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Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:41 pm

Yahoo News

Jihadists burn three Iraq oil wells as Kurds launch attack

Kirkuk (Iraq) (AFP) - Retreating jihadists set three wells ablaze at a northern Iraq oil field Thursday as they battled Kurdish forces who launched a major attack nearby, officials said.

The Islamic State (IS) jihadists set the wells on fire before deserting the Ain Zalah field, which was seized by militants along in early August, an official from the North Oil Company said.

A colonel in the Kurdish peshmerga forces said they had launched a major attack that has seen the jihadists pushed back from several villages in the area of the oil field.

The officer and Nineveh provincial council chief Bashar al-Kiki both said that Kurdish forces had also taken control of Batana mountain, near Zumar.

Kiki said the strategic position would help the peshmerga retake the Zumar area from jihadists, and that the Kurdish forces are supported by US air strikes.

IS-led militants launched a sweeping offensive in June that overran large areas of Iraq, and turned their sights on Kurdish forces in the north earlier this month, driving them back toward Arbil, the capital of their three-province autonomous region.

That advance, during which the militants targeted minority groups and forced some 200,000 people to flee, sparked a campaign of US air strikes which, combined with international shipments of arms and ammunition, have helped the Kurds claw back some ground.

The militants reportedly rake in significant volumes of cash from the sale of oil from fields they control.

They have made repeated attempts to seize the Baiji oil refinery, which once filled some 50 percent of Iraq's demand for refined petroleum products, but have each time been driven back.

The militant offensive has wreaked havoc on northern production and exports, but Iraq's main southern fields and export terminals have not been affected by the violence.

Article and Video:

http://news.yahoo.com/jihadists-burn-th ... 26299.html
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:48 pm

Mail Online

Mystery of the missing tanker: Ship carrying $100million in Kurdish oil vanishes from radar screens 60 miles off the coast of Texas

United Kalavrvta, carrying one million barrels, has disappeared in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday
Ship was anchored near Texas in preparation to unload its cargo to U.S. when it went dark
Legal dispute with Iraq and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan means ship was in limbo for a month
Iraq sees Kurdish oil deals as smuggling and wants to block future exports
They filed lawsuit in U.S. court to order retrieval of cargo but case rejected
U.S. Coast Guard now believes ship has turned off its identifying beacon
By Jack Crone for MailOnline and Louise Boyle and Reuters

The Kurdish tanker disappeared from Coast Guard radar screens following a month of legal wrangling over whether it can offload its cargo in the U.S.

As the disintegration of Iraq amid mounting violence continues, the semi-autonomous regime in Kurdistan – in the north of Iraq – is trying to cash in on Iraq's oil reserves and export its own crude.

Iraqi Kurdistan has exported at least eight million barrels of oil since May, energy experts told Al Arabiya News.

But the increasingly weak regime in Baghdad is trying to keep control of its oil billions and says the Kurdish regime cannot sell the oil in the U.S.

The U.S. Coast Guard's AIS ship-tracking system showed no position for the United Kalavrvta on Thursday, which was carrying one million barrels - and was 95 per cent - when it went dark.

The tanker was attempting to unload its cargo at sea, off the coast of Texas, after leaving the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June and anchoring near the U.S. port of Galveston in late July.

The U.S. