic field with regard to production and export capacities.”
Iraq said its decision to deepen the discount for January sales of its main crude to Asia provides no support for claims that producers are waging a price war. Pricing for next month’s shipments of the Basrah Light grade to Asia is “based on the market structure for both oil products and crude oil,” Iraq’s Oil Marketing Co. said. “The widened contango in crude oil prices in Asia was the major reason behind the cut.”
Not only is OPEC refraining from cutting oil output to stem the five-month plunge in prices, it’s adding to the supply glut. Just five days after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain production levels, Iraq, the group’s second-biggest member, inked an export deal with the Kurds that may add about 300,000 barrels a day to world supplies. In a global market that neighboring Kuwait estimates is facing a daily oversupply of 1.8 million barrels, the accord stands to deepen crude’s 39% plunge since late June.
Marathon oil has made a discovery at its Harir Block in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The company said it had hit oil and gas in its Jisik-1 exploration well. The site, 40 miles northeast of Erbil, was drilled to a total depth of 15,000 feet and oil and gas was noted in an extensive gross interval in both the Jurassic and Triassic reservoirs.
Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji is set to reopen after government troops forced Islamic State militants further from the facility, according to state-sponsored Iraqiya television. The army entered Baiji after clearing bombs and other equipment from around the plant, the station reported. It didn’t say when production would resume at the refinery that halted in mid-June. “Army troops achieve a victory and lift the siege on Baiji refinery,” Iraqiya reported in the banner headline. “Baiji refinery to reopen soon.”
Gulf Keystone Petroleum is on track to produce 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) by the end of the year at its Shaikan facilities in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The company said its production levels are stable, averaging 23,000 bopd from three wells at PF-1 and two wells at PF-2. Civil works are also ongoing to connect the Shaikan-7 and -8 wells to PF-1.
Iraq is now more violent than at any time since the bloody 2006-2007 insurgency period. The country experienced an average of almost 80 violent incidents a day between July and September. Hundreds, possibly even thousands of people are being killed every month and there are no signs that the conflict will rescind in the near future. As violence continues to rage, the energy sector remains concerned with developments affecting Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) territory, as well as oilfields in the south. International military assistance has bolstered the position of the Kurds and for now, this will act as a major safeguard for the region's interests.