7m Iranians, Iraqis Visit Each Other’s Country Annually

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the fact that each year, 7 million Iraqis and Iranians visit each other’s country is a sign of the two neighboring countries’ close ties.

Speaking at a meeting with Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi in Baghdad on Monday, attended by the chairmen of the Iraqi parliamentary factions, Zarif hailed the relations between the two countries, the parliamentary ties in particular.

The fact that seven million Iranians and Iraqis visit each other’s country each year is an outstanding sign of “the proximity of the two great nations,” Zarif said.

Every year, a large number of Iranians visit Iraq for pilgrimage. Iranian pilgrims travel to Karbala, Najaf and Baghdad to pay homage to Shia Imams buried in Iraq.

Iraqis visit the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Qom for pilgrimage.

The Iraqi parliament speaker, for his part, referred to the two countries’ common interests and praised Iran’s role in helping the Iraqi people defeat the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terror group.

Daesh militants made swift advances in much of northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large swaths of northern Syria.

However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after top Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling for fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive.

In November 2017, the self-proclaimed caliphate of Daesh collapsed after Syrian and Iraqi armed forces and their allies managed to recapture the terror group’s last strongholds in the two Arab countries.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Jordan’s Contractors see New Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

Business leaders in Jordan have reportedly welcomed increased access to Iraq’s $88.2-billion reconstruction efforts.

According to a report from Jordan Tmes, a recent agreement to grant Jordanian construction contractors equal status to their Iraqi peers was described as “a God-sent miracle” by engineer and board member of the Jordan Construction Contractors Association (JCCA) Abdel Haleem Bustanji.

It has only been two days since we signed the agreement, but I already received calls about the necessary papers. Contractors are thrilled to be working again,” he added.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi received King Abdullah II of Jordan in Baghdad on Monday, to discuss improving relations between the two countries.

More here.

(Sources: Jordan Tmes, Media office of the Prime Minister)

France Pledges 1bn EUR Loan to Rebuild Iraq

By John Lee.

France has reportedly agreed to lend Iraq 1 billion euros to help in the reconstruction efforts.

According to Reuters, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the agreement to reporters following a meeting on Monday with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed al-Hakim in Baghdad.

The cost of reconstruction in Iraq is estimated at $88 billion, of which around $30 billion was pledged at a donor conference early last year.

(Sources: Reuters, AP)

Genel Energy posts strong Trading Update

Genel Energy has issued the following trading and operations update in advance of the Company’s full-year 2018 results, which are scheduled for release on 20 March 2019. The information contained herein has not been audited and may be subject to further review.

Murat Özgül, Chief Executive of Genel, said:

2018 was a very positive year for Genel, which saw us generate material free cash flow and further transform the balance sheet. An expected year-on-year increase in production means we are set to continue this performance in 2019, with low-cost assets forecast to generate over $100 million in free cash flow even if the oil price averages $45/bbl.

“As we generate cash we will continue to invest in the business to maximise the value of our existing portfolio. We are also working hard to bring in new assets that are complementary to our cash generation story. We are focused on building a stronger company with sustainable and material cash flow and multiple growth opportunities from which to create significant shareholder value.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

  • $335 million of cash proceeds were received in 2018 ($263 million in 2017), an increase of 27%, of which $98 million was received in Q4
  • Free cash flow totalled $164 million in 2018 ($99 million in 2017), an increase of 66%, representing a free cash flow yield of 27% on the year-end share price
  • Unrestricted cash balances at 31 December 2018 were $334 million ($162 million at 31 December 2017), with net cash at $37 million ($135 million net debt at 31 December 2017)
  • Capital expenditure for 2018 totalled $95 million, of which $70 million was cost recoverable spend on producing assets

2018 OPERATING PERFORMANCE AND 2019 ACTIVITY OUTLOOK

  • 2018 net production averaged 33,690 bopd, with Q4 averaging 36,920 bopd. Production and sales by asset during 2018 was as follows:

  • Tawke PSC (Genel 25% working interest)
    • Tawke PSC production averaged 113,020 bopd in 2018, with production from Peshkabir contributing 27,660 bopd to this figure
    • Production in Q4 2018 averaged 127,220 bopd, of which Peshkabir contributed 50,130 bopd
    • The Peshkabir-8 well completed in December 2018, and is currently producing just under 10,000 bopd. Results of the Peshkabir-9 well are expected shortly
    • While further production wells are set to be drilled in 2019, Peshkabir activity in 2019 will focus on field management facilities and the utilisation of associated gas to enhance oil recovery at the Tawke field

 

  • Taq Taq PSC (Genel 44% working interest and joint operator)
    • Taq Taq field production averaged 12,350 bopd in 2018
    • Production in Q4 2018 averaged 11,640 bopd
    • Drilling operations on the TT-32 well have now been completed, and test production is underway. The well is currently flowing at a rate of over 3,000 bopd, and still cleaning up, with further zones to be tested ahead of an expected stabilised production rate of c.2,000 bopd
    • The rig has now moved to drill the horizontal sidetrack TT-20z well, which will drill the Shiranish in the western flank of the field with an aim to increasing productivity
    • Three further wells are scheduled to be drilled in 2019, as Genel continues to target the flanks of the field with the aim of delivering a year-on-year production increase

 

  • Bina Bawi and Miran (Genel 100% and operator)
    • Field development plans for both Bina Bawi and Miran oil and gas are under discussion with the KRG, and may entail a phased development approach in order to reduce initial capital expenditure and achieve the earliest date for first gas. An extension to the conditions precedent is expected to be granted shortly
    • Genel is reviewing the value of the Miran PSC carried in the Company accounts, and will update this as part of the year-end results process

 

  • African exploration update
    • Onshore Somaliland, seismic processing has now completed on the SL-10-B/13 block (Genel 75% working interest, operator) and analysis and interpretation is underway. Initial indications confirm the Company view that the block has hydrocarbon potential. Genel continues to develop a prospect inventory and assess next steps ahead of a farm-out process and potentially spudding a well in 2020. On the Odewayne block further seismic processing is being considered in order to complete the Company’s understanding of the prospectivity of the block
    • On the Sidi Moussa block offshore Morocco (Genel 75% working interest, operator), the acquisition of a c.3,500 km2 multi-azimuth broadband 3D seismic survey completed in November. PSTM and PSDM processing will continue through 2019. Genel has no additional work commitments relating to the licence. A decision will be made on whether to drill a well, and the appropriate equity level, once processing has progressed sufficiently

2019 GUIDANCE

  • Genel expects to generate material free cash flow in 2019
    • Genel generates positive free cash flow at and above an oil price of $20/bbl
  • In light of the Company’s balance sheet strength and ongoing material cash generation, management is appraising the most effective model for balanced capital allocation in order to take advantage of growth opportunities, make value accretive additions to the portfolio, and pave the way to returning capital to shareholders at the appropriate time
  • Combined net production from the Tawke and Taq Taq PSCs during 2019 is expected to be close to Q4 2018 levels
  • Capital expenditure net to Genel is forecast to be c.$115 million, with the majority being cost-recoverable spend on current producing assets. Capex includes:
    • Tawke and Taq Taq net to Genel of c.$100 million
    • Bina Bawi and Miran maintenance capex of c.$10 million, with the potential for this figure to be updated should there be positive developments on Bina Bawi commercial discussions
    • African exploration cost of under $5 million, largely comprising processing costs relating to Moroccan seismic
  • Opex: c.$30 million
  • G&A: c.$20 million
  • The Company continues to actively pursue growth and appraise opportunities to make value-accretive additions to the portfolio

(Source: Genel Energy)

Jordan and Iraq plan to Increase Trade

By John Lee.

King Abdullah II of Jordan arrives in Baghdad today on an official visit to Iraq for talks with President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Adil Abd Al Mahdi and senior officials, with a view to strengthening bilateral relations and regional development.

According to a report from The Arab Weekly, the two countries are planning a border industrial zone with a possible 50,000 jobs. It would also facilitate exports of tax-exempted Jordanian goods to the Iraqi market.

In recent weeks, the two countries have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries, including a plan to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

They have also agreed to upgrade the al-Karamah – Terbil Border Crossing.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, The Arab Weekly)

WFP helps Modernise Iraq’s Rationing System

WFP supports Iraq in modernising its Public Distribution System

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Iraq have launched an initiative to digitise the national public distribution system (PDS).

The first phase of digitisation will reach nearly 1.3 million people in and around Baghdad and Dohuk.

The PDS is Iraq’s biggest social safety net, providing food entitlements to almost the entire population in Iraq of 39 million people.

WFP is providing technical support to the government as it starts using identification technology and a citizen database to reduce processing time, improve service and maximise resources.

“The initiative guarantees the most efficient use of government resources and ensures that the intended citizens receive their food entitlement,” said WFP Country Director and Representative in Iraq Sally Haydock at the launch in Baghdad. “We’re using digitisation to better serve Iraqi citizens through this key social safety net.”

With WFP’s support, the government will move to a digitised system where citizens’ data is safely encrypted and stored, and where security is enhanced using fingerprints or iris scans. This will allow the government to identify and remove duplicate records as well as conduct biometric verification at the time of food collection. The new system replaces the current paper-based system.

WFP is also designing a mobile application, myPDS, that people can use to collect their entitlements as well as to update their family information about births, deaths and marriages – at their convenience, using personal smartphones.

“The ministry is working on updating data as we put in place technology-based solutions that address people’s needs,” said the Iraqi Minister of Trade Mohammed Hashem Al-Ani.

WFP is partnering on the initiative with the Iraqi Ministry of Trade. Modernising the PDS is one of the priorities of Iraq’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2018 – 2022). WFP’s partnership with the ministry dates to the early 1990s when WFP established a database for the PDS.

(Source: WFP)

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

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Increased Oil Production planned for Majnoon

By John Lee.

Oil production at Majnoon oilfield is reportedly planned to increase from 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) currently to 290,000 bpd by the end of 2019 and 450,000 bpd by the end of 2021.

State-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) took over the field from Shell and Petronas at the end of June 2018, with operations and maintenance contracted to Chinese company Anton Oilfield Services Group (Antonoil) and the US company KBR.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

Turkey appoints Special Envoy for Water Affairs with Iraq

By John Lee.

Turkey has reportedly appointed a special envoy to Iraq to resolve the water sharing issues between the two countries.

According to Daily Sabah, former Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu (pictured), who will take up the post, pointed to the “inefficient” use of water resources in Iraq, saying “Turkey will share its experience and know-how in the efficient management of water with the Iraqis.

He added that Turkey will try to ensure an equitable share of water from the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

More here.

(Source: Daily Sabah)