Middle East

Trump’s tougher stance could backfire by boosting Iran’s Guards

23 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military force with political clout and an industrial empire, stands to benefit from heightened tension between Washington and Tehran, officials and analysts said. FILE PHOTO: Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers earlier this month by disavowing Iran’s compliance with a 2015 multinational nuclear deal, complicating life for foreign investors nervous of possible new U.S. sanctions. The IRGC, which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, began rapidly expanding its commercial interests a decade ago, before U.S. and EU sanctions were imposed on Iran’s oil and finance sectors in 2012 over the country’s nuclear program. It controls businesses ranging from ports management to telecommunications and has made the most […]

Iraq’s Kurdistan oil exports edge higher: shipping source

23 Oct 2017   Iraq

 Oil exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan via the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan have risen slightly to around 255,000 barrels per day (bpd), a shipping source told Reuters on Monday. Flows were fluctuating between 200,000 and 250,000 bpd the previous day, compared with normal flows of around 600,000 bpd.

Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field

21 Oct 2017   Syria

U.S.-backed rebel forces handed control of Syria’s largest gas field to Russian forces yesterday, following talks between Russian and Kurdish officials in northeast Syria, according to a new report by Zero Hedge. The senior officials recently met in Qamishli, possibly landing on a commercial deal for control of the major Syrian fossil fuel asset. The Conoco gas field, located near the contentious Deir Ezzor area, was liberated from Islamic State forces at the end of last month. Russian forces assisted the Syrian rebels in capturing the region, which was one of the terrorist organization’s main strongholds in Syria. The Deir Ezzor province and its natural resources provided the Islamic State with much of the cash it needed to fund its early operations and recruitment campaigns. Prior to the beginning of the post-Arab Spring civil war in 2011, the Conoco field’s output was higher than any other in the nation. […]

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Iraqi Kurdish pipeline amid crisis

21 Oct 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft ( ROSN.MM ), has agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline, boosting its investment in the autonomous region to $3.5 billion despite Baghdad’s military action sparked by a Kurdish vote for independence.  The move appears to be part of a strategy by President Vladimir Putin to boost Moscow’s Middle Eastern political and economic influence, which was weakened by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rosneft’s investment comes amid a crisis in Kurdistan’s relations with the central government in Baghdad since the region held an independence referendum last month, which angered neighbors Iran and Turkey. The United States called the referendum a provocation but Moscow has effectively supported the vote, saying it understood Kurdish aspirations for […]

Iran reaches agreement on gas with Italian power company

21 Oct 2017   Iran, Italy

Iranian oil and gas companies said they’ve signed agreements with an Italian power company to capture flared gas at one of the world’s largest natural fields. Pars Oil and Gas Co., the National Iranian South Oil Co. and a handful of others said they signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian power company Ansaldo Energia to collect flared gas from Phase 12 of the operations at the South Pars gas field. The World Bank has described natural gas as a bridge fuel to a low-carbon economy, noting it’s unfortunate companies are burning it off at the wellhead. The bank said flaring adds to the amount of potent greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere. It’s also […]

Kurdish oil operations proceeding as normal

21 Oct 2017   Iran

A day after U.S. supermajor Chevron said it was standing down in the Kurdish north of Iraq, British company Gulf Keystone Petroleum said all was well. “Gulf Keystone confirms that its operations in Kurdistan continue safely and securely with the company achieving average production of 34,525 barrels of oil per day from the Shaikan field since the beginning of October 2017,” the company said in a statement Friday. Fighting escalated during the weekend between Iraqi and Kurdish military forces, weeks after a controversial Kurdish referendum for independence. The Kurdish referendum coincided more or less with the liberation of parts of northern Iraq from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State . There were reports that some of the flow of oil […]

Kurds Protesting in Iraq Turn Their Anger Against U.S.

21 Oct 2017   Iraq, USA

Security forces standing guard as Iraqi Kurds take part in a demonstration outside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, on Friday. Many have questioned why U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t intervene to defend them against Iraqi forces, which include Shiite paramilitary groups—some of them backed by Iran. As the U.S. has sought to remain neutral in the latest conflict between the Kurds and Baghdad, Iraqi forces pushed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters out of much of the territory outside the official boundary of the Kurds’ semiautonomous region, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. In the eyes of many Kurds, Washington and Tehran were now on the same side against them. “America is allied with its own enemy,” said 24-year-old Dilshad Shahab, referring to Iran. “This is a duplicitous American policy we cannot get our heads around. We want clarification: are you a friend, or an […]

