Kurdistan News


Modernization of Public Administration “is KRG priority”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) on Tuesday.

In a speech, Prime Minister Barzani stated, he hopes that KIPA “will continue to work diligently to provide the much needed services of building the capacities of Kurdistan Regional Government’s civil servants.”

Below is the transcript of Mr. Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning.  I would like to welcome you all to this ceremony of inaugurating the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA). I would like to specially welcome the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Song Wong-Yeob, Korean Consul General in the Kurdistan Region and the Head of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Baghdad. I especially welcome Professor Park who came from Seoul specifically to this occasion and I welcome you all again.

Today, human resources’ development is important for change and progress in all sectors and major fields, especially in the fields of governance and administration. Capacity building and Development is key to the development of Administrative, economic, social and cultural sectors.

Competency and capacity are very important for human resources. One of the main pillars of human resources’ development is training. That is equipping the staff member with up-to-date information and more knowledge about their field of work. Information and knowledge get updated continuously. In order to enable the KRG institutions and their staff to cope with the progress in all fields, especially good governance, the KRG should make training and capacity building part of its human resources development strategy.

Therefore, all technical, material and moral necessities should be made available for this purpose and all parties and individuals should be urged to adhere to implement the directives and instructions related to capacity building and training. And this is, again, for the purpose of developing the civil service in administrative, technical and theoretical areas based on modern principles.

DNO Steps Up Production at Peshkabir Field

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced a tripling of production from the Peshkabir field in the Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) following completion of the Peshkabir-3 well testing, stimulation and cleanup program.

A total of 11 zones in a 1.2 kilometer horizontal section of Cretaceous and Jurassic reservoir in the Peshkabir-3 well were individually tested and flowed successfully, of which ten were oil zones and one a gas zone.

The oil zones tested an average of 5,340 bopd per zone on a 64/64″ choke, with the highest individual test rate of 7,200 bopd. A multi-zone combined production test totaled 12,500 bopd on a 128/64″ choke from five zones.

Production from the previously drilled Peshkabir-2 well, in operation since May, together with that of the new Peshkabir-3 well are currently processed through temporary test package facilities and trucked to DNO’s adjacent Tawke field facilities for export.

As previously announced, the Tawke license partners are proceeding with fast track plans to commission an early production facility by yearend and complete installation of pipeline connections early in 2018 to allow ramp up of output at the Peshkabir field.

Preparations are underway to drill the Peshkabir-4 well which will also be designed to test the underlying Triassic reservoir.

DNO operates and has a 75 percent interest in the Tawke license, with partner Genel Energy plc holding the remainder. The license contains the Tawke and Peshkabir fields whose combined year-to-date production has averaged 110,000 bopd.

(Source: DNO)

Tehran-Baghdad sign One-Year Oil Swap Deal

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] 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.

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, Reuters reported.

The agreement signed on Friday by the two OPEC countries provides for Iran to deliver to Iraq’s southern ports “oil of the same characteristics and in the same quantities” as those it would receive from Kirkuk.

The deal in effect allows Iraq to resume sales of Kirkuk crude, which have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds in October.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 bpd of Kirkuk crude will be delivered by tanker trucks to the border area of Kermanshah, where Iran has a refinery.

The two countries are planning to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk, so as to avoid trucking the crude.

The pipeline could replace the existing export route from Kirkuk via Turkey and the Mediterranean by pipeline.

(Sources: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence; Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

Tehran-Baghdad sign One-Year Oil Swap Deal

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] 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.

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, Reuters reported.

The agreement signed on Friday by the two OPEC countries provides for Iran to deliver to Iraq’s southern ports “oil of the same characteristics and in the same quantities” as those it would receive from Kirkuk.

The deal in effect allows Iraq to resume sales of Kirkuk crude, which have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds in October.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 bpd of Kirkuk crude will be delivered by tanker trucks to the border area of Kermanshah, where Iran has a refinery.

The two countries are planning to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk, so as to avoid trucking the crude.

The pipeline could replace the existing export route from Kirkuk via Turkey and the Mediterranean by pipeline.

(Sources: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence; Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

KRG efforts to Simplify Access to Govt Services

Key Ministers and officials from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) alongside representatives of the private sector, civil society, labour unions, the international community, donors and development agencies convened at a high-level conference yesterday in Erbil on E-Governance and Public Service Centres.

The Ministry of Interior of the KR-I organized the conference under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conference examined progress on efforts of the Ministry of Interior to simplify citizens’ access to basic government administrative services, such as the e-visa and the new drivers’ licence renewal system, through online electronic platforms that can be used also from the convenience of their homes.

This comes under a project entitled E-Governance for Better Service Delivery that the Ministry launched in March 2017, with help from UNDP, aiming to improve the responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of its delivery of quality administrative services to the public. To that end, the project promotes the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), including computer-aided platforms that can also be accessed remotely through the internet.

“The Ministry of Interior is committed to providing the quickest high-quality services to the citizens,” emphasized the Minister of Interior, Mr. Kareem Sinjari. “This will not only save considerable time and money for the citizens and Ministry alike, but it will help address potential administrative and financial corruption as well.”

Baghdad denies Russian Claims regarding KRG Oil Deals

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has denied reports that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak discussed Russian oil companies’ operations in Iraqi Kurdistan with the Iraqi prime minister or oil minister during his trip to Iraq.

Novak had been quoted as saying that Baghdad had no problems with Russian companies doing business with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Baghdad reasserted that while it welcomes foreign investment in the country, “oil is a sovereign resource and therefore all contracts … must be signed with the federal government and the Ministry of Oil.

