BP Returns to a Northern Iraq Now Free of Islamic State

19 Jan 2018   Iraq

BP PLC will return to northern Iraq for the first time since Islamic State swept through the region three years ago, potentially heralding a new era of stability in one of the world’s most dangerous energy-production provinces. The move thrusts BP back into a volatile region that it fled along with Iraqi forces in 2014 as Islamic State approached. Iraqi Kurds, who have a semi-autonomous region of the country nearby, defended and held Kirkuk and its oil fields for about three years but quickly ceded them in October when Iraqi forces moved in after vanquishing Islamic State. BP’s decision marks another step toward normality for oil companies working in northern Iraq . Chevron Corp. said Wednesday it would resume drilling in the area controlled by […]

BP is back in Kirkuk

19 Jan 2018   Iraq

A memorandum of understanding promises to re-start BP’s reservoir studies, and could lead to a long-term development deal. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi signs an MoU for BP to study the Kirkuk field on Jan. 18, 2017, at the North Oil Company headquarters, as BP President for Middle East Michael Townshend looks to the cameras. Seated next to Lueibi is Kirkuk Gov. Rakan al-Jabouri. Seated next to Townshend is BP Head of Country Zaid Elyaseri, and behind Townshend is Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedy, the director general of the ministry’s Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate. (KAMARAN AL-NAJAR/Iraq Oil Report) KIRKUK – BP is primed to return to Kirkuk, after signing a memorandum of understanding Thursday. The agreement paves the way for the British super-major to resume a reservoir study, which began in 2013 but was interrupted a year later when the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group took over much of […]

Iraq pushes electricity reform, prompting protests

18 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraq’s 2018 budget is delayed – tangled in political arguments over funding for post-war reconstruction, the development of Basra province, and revenue-sharing with Kurdistan. Yet the country would have enough money to satisfy many demands of its haggling lawmakers, if only they could fix a problem that is mostly absent from their budget debates: the electricity sector.

Iraq Is Troubling The Oil Majors

18 Jan 2018   Iraq

The oil majors are heading in opposite directions when it comes to investing in oil in the war-torn country, a sign of how differently they view the relative risk. Chevron said on Tuesday that it would return to Iraqi Kurdistan in the north, and begin drilling again. The fact that Chevron is willing to roll the dice on Kurdistan suggests that tension between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad has somewhat subsided since the independence vote last year, which set off serious confrontation between the two sides. The campaign for independence backfired on the KRG — the Iraqi government sent in its military to reclaim the oil fields in and around Kirkuk, which the Kurds had seized after ISIS burst onto the scene in 2014. After Iraq took control over those fields, there was an interruption in oil exports through the Kurdish pipeline to Turkey, helping to push […]

Iraq, BP to sign deal to boost Kirkuk oil production capacity

18 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraq aims to sign a deal with BP on Thursday to boost production capacity from the northern Kirkuk oilfields, which were taken back in October by Iraqi government forces, an Iraqi oil official said. Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi will attend the ceremony to sign the agreement at the offices of Iraqi state-run North Oil Company which operates the fields, he told Reuters.  Iraq had asked BP to boost Kirkuk’s output capacity to more than 700,000 barrels per day, more than twice existing capacity, days after Iraqi forces dislodged Kurdish fighters from the area.

Oil exports from the field, transported by pipeline to Turkey, came to a halt after the Iraqi military operation, which was in retaliation to an independence referendum held on Sept. 25 by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).  Iraq plans to start trucking crude from Kirkuk to Iran at the end of the month. In October, Luaibi held talks with BP’s president for the Middle East region, Michael Townshend, on reactivating a deal signed in 2013 with the firm to help Baghdad halt a huge decline in output from Kirkuk. The KRG took control of the Kirkuk region in 2014, when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State’s sweeping advance in northern and western Iraq. The Kurdish move prevented the fields from falling into the hands of the militants.  Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, still estimated to contain about 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to BP.  BP has provided technical assistance in the past to the North Oil to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field.