Saudi Arabia Overview

21 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

Previous years Saudi Arabia has 16% of the world’s proved oil reserves, is the largest exporter of total petroleum liquids in the world, and maintains the world’s largest crude oil production capacity at roughly 12 million barrels per day.[1] Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-largest holder of proved oil reserves, ranking second only to Venezuela , holding roughly 16% of total reserves. In 2016, Saudi Arabia was the largest exporter of total petroleum liquids (crude oil and petroleum products), with exports mostly destined to Asian and European markets. During that same year, Saudi Arabia was the world’s second-largest petroleum liquids producer behind the United States and was the world’s second-largest crude oil and lease condensate producer behind Russia . During the first half of 2017, Saudi Arabia has maintained this position, despite lower production than in the previous year. Saudi Arabia’s economy remains heavily dependent on […]

Baghdad reminds oil companies that it’s in charge

20 Oct 2017   Iraq

The Iraqi Oil Ministry said Thursday that it was advising oil companies that they should be making contracts and dealing only with the federal government. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said he was frustrated with announcements of intent to sign oil contracts inside the “geographic borders of Iraq without telling the federal government of the ministry of oil.” A statement carried by his ministry said such action was considered blatant interference in its internal affairs and an insult to Iraqi sovereignty. “The government and the ministry of oil are the only [entities] responsible [for] mak[ing] the strategies of oil and gas wealth, according to the constitution, rules, authorities and instructions,” the ministry’s statement read. Luaibi’s statement made no reference to any […]

Kurds fearful and angry after Iraqi forces take Kirkuk

20 Oct 2017   Iraq

As the sun lowers over Kirkuk, crowds of young Arabs and Turkmen take to the streets waving Iraqi flags, dancing and honking car horns in celebration after central government forces retook the disputed, ethnically mixed northern city from Kurdish control this week. “Iraq is one again,” shouts an elderly man in a long white robe. “Everyone will soon accept this.” A few blocks away, where Kurdish flags still fly, young men at the only café puff water pipes and talk of revenge. They cannot accept the humiliating loss of a city they believed would be the heart of an independent Kurdish state their leaders promised to make a reality. “We’ll only bear one or two weeks of this — after that, if our leaders don’t act, we’ll take this into our own hands,” says Haitham, 24, a phone salesman. He awoke to find his shop pocked with bullet holes a day earlier and has not gone back since. Just weeks earlier, northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government held an independence referendum, ignoring international objections and arguing the moment was right to jump-start secession talks with Baghdad. The Kurdistan Democratic party of Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish president, argued the Kurds had helped a US-led coalition push Isis back to a few remaining pockets in Iraq and Syria. Now, the ruling party argued, the regional shake-up gave Kurds room to achieve their dream of statehood. Instead, one of the west’s top regional allies is in danger of being ripped apart at the seams. Faultlines are deepening between Kurds and Arabs and Turkmen, between Kurdish factions, and between Kurdish leaders and their own people. Many Kurds are outraged at how quickly their forces withdrew from a string of disputed areas that the KRG’s peshmerga fighters battled to capture after Isis swept through northern Iraq in 2014.

A New Oil Crisis Is Developing In The Middle East

20 Oct 2017   Iran, Iraq

After over 40 years in the energy business, more than two decades of that with a parallel career in intelligence, I regularly witness the impact of global developments on the energy markets. So it’s hardly surprising that I often address geopolitical events here. Currently, situations in Latin America (Venezuela), Asia (the South China Sea crisis), and Africa (ongoing civil conflict in Libya and Nigeria) show how widespread the geopolitical impact is on energy prices and availability. Each one either is, or could easily, spike oil price volatility. But the instability in a different region remains the biggest single factor in how the two sectors interact… The Middle East. There, two significant events unfolded over the past week. Each is certain to have an impact on how crude oil trades in the near-term. The curious de-certification of JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more popularly known as the “Iranian […]

Iraq Turmoil Threatens Billions in Oil Traders’ Kurd Deals

20 Oct 2017   Iraq

The crisis unfolding around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk has left some of the world’s largest commodity trading houses worried. (Bloomberg) — The crisis unfolding around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk has left some of the world’s largest commodity trading houses worried the country’s autonomous Kurdish region will struggle to repay billions of dollars in cash-for-oil loans. The approximately $3.5 billion in debts were going to be met with the roughly 500,000 to 600,000 barrels a day of crude that the northern region of Iraq was pumping, according to people familiar with the information, asking not to be named discussing private information. But output has now collapsed to about half that level after the federal government in Baghdad recaptured some oilfields that the Kurds seized in 2014. “It looks a bit uncertain whether production is going to carry on in the very short-term,” Ian Taylor, the chief executive of […]