(Sources: Reuters, Rudaw)

How Likely is a New Government really in Iraqi Kurdistan?

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Since the ill-fated Kurdish independence referendum, critics have been calling for the current government of the region to be replaced. But, as some critics say, nobody is serious about this prospect.

The semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan has had a rough few months. Since the region held the referendum on Kurdish independence, asking whether the zone should secede from the rest of the country, Iraqi Kurdistan has been under pressure from the federal authorities in Baghdad in many ways.

As a result, there have been many calls for the dismissal of the current Iraqi Kurdish government and the appointment of a new one.

On November 23, the opposition Change movement, also known as Goran, submitted a list of demands to the Kurdish authorities – the most significant of these was the proposal to form an interim government that would be in charge of affairs in Iraqi Kurdistan until the next elections.

The Change movement had already asked the group of Islamic parties in Iraqi Kurdistan and a new party formed by prominent local politician, Barham Salih, to form a government with them for this reason.

“In our last meeting with the delegation from the government we were told they were not in favour of this idea, but they didn’t reject the idea outright either,” Dana Abdulkarim, a senior member of the Change movement, told NIQASH. “They told us they would discuss the idea and inform us of any results.”

However, Abdulkarim added, his party believes that the region’s most popular party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, is “stonewalling” the proposal. They don’t want change, he says. “But we will continue to demand an interim government be formed and we will launch a media campaign in this regard too.”

“Good Quality” Oil Bearing Reservoirs found at Taq Taq

Genel Energy has announced an update on activity at the Taq Taq field (Genel 44% working interest).

The TT-29w well, which was drilled to appraise the northern flank of the Taq Taq field, has been completed as a producer after successfully encountering oil bearing Cretaceous reservoirs.

The well, which was drilled to a measured depth of 3,100 metres, encountered good quality oil bearing Cretaceous Shiranish and Kometan reservoirs. Six zones were subsequently tested over a 20 day period, with test rates of up to 6,400 bpd (40/64 inch choke) of 48° API oil delivered from individual zones.

Four of the five tests in the Shiranish produced dry oil, with one test tight. The Kometan reservoir test produced oil with a 40-50% water cut, confirming the oil water contact within the Kometan reservoir at this location in the field. TT-29w production has commenced from the Lower Shiranish reservoir at a rate of 3,200 bpd of dry oil on a restricted 24/64 inch choke, with the expectation that this rate will increase following an initial observation period.

The TT-29w well has proved a current oil water contact at this location on the northern flank of the field at a level at least 145 metres deeper than pre-drill estimates. Combined with the testing results, management is optimistic for the potential of the northern flank of the Taq Taq field.

However, it is too early to estimate what impact the well result will have on reserves, long-term production rates or future investment activity in the northern flank and the field as a whole.

In addition to the positive result from TT-29w, the TT-30 Pilaspi well was also successfully drilled as a producer in November and is currently producing around c.650 bopd. A further Pilaspi development well (TT-31) is planned before the end of 2017.

Gross production from the Taq Taq field is currently 15,100 bopd. Gross field production averaged 13,700 bopd in November 2017 and has averaged 18,300 bopd in 2017 to date.

(Source: Genel Energy)

Gulf Keystone appoints New Non-Executive Director

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has announced the appointment of Jacobus (“Jaap”) Huijskes as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

Jaap Huijskes was most recently a Director at OMV, the Austrian integrated oil and gas company listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.

While at OMV, he was responsible for Exploration and Production (E&P) and oversaw the Company’s expansion into new territories. He also played a key role in OMV’s operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. 

Prior to this, Mr Huijskes held a number of senior positions at Shell, including Executive Vice President of Upstream Major Projects and Project Director at the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, which was set up to develop the Sakhalin-II oil and gas project in Russia. He holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.

Mr Huijskes is currently a director of the Dutch state-owned integrated oil and gas company, Energie Beheer Nederland. He was a member of OMV’s Executive Board for E&P between 2010 and 2016.

Keith Lough, Gulf Keystone’s Non-Executive Chairman, said:

“We are pleased to welcome Jaap Huijskes to the Board of Gulf Keystone Petroleum. He has an impressive industry track record in the oil and gas sector, including relevant experience in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.”

(Source: GKP)

“Unprecedented Upsurge” in Iraqis seeking Second Citizenship

By John Lee.

The escalating tensions between Baghdad and Erbil have triggered an unprecedented upsurge in applications from wealthy Iraqi nationals for second citizenship programs.

Data collected by Savory & Partners, one of the largest companies in the Middle East that provides citizenship-by-investment programs, shows that compared to the same quarter last year, interest has increased by 300 percent, while applications processed are more than 42 percent higher than last year.

Company founder and CEO Jeremy Savory (pictured) told Iraq Business News:

The immediate days following the Kurdistan referendum saw a remarkable spike in the number of applicants from Iraq, not only from Kurdish Iraqis, but from all parts of Iraq.

“In the past, the Iraqi passport was very strong … but over recent years the number of countries which have visa-free waivers has dropped considerably; hence, the need for second passport that enables people to travel to more countries visa free has seen a great spike.

We have done Iraqi citizenship applications for Iraqi nationals for all the five Caribbean jurisdictions, all of which have been approved by the government. We have done European citizenship applications for Malta and Cyprus for Iraqi nationals, too.

Iraqis constitute the company’s third largest client group after Syrians and Lebanese, with St. Kitts, Grenada and Dominica in the three most popular programs with an equal demand for all three programs. The company had only one Iraqi rejection in the last six years out of total of close to 800 passports, a rejection rate of less than 1 percent.