Moody’s: Oil is Iraq’s blessing and its curse

17 Jan 2018   Iraq

 Iraq is one of the few countries assessed where political risk is a real concern for an economy pegged heavily to the price for crude oil, Moody’s said Tuesday Moody’s Investors Service in an outlook published Tuesday on the economies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia said the situation was relatively good, compared with the risks permeating out of the Arab Spring uprisings that started in Tunisia in December 2010 and spread through the region. Nearly a decade later, Moody’s said ongoing structural reforms, a gradual regional re-opening and planned reconstruction programs were driving general gains in gross domestic product for the region in 2019. “From among all the sovereigns we rate, Iraq is […]

Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan

17 Jan 2018   Iraq

Chevron expects to restart drilling in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq and is taking steps to remobilize staff and equipment, The Wall Street Journal quoted a Chevron spokeswoman as saying on Tuesday, in what could be a sign that the Iraq-Kurdistan tensions may have eased. Following the Kurdistan region’s independence referendum and Iraq’s federal government backlash against Kurdistan, Chevron temporarily suspended drilling in the region in October 2017. Chevron has had operations in Kurdistan since 2012. The U.S. oil supermajor operates and holds an 80-percent stake in the Sarta production-sharing contract (PSC) and the Qara Dagh PSC. The two blocks cover a combined area of 279,000 net acres. According to Chevron’s website, the U.S. company completed a second exploration well in the Sarta block at the beginning of 2016 and was planning further evaluation of the block. Chevron “expects to restart our drilling operations at our Sarta 3 […]

Iraq nears oil output capacity of 5 million bpd, says committed to OPEC cuts

13 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Saturday that the OPEC member’s oil output capacity is near reaching 5 million barrels per day, but the country will remain in full compliance with its output target under a global pact to cut supplies. Luaibi, who was speaking at an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, also said that his ministry plans to conclude three contracts with international gas companies by mid-2018 to utilize gas from the south of the country. He said that by 2021, the country plans to “reach zero gas flaring”. Iraq is forced to flare some of the gas produced alongside crude oil as it lacks the facilities needed to capture and process it into usable fuel.

Iraq says 26 companies allowed to bid for oil, gas blocks in border areas

12 Jan 2018   Iraq

The Iraqi oil ministry said on Friday 26 companies have qualified to bid for oil and gas blocks in border areas. Five companies qualified recently to take part in the bidding round, alongside 21 others already selected, the ministry said in a statement. In November Iraq invited foreign companies to bid for contracts to explore and develop oil and natural gas reserves in nine new blocks as the OPEC nation seeks to boost its output capacity. The bidding terms will be finalized by the end of May and the ceremony to open the bids will be held on June 21.

Shell Sells Stake In Iraqi Oil Field To Japan’s Itochu

11 Jan 2018   Iraq, Japan

Royal Dutch Shell has sold its 20-percent stake in Iraq’s West Qurna-1 oil field to Japan’s Itochu Corporation, and Iraq has approved the transaction, a senior Iraqi oil official told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. “Shell sold its stake in West Qurna 1 to Itochu and the oil ministry approved it. We met with Itochu and discussed the required financial investments and operations at the field,” Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, the head of Iraq’s state-run Basra Oil Company (BOC), told Reuters. The operator and lead contractor at the West Qurna-1 oil field is ExxonMobil, which had agreed in 2010 to rehabilitate the field together with its co-venturers the Oil Exploration Company of Iraq and Shell’s affiliate, Shell West Qurna BV. In September last year, Shell said that it was in the process of selling its stake in West Qurna-1. Shell has also said that it wants out of the […]

Oil Ministry rebuffs Parliament order against KAR

10 Jan 2018   Iraq

Despite a non-binding Parliament vote, the ministry indicated it will take a practical approach to continue working with the Iraqi Kurdish company enmeshed in northern Iraq’s oil sector. Acting Kirkuk Gov. Rakan Saed al-Jabouri meets with Deputy Oil Minister Karim Hattab and Director General of North Oil Company Farid al-Jadir on Jan. 8, 2018. (Source: Kirkuk governor’s office) The Oil Ministry is downplaying a non-binding Parliament directive that seeks to bar the Iraqi government from working with the Kurdish company KAR Group – a sign that the order will not have immediate impact on government policy. “The ministry respects the decision that the Parliament has made,” the ministry’s media office said in a statement on Tuesday. “It also hopes that all sides can present realistic solutions for the problems and the crises… as opposed to those that might create other crises and problems that we want to avoid.” This […]

Iraq calls for swift refinery implementation

9 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraqi oil ministry said a Maysan oil refinery contract should be executed within the next 30 days. File photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock Jan. 8 (UPI) — The implementation of an oil refinery project designed for 150,000 barrels of oil per day should start in the next 30 days, the Iraqi oil ministry said. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said the execution of a refinery project in eastern Maysan project should start within the next 30 days, according to a pledge made to the government. According to Luabi’s ministry, if the contract isn’t implemented in time, it would be cancelled. According to the strategic plans laid out by the ministry, the Maysan refinery would handle 150,000 bpd and raise the production of all oil products for Iraq. “It is worthy to say that the ministry of oil presented many projects of building refineries to be invested by the global companies […]