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Kurdish oil pipeline amid crisis

20 Oct 2017   Iraq, Russia

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian energy major Rosneft has agreed to take control of the main oil pipeline in Iraq’s Kurdistan, further boosting its role as the main international investor in the semi-autonomous region. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo The move is an apparent part of a broader strategy by President Vladimir Putin to ratchet up Moscow’s political and economic influence in the Middle East. It came amid the crisis in Kurdistan’s relations with the central government in Baghdad, which erupted after the region held an independence referendum last month. Rosneft said its share in the project may total as much as 60 percent, while the current pipeline operator KAR Group will retain 40 percent. Sources familiar with the deal said Rosneft’s investment in the project was seen totaling about $1.8 billion. […]

Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls

20 Oct 2017   Iraq

Northern Iraqi exports and output fell again this week as Baghdad’s oil ministry engineers scrambled to refit looted facilities that were recently recaptured from Kurdish forces, according to a new report by Bloomberg . One anonymous source familiar with the issue said on Thursday that Kirkuk’s Bai Hassan and Avana oil fields remained shuttered. The two fields had produced 275,000 barrels per day before Iraq launched its offensive against Kurdistan – a semiautonomous region that voted to gain independence from Iraq in a referendum last month. The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline saw saw flows fall to 196,000 barrels a day on Thursday – down from 225,000 barrels per day the day before. Normal, non-wartime scenarios peg flow at 600,000 barrels per day, according to Bloomberg data Kirkuk is the center of the financial struggle between Baghdad and Erbil. Oil revenues from the oil fields could work as an economic engine for […]

Analysis: Business as usual for Iran oil exports as market eyes US sanctions threat

20 Oct 2017   Iran

The oil and shipping markets remain in limbo as the world awaits action from US Congress on sanctions targeting Iran, in the wake of President Donald Trump last week declaring Tehran noncompliant with the nuclear deal. Iran may have to discount oil if sanctions reimposed Asian importers might trim contracts Sanctions could affect tanker insurance With the deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, still in place for now, Iran continues to sell and ship oil internationally. Traders, brokers and shipowners say any reimposition of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector might take months, if not a few years, to be fully implemented, as this would require consensus among US policymakers as well as the skeptical international community, which has urged the US not to jeopardize the JCPOA. Even so, they are already eying potential consequences if the US snaps back sanctions or imposes other measures that prompt Iran […]

Kremlin oil major piles up investments in Iraq’s Kurdistan amid crisis

19 Oct 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russian state oil major Rosneft has agreed to invest $400 million in five oil blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan, increasing Moscow’s exposure to the semi-autonomous region despite a major spike in tensions with the central government in Baghdad. Rosneft has previously loaned Kurdistan $1.2 billion guaranteed by oil sales and is seeking to help Erbil build two major oil and gas pipelines as part of President Vladimir Putin’s drive to regain influence in the Middle East. The region plunged into a major crisis last month when Kurdistan held an independence referendum, which was immediately denounced by Baghdad and neighboring Iran and Turkey. In the build up to the referendum, only Israel supported Kurdish independence drive while Moscow stayed silent on the referendum – in […]

Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO

19 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

Aramco has asked FTI Consulting to suspend investor relations work on its upcoming initial public offering, according to unnamed sources who spoke to Reuters. The sources did not elaborate on the reasons the Saudi state energy company made the move, but one of them said this could now extend the responsibilities of another advisory firm, Brunswick. Aramco appointed FTI Consulting to advise it on the IPO in March this year and Brunswick joined it a couple of months later, to be in charge of external and media relations, while FTI was tasked with investor relations. The news comes amid growing doubts about whether the IPO will take place as scheduled and whether it will involve an international listing. Yesterday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Bloomberg that the IPO preparations were going according to plan, and that the listing would take place in the second half of 2018 as […]

Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields

19 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi has asked BP to develop the oil fields in oil-rich Kirkuk, just a day after Iraq’s government forces completed an operation to seize control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in Kirkuk. Al-Luiebi has asked the UK supermajor ‘‘to quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oilfields,” Reuters quoted a statement by Iraq’s Oil Ministry as saying on Wednesday. The ministry said in a separate statement that it would now proceed with development plans for the Kirkuk oil fields, and said it wanted to raise their production to more than 1 million bpd in “cooperation with one of the international companies.” Al-Luiebi “sent a request today for BP to quickly come in to begin studies and restart measures to develop the oil fields in Kirkuk province,” an oil ministry spokesman told the Financial Times on Wednesday. On the sidelines […]

Iraq Turmoil Threatens Billions in Oil Traders’ Kurd Deals

19 Oct 2017   Iraq

Kurdish Regional Government has borrowed about $3.5 billion Oil shipments fall after Baghdad reclaims disputed Kirkuk The crisis unfolding around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk has left some of the world’s largest commodity trading houses worried the country’s autonomous Kurdish region will struggle to repay billions of dollars in cash-for-oil loans. The approximately $3.5 billion in debts were going to be met with the roughly 500,000 to 600,000 barrels a day of crude that the northern region of Iraq was pumping, according to people familiar with the information, asking not to be named discussing private information. But output has now collapsed to about half that level after the federal government in Baghdad recaptured some oilfields that the Kurds seized in 2014. “It looks a bit uncertain whether production is going to carry on in the very short-term,” Ian Taylor, the chief executive of Vitol Group, the world’s largest independent […]

Trump’s Iran Decision Haunts Big Oil

19 Oct 2017   Iran

United States President Donald Trump’s decision to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal probably won’t have an immediate impact on oil prices, but the decision could plant the seeds of problems further down the road. That is because nothing happens right away—Trump kicked the decision to Congress . But he still significantly increases confrontation with Tehran, and is somewhat backing himself into a corner if Congress does nothing, or if Iran doesn’t offer concessions regarding its missile program—two scenarios that seem more likely than not. With little chance of making headway, Trump may leave himself with few options beyond escalation. Geopolitical risk has had very little influence on oil prices in the last three years due to the enormous glut of supply. But by 2018, the market will be much closer to balance, with inventories falling back to average levels. With tighter conditions, geopolitical risk will have greater salience. The […]

Khurmala in the crosshairs

19 Oct 2017   Iraq

KRG forces guard the Khurmala Dome oil facilities on Oct. 18, 2017. Kurdistan flags are still flying above the main entrance gate of the Khurmala Dome oil facility southwest of Erbil, while Kurdish forces are digging new trenches on the surrounding hilltops. In the face of a federal Iraqi military operation to reclaim control of Kirkuk province and other disputed territories, Kurdish forces have retreated from several oil-rich areas they controlled just a few days ago. Khurmala might be next.

Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd

19 Oct 2017   Iraq

The flow of crude oil through the Kurdistan pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan have plummeted to some 225,000 bpd, from a typical flow of around 600,000 bpd, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a shipping source. On Tuesday the crude oil flows were some 500,000 bpd, said the source who didn’t provide a specific reason for the sharp drop. Also on Tuesday, Iraqi government forces seized control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in the oil-rich Kirkuk region from Kurdish forces. Last week, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi ordered state-held oil and pipeline companies to begin restoring oil flows from Kirkuk to Ceyhan via a pipeline that bypasses Kurdistan, increasing pressure on the breakaway region that voted for independence last month in a referendum strongly opposed and deemed illegal and invalid by the federal government. But until that pipeline bypassing Kurdistan […]

Rosneft’s Sechin says in talks with Iran to trade oil

19 Oct 2017   Iran, Russia

Russia’s Rosneft has been in talks with Tehran to set up a supply chain to deliver oil from Iran and Central Asia nations to the global markets, Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s oil major Rosneft, said on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo Rosneft will forge a partnership with China’s CEFC firm in a number of projects including exploration, production, refining, oil and oil products trading, Sechin told an industry forum in Verona.

Iran ready to do business with U.S. oil and gas companies: minister

18 Oct 2017   Iran

Iran is ready to do business with U.S. oil and gas companies, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Tuesday, according to SHANA, the news site of the Iranian oil ministry. “American companies can come to Iran and benefit so Mr. Trump won’t be upset,” Zanganeh said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump, according to SHANA. “They’ve (the United States) put up obstacles for American companies to come to Iran,” he said. “We don’t have any restrictions for working or negotiating with American companies with the intention of developing the oil and gas resources of Iran. If they want, we are ready to negotiate with them tomorrow.” Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement last […]

Saudi Oil Minister Downplays Prospect of Aramco Abandoning IPO

18 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Doubts about the IPO of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., better known as Aramco, have grown in recent days as news organizations including The Wall Street Journal have reported that the kingdom may not go forward with the plan. The Journal reported last week that Aramco was interested in selling a stake to a private investor and that a Chinese company had made an offer. Asked if Saudi Arabia still planned a local listing for Aramco in Riyadh and an international listing, Mr. Falih said, “No change.” “You will know the venue and the exact date in due course,” said Mr. Falih, who also is Aramco’s chairman. Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s heir apparent, announced the IPO of up to 5% of Aramco in January 2016 and estimated the company’s […]

Goldman: U.S.-Iran Standoff Is A Long-Term Threat To Oil Supply

18 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

While the Kurdistan-Iraq standoff is a risk to shorter-term oil production, the increased tensions between neighboring Iran and the U.S. are a longer-term and bigger threat to global oil supplies, according to Goldman Sachs. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was officially withdrawing his certification of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, in what is being billed as part of a tougher strategy on Iran. President Trump passed the nuclear deal back to Congress to review and amend the law. “That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons,” President Trump said . The tougher stance from the U.S. may lead to more sanctions and to a prolonged tension between the U.S. and Iran. “In the case of Iran, there […]

Iraq Aims To Double Kirkuk Oil Output Capacity To More Than 1 MMbpd

18 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraq plans to contract a foreign oil company to almost double the oil production capacity of the northern Kirkuk fields, to more than one million barrels per day, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement on Tuesday. Luaibi, commenting on the Iraqi military operation that captured Kirkuk from Kurdish forces on Monday, said all the fields of the province have been returned to government control. He warned Kurdish authorities against blocking the Kirkuk oil export pipeline, saying they would face legal action. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, editing by Louise Heavens) Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Iraqi oil minister asks BP to develop Kirkuk oilfields, oil ministry says

18 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi has asked BP ‘‘to quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oifields,‘’ an oil ministry statement said on Wednesday.  Iraqi government forces on Monday took control of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk from Kurdish peshmerga fighters who had occupied the area in 2-14, in the course of the war on Islamic State. BP says on its website it has provided technical assistance in the past to the Iraqi state-owned North Oil Company to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field. Kirkuk is estimated to have around 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining, according to BP.

Kirkuk crisis redraws northern Iraq’s oil map

18 Oct 2017   Iraq

Federal forces are continuing a lightning advance to reassert control over Iraq’s disputed territories, including major oil fields formerly claimed by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Kurdish Peshmerga forces have withdrawn from not only Kirkuk, but also disputed territories in Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Diyala provinces, ceding control of oil-rich areas that have long been the subject of intractable political disputes and ethnic tension . This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Trump hostility set to deepen Iran power struggles

17 Oct 2017   Iran

Iranians quickly closed ranks against a hawkish new U.S. approach to Tehran, but Iran’s powerful hardliners are set to exploit the latest dispute with Washington to weaken domestic rivals who are open to the West, analysts and insiders say. President Donald Trump’s warning on Friday that he might ultimately terminate a landmark 2015 nuclear deal sets the stage for an eventual resurgence of political infighting within Iran’s complex power structures, officials said. If the accord signed by Iran and six major powers does start to fall apart, anyone who strongly promoted it, such as pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, could face a career-damaging backlash. That could leave Iran’s security hardliners unchallenged at home, enabling […]

Iraqi forces seize oil city Kirkuk from Kurds in bold advance

17 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk on Monday, responding to a Kurdish referendum on independence with a bold lightning strike that transforms the balance of power in the country. A convoy of armored vehicles from Iraq’s elite U.S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Force seized Kirkuk’s provincial government headquarters on Monday afternoon, less than a day after the operation began, a Reuters reporter in Kirkuk said. Neither side gave a casualty toll for the operation. But an aid group working in Kirkuk said several Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi soldiers had been killed in an overnight clash south of the city – the only serious fighting reported. As Iraqi forces advanced, Kurdish operators briefly shut some 350,000 barrels per day of oil output at two large Kirkuk fields, citing security concerns, oil ministry sources on both sides said. But production resumed shortly thereafter following […]

Amid fighting, Kurdish oil payments continue

17 Oct 2017   Iraq

The Kurdish government in Iraq made good on an agreement to distribute a share of the production revenue from an oil field, a Norwegian company said Monday. Norwegian oil and gas company DNO said it received $4 million from the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. The payment was the first under the terms of an Aug. 1 agreement that assigned DNO a greater stake in the Tawke oil field as well as 3 percent of revenues payable monthly for the next five years. The payment announcement is the second in as many weeks for DNO, which works alongside British energy company Genel at the Kurdish oil field. DNO reported a payment for oil exports last week. […]

Kurds’ independence dreams shattered as Iraqi tanks enter Kirkuk

17 Oct 2017   Iraq

A month ago, Iraq’s Kurds raised their hopes for independence after voting overwhelmingly ‘Yes’ to break away from Iraq in a contentious referendum. Now, those dreams appear shattered after Iraqi troops rolled into Kirkuk, ripped down the Kurdish banner and raised Iraq’s national flag. The oil-rich city, claimed by both the Kurds and Baghdad, was critical to the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ambitions for secession. Economically, Kirkuk’s oilfields were central to the Kurds’ dream of creating a viable Kurdish state. Emotionally, the ethnically-mixed city has long been claimed by Kurdish officials as the heart of Kurdistan. But as Iraqi tanks rumbled into Kirkuk on Monday, cheered by the city’s Turkmen and Arab minorities who have bristled under three years of Kurdish rule, the most dangerous possible outcome of the referendum bid may have emerged. Two regional forces, the Iraqi military and the Kurdish peshmerga, armed and trained by the US are now at loggerheads. And with Arab-Kurdish tensions running high, there is the risk of an escalating conflict in a region that has just shaken off the last territorial footholds of Isis, a battle that saw Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight side by side. In Baghdad, all eyes are now on the Kurdistan regional president, Masoud Barzani, and his ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which has loudly condemned the Iraqi advances and for days warned about the possibility of war. The party also claims that Iraqi Shia militias backed by US-rival Iran have been involved in the operation in Kirkuk. “Up to now, things are under control . . . but the next two days will be very dangerous. If the KDP chooses to escalate, this will really worsen,” an Iraqi official in Baghdad said.

Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO

17 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

Following an FT report from Friday, Saudi Aramco tweeted on Saturday that it had no intention of shelving its plan for an initial public offering in 2018. The company called the FT report “entirely speculative”. The FT on Friday quoted sources as saying the Saudi state energy company was considering foregoing a foreign listing, and instead opting for a private share sale in addition to the home-bourse listing. Talks with private investors and sovereign wealth funds have picked up in recent weeks, according to Financial Times sources. Private sales discussions have included the government of China. This is the second media report about Aramco’s much-hyped IPO that the company has been quick to reject. Last month, sources told Bloomberg the Saudi government had come up with contingency plans for a possible delay . The sources didn’t go into detail about what the drivers behind the delay could be. A […]

Saudi Aramco asks FTI Consulting to halt IPO investor relations work: sources

17 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

State-owned Saudi Aramco has asked FTI Consulting ( FCN.N ) to suspend its investor relations advisory work related to the oil company’s planned initial public offering, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at the Saudi Aramco stand at the Middle East Process Engineering Conference & Exhibition in Manama, Bahrain, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File photo Aramco brought in Brunswick to advice on media relations and appointed FTI Consulting to manage investor relations. It was not immediately clear why FTI was asked to suspend its work for Aramco, but one of the sources said the latest decision could broaden Brunswick’s role beyond media relations. FTI has been reporting to Aramco head of investor relations Fergus MacLeod, a former group head of strategic planning at BP. FTI and Brunswick declined to comment on Aramco’s move. Saudi Aramco did not […]

Is The Aramco IPO On The Brink Of Collapse?

17 Oct 2017   Saudi Arabia

In what could be a humiliating decision, Saudi Aramco is considering not staging an IPO next year as planned, due to the difficulty of pulling off an international listing. On Friday, the Financial Times reported that Aramco is weighing a different strategy: selling stakes in the company to private investors and sovereign wealth funds. No final decision has been made yet, but there are several potential paths forward, including a public listing on Saudi Arabia’s domestic stock exchange plus a private sale. Or a private sale followed by an international listing, but maybe not until 2019. Aramco officials tried to beat back the report, insisting that everything is moving forward as planned. “A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continue to be held under active review. No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track,” Saudi Aramco said in a statement, according […]

Iraq’s NOC vows to maintain Kirkuk oil flows after ousting Kurds

17 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company vowed to maintain continuity in production and exports of Iraq’s northern crude flows Monday after an advance by federal forces ousted Kurdish troops controlling parts of the key disputed oil region. Export flows to Ceyhan in ‘temporary’ dip Bai Hassan, Avana Dome pumping 280,000 b/d KRG pledges no interruption to oil flows The Iraqi army captured the headquarters of state-owned North Oil Co. from Kurdish Peshmerga forces early Monday and all NOC’s producing assets in the Kirkuk oil producing area, local sources said. Federal forces regained control of Kirkuk field’s southern Baba Dome as well as the Avana Dome and the nearby Bai Hassan field, Farid al-Jadir, the director general of the NOC, told S&P Global Platts. Of Kurdistan’s roughly 600,000 b/d average production from fields under its control, nearly half was produced from the Avana Dome and Bai Hassan fields, which the KRG […]

Violence as federal forces move further toward Kirkuk

16 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi federal forces and Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers began shelling each other on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk city early Monday, after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally announced that he had ordered an operation to retake military bases and other “federal installations” in Kirkuk province. “Commander-in-Chief Haider al-Abadi has instructed Iraqi Army, Federal Police, CTS to secure bases and federal installations in Kirkuk province,” the Iraqi Government said on its official Twitter account. CTS refers to the Iraqi Army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service. This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Iraq Says Advancing Forces Seize Kirkuk Refinery, Gas Plant

16 Oct 2017   Iraq

Oil exports flowing normally from Kirkuk and Kurdish fields Crude prices extend gains on concerns of supply disruption Iraqi forces moved to take over oil fields near the northern city of Kirkuk from Kurdish fighters and said they’ve captured a refinery and other facilities in the petroleum-rich province. Crude exports from the disputed area were flowing normally on Monday. State-run Iraqiya television said the Iraqi military has also captured a gas plant and a main road in Kirkuk, which has emerged as a flashpoint in the power struggle between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Kirkuk’s oil fields and deposits inside the adjacent Kurdish region were exporting about 600,000 barrels a day through a Kurd-controlled pipeline to Turkey, according to a person familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Iraqi troops and allied militias are advancing on Kirkuk, […]

Iraqi forces capture North Oil Co. from Kurdish forces; no disruption to oil production

16 Oct 2017   Iraq

Iraqi on Monday forces captured the headquarters for the North Oil Company, northwest of Kirkuk, and a nearby refinery from Kurdish forces, without fighting, an Iraqi oil official said. Iraq forces moved into the premises of Iraqi state-owned North Oil after taking the nearby K1 airbase, the Kirkuk-based official told Reuters. They were also deploying in the nearby Baba Gurgur field and the North Oil refinery. Oil and natural gas production from the Kirkuk region is proceeding normally despite the ongoing Iraqi military operation to seize the region form Kurdish forces, another Iraqi Oil Ministry official told Reuters in Baghdad. ”Kurdish leaders we consider as our brothers have agreed to hand over control of North Oil and North Gas company facilities who belong to the state,‘’ said a military commander involved in the operation. “We have an agreement with some Kurdish leaders that the oil […]

Iraq says captures positions south of Kirkuk including airbase

16 Oct 2017   Iraq

 Iraqi forces captured several positions south of Kirkuk from Kurdish fighters on Monday in their bid to regain control of the oil-rich city, which is part of a region that declared itself independent at a referendum last month. Members of Iraqi federal forces enter oil fields in Kirkuk, Iraq October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer The territory captured included a key airbase called K1, the North Gas Company station, a nearby processing plant, a power plant and the industrial district, an Iraqi military statement said. The Iraqi armed “forces are continuing to advance,” it said. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) did not confirm the capture of these positions but major Kurdish TV channel Rudaw said Kurdish Peshmerga forces retreated form positions south of Kirkuk. The city of Kirkuk is under Kurdish control but the advance of Iraqi forces to the industrial zone put them in control its southern […]

Iran says Trump’s nuclear deal policy not to have high impact on oil prices: TV

16 Oct 2017   Iran

President Donald Trump’s hardened stance on a multinational nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers will not have much impact on global oil prices, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told state TV on Sunday. FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo Trump refused on Friday to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors say it is. He warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

Trump Just Made Iran A Wildcard

16 Oct 2017   Iran

American President Donald Trump has officially decertified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran deal, while hitting Iranian power players—especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—with a new list of sanctions. Trump’s long-awaited statement on his confrontation with Iran could cause a watershed in the regional power structure of the Middle East. After calling the Iranian nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever”, Trump has now followed through on his statement by decertifying the JCPOA agreement and supporting the anti-Iran coalition in the Arab world. The new strategy toward Iran is largely designed to target Tehran’s main power player, the IRGC, a branch of the armed forces that controls between 30-60 percent of the country’s economy via ownership of many businesses, including some in the oil industry. Trump’s decision will also impact America’s European partners. The majority of European countries still want to support the JCPOA, as European partners […]

South Korea’s September Iranian crude oil imports rise to six-month high

16 Oct 2017   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil hit the highest level in six months in September amid Iran’s push to regain its lost market share during years it was under sanctions over its nuclear program. The world’s fifth-biggest crude importer shipped in 1.83 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in September, or 446,148 barrels per day (bpd). That is a 22.8 percent increase from nearly 1.5 million tonnes a year ago, customs data showed on Sunday. South Korea mainly buys an ultra-light oil from Iran, also known as condensate, but the data does not provide a breakdown of imports. Iran has continued to expand its oil production since sanctions were lifted last year. The Middle Eastern country aims to maintain its combined exports of crude and condensate at around 2.6 million bpd for the rest of the year, even though Tehran had cleared excess oil […]

