Iraq begins next month to export one million barrels of oil to Egypt

Iraq begins next month to export one million barrels of oil to Egypt 2.23.2017 11:24 {Baghdad} Euphrates News quoted the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper in its edition on Thursday, Iraq’s ambassador to Cairo, Habib Mohammed Hadi as saying that the Iraqi oil marketing company SOMO {} has completed the signing of a contract with oil supply […]

US Secretary of State for Ebadi by telephone: We seek to return Iraq to normal

US Secretary of State for Ebadi by telephone: We seek to return Iraq to normal 2.23.2017 9:41 [Oan- Baghdad] US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Haider al – Abadi, that the United States was “seeking to return Iraq to its natural state.” A statement by the prime […]

Oil Discovered at Block 10

By John Lee.

Russia’s Lukoil and Japan’s Inpex have successfully completed the testing of the first exploratory well, Eridu 1, at Block 10 in Basra governorate.

The well recorded a daily flow rate of more than 1,000 cubic meters of sweet oil from Mishrif horizon, confirming geological expectations of a large hydrocarbon field presence within the Block 10 contract area.

Geological exploration at the block is in progress: work program for 2017 includes the drilling and testing of an appraisal well Eridu 2.

Lukoil has a 60-percent stake in Block 10, with Inpex owning 40 percent.

(Sources: Lukoil, Inpex, Ministry of Oil)

(Picture: Seismic study at Block 10)

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Ministry of Oil announces New Refinery Investment

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has announced the offering of a new investment refinery in Basra province.

The facility at Fao [Faw] city will have a capacity of 300 thousand barrels/ day, and will be capable of being extended to produce the petrochemicals.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Asiacell Revenues Fall 14%

By John Lee.

Qatar-based Ooredoo has announced that its Iraqi unit Asiacell has maintained its No.1 revenue market share position, but its revenues have fallen 14 percent:

In its FY 2016 Earnings Statement the company said:

Despite economic and political challenges in Iraq, Asiacell maintained its revenue and data market leadership. Asiacell successfully reactivated service and rolled out its 3G network to stabilised areas of Iraq. Customer numbers increased by 11% to reach 12 million.

Impacted by the overall challenging business environment and the introduction of a sales tax in August 2015, Asiacell’s FY 2016 Revenue decreased 14% to QAR 4.2 billion, down from QAR 4.9 billion.  

“Due to cost optimisation initiatives EBITDA was less impacted, registering QAR 1.9 billion at 2016, down 10% over 2015.

Earlier this week, rival mobile telco Zain announced an 11-percent decline in revenues.

(Source: Ooredoo)

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Shaikan Crude to be Exported by Truck

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), operator of the Shaikan Field in Iraqi Kurdistan, has said the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is to begin exporting all Shaikan crude production via trucks to Turkey, from the end of February.

Subsequently, no Shaikan crude will be injected into the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline at Fishkhabour, until further notice by the MNR. The Company has been informed that the new arrangement is required by the MNR for its overall crude oil export quality management and is expected to be temporary. It is not expected to affect Shaikan production levels.

Under the new arrangement, the MNR has confirmed to Gulf Keystone that the economic benefit to the Company will be the same as that of the previous framework, whereby all Shaikan crude was exported via pipeline to Ceyhan.

The MNR has also confirmed its intention to take full responsibility, at its sole cost on a non-rechargeable basis, for the additional transportation costs related to this new export route arrangement, and that the Company will continue to receive a fixed payment of gross $15 million per month for sales of the crude. This agreement will remain subject to future audit and reconciliation.

Gulf Keystone continues its ongoing discussions with the MNR regarding commercial and contractual conditions, in particular those around a regular and timely payment cycle, and long-term crude marketing arrangements.

Subject to further clarity on these points, the Company looks forward to making further investments to maintain at least plateau production at nameplate capacity of 40,000 bopd, with a view to increasing to 55,000 bopd as soon as possible.

 Jón Ferrier, Chief Executive Officer, said:

This new export route arrangement confirms there is a market for Shaikan crude as a standalone product while also ensuring Gulf Keystone, and our partner MOL, remain financially and commercially neutral under this arrangement.

“We continue an active dialogue with the MNR to achieve satisfactory commercial and contractual clarity around payments and marketing which remain key to achieving production growth and realising full value potential.

(Source: GKP)

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“Conditions Have Been Set” for ISIS Defeat in Western Mosul

Iraqi forces are advancing into western Mosul and making steady gains in efforts to liberate the area from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

The ISIS-controlled area is “shrinking steadily with each passing day,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian told Pentagon reporters in a news briefing from Baghdad.

“The main effort is to isolate the remaining enemy remnants in the west part of Mosul,” he said, noting the terrorists will “either surrender or they’re going to be killed there.”

Iraqi forces have encountered moderate resistance in their approach, Dorrian said.

The coalition continues to pound ISIS targets in precision strikes, destroying 23 ISIS mortar and artillery pieces in the first three days of operation, he said. That is setting the conditions for Iraqi forces to retake the Mosul airport and begin moving toward more dense urban terrain, the colonel said.

“Conditions have been set for ISIS’s defeat through their significant effort to reduce their command and control, their weapons and their financial resources,” Dorrian said.

‘Extraordinarily Difficult Fight’ Expected

He commended the Iraqi forces for their progress, but noted they have a number of challenges ahead of them. Those challenges include the tedious and extremely dangerous task of clearing each of the more than 100,000 buildings in west Mosul, Dorrian said.

The narrow streets in the oldest parts of the city will make it difficult for the Iraqis to move their vehicles, he said, but that also means the terrorists will not be able to move vehicle-borne explosive devices.

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Be wary of ‘equity euphoria’, turn to US dollar and gold

Be wary of 'equity euphoria', turn to US dollar and gold

South China Morning Post2 hours ago

The current investment fever gripping global equities is impressive, but investors need to exercise caution and focus on other safer assets like gold and the US dollar, analysts said. US stocks have soared since Donald Trump won the US elections on …

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