Iraq Bans Kurdish Firm From Operating Kirkuk Oil Fields

9 Jan 2018   Iraq

After Iraq’s federal forces recaptured the oil fields in Kirkuk in October, the Iraqi Parliament voted on Monday to ban Kurdish engineering company Kar Group from operating Kirkuk’s oil fields. Baghdad—which never recognized the legitimacy of the Kurdistan region’s referendum at end-September—moved in October to take control over the oil-rich area around Kirkuk. In mid-October, Iraqi government forces seized the oil fields around Kirkuk, which had been under Kurdish control since 2014. The military maneuver knocked some 350,000 bpd of crude oil production offline, and led to oil prices spiking on concerns of unstable supply from the region. The Iraq-Kurdistan conflict was the first of a series of geopolitical events in the Middle East (the other being the Saudi purge) that pushed Brent oil prices above $60 a barrel toward the end of October. Now Iraqi lawmakers say that Kar Group is refusing to collaborate with Iraqi state-held North […]

Iraq Bans Kurdish Firm Kar Group From Operating Kirkuk Oilfields

9 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraq’s parliament voted on Monday to ban Kurdish engineering firm Kar Group from operating Kirkuk’s oilfields, following Iraq’s recapture of the Kurdish-held oil region in October. The Kurds have withdrawn from most Kirkuk oilfields since October but the vote came after lawmakers said the Kar Group refused to cooperate with Iraq’s state-run North Oil Co. (NOC) and hand back the Khurmala oilfield. The Kurds claim Khurmala is located inside the official boundaries of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government KRG. Kar Group could not be immediately reached for comment.

Parliament also authorised NOC to take over production and export operations at the field. That will potentially increase Iraq’s oil production and crude exports, although it was unclear by how much. In addition, parliament requested the Iraqi central bank to track down cash deposited at banks outside Iraq that had been generated from Kurdish oil exports. It asked the central bank to draft a detailed report on the names of banks used to deposit the cash.

Iraqi government forces captured the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk on Oct. 16 last year, and took over the northern region’s oilfields, in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers. The move to ban Kar Group follows financial restrictions imposed by Baghdad in retaliation for the Kurdish referendum, including a ban on direct international flights to and from the Kurdish region and closing the border crossings. Kirkuk crude sales have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields in October. Kar Group had been operating some of the Kirkuk oilfields since Kurdish forces took control of the city in 2014, when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State.

Parliament votes to oust KAR from Kirkuk

9 Jan 2018   Iraq

The non-binding directive against the Iraqi Kurdish oil firm KAR Group further weakens the prospect of renewed Baghdad-Erbil oil cooperation. Iraqi security forces at the Bai Hassan oil field on Oct. 19, 2017. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report) BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Parliament issued a non-binding directive Monday to prevent the Kurdish company KAR Group from continuing any work in Kirkuk oil fields. The measure does not legally require the government to take any action, but it passed with broad support, indicating a political climate in Baghdad that remains hostile to the prospect of reconciliation with the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). 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 to export Kirkuk oil to Iran before end-January: Iraqi oil minister

8 Jan 2018   Iran, Iraq

Iraq will start exporting oil from the northern Kirkuk fields to Iran before the end of January, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi told reporters on Sunday in Baghdad. About 30,000 barrels per day of crude will be trucked to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery in the first instance, he said. ‘‘God willing, we will start before the end of the month,‘’ he added. Trucking crude to Iran comes under a swap agreement announced last month by the two countries to allow a resumption of oil exports from Kirkuk. Iraq and Iran have agreed to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of crude produced from Kirkuk for Iranian oil to be delivered to southern Iraq, Luaibi said last month. Kirkuk crude sales have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds in October. Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk in 2014, when […]

Iraqi Oil Exports Grow On Strong Asian Demand

6 Jan 2018   Iraq

It is both the best and worst of times for the current Iraqi oil market. Iraqi oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said this week that Iraqi oil fields in the south of the country had recorded an ‘unprecedented’ surge in daily exports from Basrah during the last month. All the while, loadings in Ceyhan, Turkey, of crude from the Kirkuk pipeline in the north of the country continue to remain in check amid regional unrest. December monthly loadings from Basrah were strong, although not unprecedented, according to our vessel-tracking, vessel lineups and port agent data – reaching their highest monthly level in 2017. While loadings bound for the U.S. hovered around half a million barrels per day for a second month, the most interesting development came from those flows heading east of Suez. East Asia has traditionally been the largest market for southern Iraqi crude barrels, with China leading the […]