U.S. sanctions to complicate, not disrupt, Iran oil trade

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

A looming ramp-up in U.S. sanctions on Tehran will further spook potential buyers of Iranian oil although supplies to Europe will most likely remain uninterrupted, top trading houses told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit this week. FILE PHOTO: A security personnel looks on at oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300km (186 miles) east of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to take a major step against the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, marking a more aggressive approach to Iranian activities in the Middle East. Trump will lay out his plan in a 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT)speech at the White House, the product of weeks of internal discussions between him and his national security team. Any big increase in sanctions will effectively leave the oil market where it […]

Trump’s Wrangling With Tehran Raises Alarm Bells for Multinationals in Iran

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran’s South Pars facility. Total struck a $1 billion deal in July that gave it access to the giant gas field. Mr. Trump said Friday he won’t recertify the 2015 international deal struck with Tehran , which lifted sanctions in exchange for promises by Iran to curtail its nuclear program. He also vowed to cancel the deal himself if Congress and U.S. allies don’t act to address his concerns about the accord. The moves stopped short of pulling the U.S. out of the deal. But they send the clearest signal yet that the Trump administration is serious about considering reimposing sanctions, raising the risk for companies doing business in Iran of falling foul of such restrictions. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the steps announced Friday shouldn’t affect American firms that have applied for special licenses to do business authorized under the nuclear deal. Boeing Co. BA -0.34% […]

World powers hit back at Trump over repudiating Iran nuclear deal

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

International powers that signed the nuclear deal with Iran have hit back strongly at President Donald Trump’s repudiation of the landmark pact. Germany, France, the UK and Russia rallied together with the EU late on Friday in support of an agreement they said boosted international security by stopping Iran from building atomic weapons.  “We can’t afford as an international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that’s working and delivering — especially now,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said in Brussels. “It’s not a bilateral agreement. It doesn’t belong to any single country — and it’s not up to one single country to terminate it.”

The leaders of France, Germany and the UK said in a joint statement that they were all “committed” to the deal and were “concerned by the possible implications” of Mr Trump’s refusal to recertify it. President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Theresa May, the UK prime minister, urged the Trump administration and the US Congress to “consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies” before taking steps that might further undermine the deal. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said that Mr Trump’s position was “extremely troubling”, RIA news agency reported. Moscow now saw its main task as preventing the nuclear deal from collapsing, Mr Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Interview: Trump’s Iran decision sends powerful risk signal to oil market

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump Friday officially renounced the Iran nuclear agreement, yet urged Congress to remain in the deal as he asked lawmakers to ultimately decide its fate. Elizabeth Rosenberg, a sanctions expert, also spoke Friday with S&P Global Platts on the impact Trump’s announcement may have on oil flows, global energy sector investment and Congress’ most likely path forward. Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security and a former senior advisor at the US Treasury Department. The interview was edited for brevity and clarity. PLATTS: What is the near-term impact, if any, that Trump’s decision to disavow the Iran deal will have on the global oil market? ROSENBERG: Though I think this was widely expected, this confirmation really sends a very powerful signal of risk to the market. I think many people have […]

Trump Disavows Iran Deal: What’s at Stake for Oil Markets

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal. (Bloomberg) — Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as U.S. President Donald Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal that eased sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest crude producer. In a speech Friday, Trump stopped short of abandoning the nuclear agreement but said he would impose new sanctions on Iran, particularly its Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the armed forces that owns many businesses including in the oil industry. The move won’t immediately curb the flow of some 2.3 million barrels of daily Iranian crude exports — more than three times the amount of oil the U.S. has sold abroad over the past year. For energy producers, however, the administration’s more confrontational approach does raise the risk of […]

Lebanon gets two bids for offshore gas exploration

14 Oct 2017   Lebanon

Lebanese ambitions to draw investors to its offshore reserve potential, notably for natural gas, brought in only two bids, the government reported. Lebanon in January filed a request to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a body that aims to cast light on how countries manage their oil, gas and mineral resources. Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said that, as the country opens itself up to foreign energy investors, accountability was essential. Decrees put forward by the Lebanese government outline a model for revenue sharing, something that derailed previous efforts to court foreign investors. The Lebanese government estimates there are 95 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 750 million barrels of oil in its territorial waters. Khalil said […]