U.S. Firms Interested In Boosting Oil, Gas Presence In Iraq

5 Jan 2018   Iraq, USA

U.S. companies are eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iraq in all industry sectors, especially in oil and gas, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said on Thursday after U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, met with Iraq Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi. Al-Luiebi invited U.S. companies to take part in tenders called by the Iraqi oil ministry, and said that Iraq was preparing more favorable work conditions for foreign companies investing and doing business in Iraq. The two U.S. supermajors, ExxonMobil and Chevron, already have operations in parts of Iraq. Exxon signed an agreement in 2010 with Iraq’s South Oil Company to redevelop and rehabilitate the West Qurna I oil field in southern Iraq. In 2013, Exxon signed agreements with PetroChina and Pertamina for participating interest in the West Qurna I project. In October 2011, Exxon signed six Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) covering more than 848,000 acres in the Kurdistan […]

KRG exports tick up in December

5 Jan 2018   Iraq

Kurdistan’s fourth-quarter exports plummeted after Baghdad’s takeover of Kirkuk-area fields, but independent oil sales have risen modestly due to recent production increases. Oil tanks at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS). (UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters) Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region averaged slightly more than 304,000 barrels per day (bpd) of independent oil exports from Turkey’s Ceyhan port in December, an eight percent increase over November. Slight production upticks in a handful of fields accounted for the rising exports. 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 .

Record year for Iraq oil exports

3 Jan 2018   Iraq

Iraqi oil exports from the Basra Gulf in December set yet another record, capitalizing on a steady uptick in crude prices and capping a breakout year in the oil sector for the federal government. Iraq’s average 3.535 million barrels per day (bpd) of exports in December was the fourth straight month of increasing loadings, according to preliminary data from the Oil Ministry released Tuesday, leaving Iraq with a record 3.309 million bpd average for the year.

Iraq forms panel to operate Majnoon field

28 Dec 2017   Iraq

The Iraqi government is forming an executive committee to operate giant Majnoon oil field after the withdrawal of Royal Dutch Shell (OGJ Online, Oct. 30, 2017).  Shell holds a 45% interest in the service contract. State-owned Petronas of Malaysia, with a 30% interest, confirmed it, too, will withdraw from the development, according to press reports.  The field, in southern Iraq, produces about 220,000 b/d of oil.  Oil Minister Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi said the government will maintain plans to raise Majnoon output to more than 400,000 b/d.

Also in southern Iraq, national companies led by Thi-Qar Oil Co. will develop Nasiriya oil field in Thi-Qar Governate, Al-Luiebi said.  The aim is to raise production to more than 200,000 b/d. Capacity is now 90,000 b/d, according to Al-Luiebi.  The minister also said experimental production has begun at the rate of 20,000 b/d from Sabba oil field in Thi-Qar Governate. Thi-Qar Oil and Basrah Oil Co. are developing the field, which was discovered in 1950.  The first Sabba well was drilled in 1975. Three more wells were drilled in 1977 and 1979.

Oil Market Will Rebalance By March: Iraqi Minister

27 Dec 2017   Iraq, OPEC

With what has now become habitual optimism, the Iraqi oil minister, Jabar al Luaibi, said he expected the global oil market to rebalance by the end of the first quarter of 2018. That’s despite Iraq’s own inability to reach the production quota assigned it by the cartel last year. “I am optimistic, and during the first quarter of next year there will be more balance between supply and demand, which will reflect positively on improving global oil prices,” Al Luaibi told media, noting that global crude oil inventories had already been reduced to more palpable levels from a massive overhang in 2014. The minister, however, acknowledged that a further rise in U.S. oil production this month “might” have an effect on prices. That statement comes after earlier this month Al Luaibi said he expected Iraq’s oil production to hit 5 million bpd in the first quarter of 2018: around […]

KRG forced into dire measures, trimming Peshmerga salaries

22 Dec 2017   Iraq

Kurdistan’s Cabinet is enforcing new cuts to the salaries of its armed forces as part of the austerity measures to cope with the financial crisis that has recently deepened due to a loss in oil revenues. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) adopted a new payroll system in 2016 and introduced significant cuts in the salaries of government employees, as independent oil exports were not enough to offset the double hit from the drop in the global oil price and increased cost of providing services after the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) group’s invasion in 2014.

Iraq oil ministry starts taking over Majnoon oilfield operations

21 Dec 2017   Iraq

Iraq’s oil ministry said on Thursday it had started to take over operations of Majnoon oilfield from Royal Dutch Shell and planned to lift output in future. The ministry said it had formed a management team to handle production after Shell exits the field by the end of June. “The priority of the new management team is to cut the cost of producing a barrel (of crude) from Majnoon by 30 percent,” Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement. Iraq plans to increase output from Majnoon to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the “coming years”, the ministry said, without giving a precise timeline. Production is now about 235,000 bpd, oil officials say. A letter signed by the minister, dated Aug. 23 and seen by Reuters, gave approval for the Anglo-Dutch firm to quit Majnoon, a major oilfield near Basra which started production in 2014. […]

Protestors Demand Kurdish Officials To Step Down

20 Dec 2017   Iraq

Tension in Kurdistan is again high as Kurdish protestors have been demanding for two days that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) quit, in the latest fallout from the independence referendum in September, which angered Iraq’s federal government that moved on to reclaim Kurdish-held Kirkuk and the oil fields around it. Protesters have set fire to offices of Kurdish parties, demanding the KRG pay the wages of public servants, some of whom have not received their salaries in years. Last week, the KRG and the Kurdistan Parliament agreed that “priority should be given to securing the salaries of the public-sector employees, conducting reforms and auditing in the payroll systems of the Region.” According to Kurdish outlet Rudaw , casualties have been reported in Sulaymaniyah, where the protests began on Monday, after protesters clashed with riot police. In a town northwest of Sulaymaniyah, party buildings of the five biggest Kurdish parties […]

Protests in Kurdistan turn violent

20 Dec 2017   Iraq

At least four people have been killed, dozens injured and numerous political party offices burned across Iraqi Kurdistan as protestors railed for a second day over a lack of public services and payment delays, including cuts to Peshmerga salaries. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Peshmerga leaders have urged protesters to refrain from violence, a day after intense clashes with guards outside a power plant in Chemchemal.

Iraq Employs Drones To Monitor Oil Pipelines

19 Dec 2017   Iraq

The Iraqi government announced plans to use drones to monitor and protect its export and production pipelines in the first quarter of next year. Reuters reported on Monday that Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi is looking for professional security companies that can supply Iraq with drones. The Iraqi government is concerned about the security of its oil facilities. The bulk of Iraq’s exports move through a handful of terminals on Iraq’s narrow Persian Gulf coast, making its exports vulnerable to attack from other countries or militant groups. Iraqi authorities said that the drones will allow Iraq’s military to keep a continuous watch over its oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters of the Persian Gulf. The idea of using drones is not exactly new one. Back in 2012 , Iraq said it would use unmanned drones to help protect its southern oil platforms, following the withdrawal of the American troops. However, […]

Tensions rise over Khurmala

19 Dec 2017   Iraq

 The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is warning that federal Iraqi security forces are preparing to launch a new offensive, which could spark a battle for control of the Khurmala Dome of the Kirkuk oil field. “We are alarmed by significant Iraqi military buildup in the vicinity of Makhmour… in preparation for an attack on nearby Peshmerga positions,” the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said in a statement Monday.

Iraq Begins To Rebuild Largest Refinery

16 Dec 2017   Iraq

Iraq began to rebuild its largest oil refinery this week, jumpstarting an effort to reconstruct the country after a three-year war with the terroristic Islamic State, an announcement from the oil ministry said . The Baiji complex should produce 70,000 barrels of oil per day upon completion, ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told reporters on Thursday. The facility, originally constructed in 1975, is currently completely offline and refined between 250,000 to 300,000 barrels per day before it was seized by ISIS in 2014. “The rehabilitation will allow the distribution of refined products for the north of the country and reduce our imports,” said Jihad. Baiji is strategically located along Highway 1, which runs from Baghdad to Rabia, a border town in the North West of Iraq. It is only 111 kilometers from Kirkuk and therefore encroaches on the oil concessions that have been granted by the KRG to international oil […]

Iraq’s Kirkuk refinery completes capacity expansion

15 Dec 2017   Iraq

North Refineries Co. (NRC), a subsidiary of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, has commissioned a 13,000-b/d crude distillation unit (CDU) at its refinery in Kirkuk, lifting overall processing capacity at the site to more than 50,000 b/d. The unit, which entered operation in mid-December, follows commissioning of another 10,000-b/d CDU earlier in the year, the ministry said in a release. With startup of the two units now completed, the refinery is operating at a capacity of 56,000 b/d, the ministry said.

The new CDUs join the refinery’s original three CDUs, each of which have a crude processing capacity of 10,000 b/d.  Upon announcing startup of the refinery’s fourth CDU in March, NRC only planned the recently commissioned fifth CDU to have a processing capacity of 10,000 b/d, the ministry said in a Mar. 8 release.  The ministry did not disclose details regarding a source of the additional 3,000 b/d capacity to account for the discrepancy between the expanded refinery’s apparent 53,000-b/d nameplate and 56,000-b/d operating capacities.

The largest of Iraq’s state-owned refiners, NRC also completed rehabilitation and restart of its 14,000-b/d Qalarah, 16,000-b/d Haditha, and 30,000-b/d Sainia refineries earlier this year, the ministry said.  Despite financial hardship as the country continues to rebuild, develop, and further expand its oil and gas industry, Iraq has announced a host of proposed downstream expansions and greenfield projects during the past year, according to a series of ministry releases.  Including the 140,000-b/d refinery in southern Karbala Province already under construction, these projects are part of Iraq’s longer-term plan to construct four refineries to add 750,000 b/d of refining capacity. The additional planned projects include a 300,000-b/d Nassiriya refinery as well as refineries in Maysan and Kirkuk (

Petrofac Secures Almost $1B in New Contracts

14 Dec 2017   Iraq

Oil and gas services company Petrofac has secured almost $1 billion in new contracts from Basra Oil Company (BOC) and BP plc. Petrofac announced Wednesday that its Engineering & Production Services (EPS) division had won a contract worth $160 million from Basra Oil Company (BOC), previously known as South Oil Company, for its Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP). The facility is located 60 kilometres offshore the Al Fao Peninsula in Southern Iraq. It comprises a central metering and manifold platform and four Single Point Moorings which facilitate oil export onto awaiting crude carrier tankers. The BOC award followed Petrofac’s announcement on Tuesday that it had been awarded a lump-sum contract worth approximately $800 million by BP for work on the Phase 2 central processing facility (CPF) at the Khazzan Phase 2 (Ghazeer) gas development in the Sultanate of Oman. This project comprises the addition of a third […]

Mysterious militants raise new fears of insurgency

14 Dec 2017   Iraq

A new armed group has appeared in northern Iraq, causing locals to fear that IS is regrouping and re-branding for guerrilla warfare.  A mysterious armed group has emerged in remote areas of Iraq’s disputed territories, giving rise to anxieties that a new era of Islamic State-inspired insurgency is in the making. Local leaders and Iraqi intelligence and security officials claim they have identified some members of the new group as former residents of nearby towns, who are known to have been members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Contracts awarded for Iraqi oil export terminal overhaul

14 Dec 2017   Iraq

London-listed oil and gas services company Petrofac said Wednesday it secured a $160 million contract to help overhaul a southern Iraqi oil port. The company said it secured the contract from Basra Oil Co., known previously as South Oil Co., for an expansion project from a terminal about 40 miles off the southern coast that’s responsible for nearly all of what Iraq exports. The contract involves infrastructure that facilitates crude oil tankers waiting to load oil, more than 180 miles of new pipelines and a mile of associated hose infrastructure. To date, the company said it’s facilitated the export of more than 2.2 billion barrels of oil for Iraq. Petrofrac secured a $70 million contract from the Iraqi company early […]

Iraq-Iran Oil Swap Deal To Run For 1 Year

12 Dec 2017   Iran, Iraq

The oil swap deal that Iraq and Iran agreed to last week will run for one year and is subject to renegotiation, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Jabbar al Luaibi told media. The deal envisages the swap of up to 60,000 bpd of crude oil, with the Iraqi oil coming from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq, which until recently was under the effective control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. After the Iraqi offense against Kurdistan following an independence referendum that Baghdad rejected, the central government of the country resumed control of the Kirkuk field, but no oil flowed from it. Now, Baghdad will transport between 30,000 and 60,000 bpd of Kirkuk crude by tanker trucks to the border with Iran, at Kermanshah. In exchange, Iran will supply the same amount of similar-grade crude to Iraq’s southern ports. In the future, the partners plan to build a new pipeline from the […]

Iraq oil minister says Kirkuk oil swap deal with Iran is for one year

11 Dec 2017   Iran, Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Sunday that a deal signed with Tehran to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of crude produced from the northern Iraqi Kirkuk oilfield for Iranian oil is for one year and subject to renewal. The agreement signed on Friday by the two OPEC countries provides for Iran to deliver to Iraq’s southern ports, on the Gulf, “oil of the same characteristics and in the same quantities” as those it would receive from Kirkuk. “This is an agreement for one year and then we will see after that whether to renew it,” Luaibi told reporters in Kuwait City on the sidelines of an Arab oil ministerial meeting. The deal in effect allows Iraq to resume sales of […]

2018 budget faces opposition, delays

9 Dec 2017   Iraq

Kurdish, Sunni and Basrawi MPs are the most vocal critics of the draft budget, claiming inadequate revenue sharing despite slightly increased overall spending. Iraq’s Cabinet has sent a 2018 draft budget to the Parliament, where legislators say they will struggle to pass it before the end of the year. The draft calls for $88 billion* in government spending, a slight increase over 2017, and anticipates higher oil revenues, based on a projected 3.888 million barrels per day (bpd) of exports and an average oil price of $46 per barrel

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More oil found in the Kurdish north of Iraq

5 Dec 2017   Iraq

Though it’s too early to make any estimate on the reserve potential, British energy company Genel said it found more oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Genel has a 44 percent working interest in the Taq Taq field inside Kurdish territory in northern Iraq alongside Norwegian oil company DNO. The company said the results at the TT-29w appraisal well at the northern ridge of that field encountered oil. Genel said production started at a preliminary rate of 3,200 barrels of oil per day. “Combined with the testing results, management is optimistic for the potential of the northern flank of the Taq Taq field,” the company said in a statement Monday. “However, it is too early to estimate what […]

Britain’s Genel finds oil bearing reservoirs in north end of Taq Taq field

4 Dec 2017   Iraq

(Reuters) – Genel Energy Plc said on Monday that one of its wells, drilled to appraise the northern end of its Taq Taq oilfield in Kurdistan region of Iraq, encountered oil bearing reservoirs. The main objective of the well, which has been drilled since February, was to reduce uncertainty about the free water level in the north flank of the field. Further development of the Cretaceous reservoir had been deferred pending results of the testing program. Genel said the well, which was drilled to a measured depth of 3,100 meters, encountered good quality oil bearing Cretaceous Shiranish and Kometan reservoirs. “Combined with the testing results, management is optimistic for the potential of the northern flank of the Taq Taq field,” said Genel, one of a handful of foreign oil firms in Iraqi Kurdistan. However, the company said it was too early to estimate what impact the well result would […]

Iraq says southern oil exports set a record

2 Dec 2017   Iraq

The Iraqi Oil Ministry said exports from southern ports set a record, but more work was needed to make up for losses from issues in the north of the country. The ministry said the southern port at Basra recently sent out an average of 3.9 million barrels of oil per day, the highest capacity ever reached there. In a statement, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said southern exports were supported by improved market conditions as the price of oil holds above $60 per barrel. That doesn’t mean the country can rest on its laurels, he said. The government needs to generate more revenue to make up for losses incurred “as a result of […]

Iraqi exports shoot to near-record levels

2 Dec 2017   Iraq

Federal Iraq earned more monthly oil revenue in November than it has since October 2014, due to rising oil prices and a nearly 5 percent jump in exports. The new data, released by the Iraqi Oil Ministry on Friday, comes after Thursday’s announcement of a record single day in crude loadings from the Basra Gulf terminals, and an extension of a pact between OPEC and other producers to limit production through 2018 in a bid to keep pushing up prices. 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 .

No easy solution for stranded Kirkuk crude

30 Nov 2017   Iraq

The Oil Ministry is considering a pipeline to link Kirkuk oil fields with domestic refineries, and issuing a tender for rebuilding the export pipeline to Turkey. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi (second from left) visits the North Oil Company in Kirkuk on Nov. 13, 2017. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report) VIENNA – Iraq is exploring yet another option for capitalizing on Kirkuk oil fields that have remained offline since Oct. 16, when federal military forces reclaimed them from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi said Wednesday that the ministry is pursuing a project to rehabilitate and extend a 300,000 barrel per day (bpd) pipeline southward from Kirkuk to feed refineries in Baiji and Baghdad. 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 .

October production slides on Kirkuk upheaval

29 Nov 2017   Iraq

Oil production dipped across Iraq in October by about 113,000 barrels per day (bpd), as political and military conflict between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) took two major oil fields temporarily offline. Average total production for the country was 4.518 million bpd, according to an Iraq Oil Report analysis of data gathered from each of the country’s producing fields – down more than 2 percent from 4.635 million bpd in September .

OPEC’s No. 2 Producer Strains to Walk an Oil Pricing Tightrope

28 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq’s hitting a couple of speed bumps as it gears up for 2018 oil sales, after OPEC’s second-largest producer made unprecedented moves to sell one-off cargoes this year in addition to supplies under long-term contracts. The nation’s state-owned oil marketing company, known as SOMO, didn’t award two offers of spot shipments to Asian and European customers over the past month, with traders saying it was probably expecting more than what buyers were willing to pay. That’s a setback for the producer, which has sought to revamp the way it sells crude amid a global glut, weaker prices and increased competition from other Middle East producers as well as U.S. supplies . Iraq began auctioning off some cargoes on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange this year for the first time in a bid to get better value for its supply while also curbing output as part of a deal with other […]

Iraq vetting Kirkuk oil pipeline overhaul options

28 Nov 2017   Iraq

The Iraqi oil ministry said Monday it was looking at documents related to the reconstruction of a crude oil pipeline extending north from Kirkuk. The ministry’s spokesman, Assim Jihad, said the order was given for “concerned companies and authorities” to prepare the documents related to the reconstruction of a pipeline meant to carry crude oil from Kirkuk to the Turkish seaport at Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea. “The specialized companies will be invited for this purpose in the near future,” the ministry said in a statement. Iraqi forces in early October took control over oil fields in Kirkuk, a territory of dispute between the federal government and the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. The seizure followed a contentious […]

Ministry envisions new contract model for exploration deals

28 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luieibi indicated Monday that the country will introduce significant changes to its next round of oil contracts. “The anticipated contracts with international oil companies represent an important step toward a new commercial model and financial terms that are different from the former contracts,” Luiebi said.

Iraq plans new pipeline exporting Kirkuk oil to Turkey: oil ministry

27 Nov 2017   Iraq

 Iraq plans to build a new pipeline that will ship oil from Kirkuk’s oilfields to the Ceyhan port in Turkey, the oil ministry said on Sunday. The new pipeline will replace an old and severely damaged section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. It will start from the nearby city of Baiji city and span until the Fish-Khabur border area with Turkey, the ministry said in a statement. Iraq stopped shipping oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline in 2014 after the region was overrun by Islamic State militants and subsequently recaptured by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces over the past two years. Oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi has asked the ministry to prepare to invite companies interested in building the new pipeline project, which will be implemented under an investment model build-operate-transfer, said the statement. Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them […]

Iraq invites foreign bids for oil, gas blocks in new areas

27 Nov 2017   Iraq

Iraq on Monday invited foreign companies to bid for contracts to explore and develop oil and natural gas reserves in nine new blocks as the OPEC nation seeks to boost its output capacity.  “We invite all international companies to participate,” Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi told a news conference in Baghdad. “This new exploration bidding round aims to maximise reserves.” Sponsored Five blocks are located at border areas with Iran, three with Kuwait and one is offshore in Gulf waters, a presentation by oil ministry officials at the conference showed. Luaibi said the areas had previously been “neglected” because they were the site of conflicts between Iraq and its neighbours in the 1980s and 1990s. The bidding terms will be finalised by the end of […]

Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Still Below Pre-Conflict Levels

24 Nov 2017   Iraq

Kurdistan’s crude oil exports increased in the past couple of days, but oil flows are still well below the levels seen before the independence referendum in the semi-autonomous region that raised the tensions between the Kurds and the federal government in Baghdad. Kurdistan’s oil flows rose to 270,000 bpd on Wednesday and Thursday, compared to flows of between 200,000 bpd and 230,000 bpd in October, Kurdistan 24 news outlet reported on Thursday, quoting oil sources. Although crude oil flows from Kurdistan are on the rise, they are still nearly half the volumes compared to the levels before the Kurds voted on September 25 to break away from Iraq. Baghdad—which never recognized the legitimacy of the referendum—moved on in October to take control over the oil-rich area around Kirkuk. In the middle of last month, Iraqi government forces seized the oil fields around Kirkuk, which had been under Kurdish control […]

Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell

23 Nov 2017   Iraq, Kuwait

In a bid to reduce gas flaring and pay off outstanding reparations for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq has hired Japanese firm Toyo Engineering to help it build a gas pipeline to Kuwait, in what could be a blow to Shell’s gas ambitions in Iraq, industry sources tell Reuters . Kuwait is looking to diversify its gas imports from Qatar after several Arab states led by Saudi Arabia severed ties with Qatar earlier this year accusing it of sponsoring terrorism. Iraq has gas reserves, and it extracts large volumes of gas together with the oil, but the gas is currently being flared. “The Kuwaiti gas project is a quick fix and an easy way to monetize gas resources,” a senior industry source told Reuters. Part of the supplies could be used to help pay the US$4.6 billion remaining reparations that Iraq has to pay to Kuwait for the […]

IS insurgency exploits Baghdad-KRG conflict

23 Nov 2017   Iraq

Thousands of federal and Kurdish soldiers are pointing their weapons at each other, leaving volatile territory inadequately guarded and vulnerable to an emboldened IS insurgency. Iraqi forces drive past an oil production plant as they head towards the city of Kirkuk on October 16, 2017. ( The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group is taking advantage of new security gaps in northern Iraq, capitalizing on a deteriorating rivalry between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Insurgents have launched an escalating campaign of guerrilla-style attacks since Oct. 16, when federal security forces began to shift their focus away from IS and launched an operation to reclaim Kirkuk and other disputed territories from the KRG. “Attention is being taken away from the ISIS threat and [focused] more on posturing and positioning between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces,” said Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for the U.S. […]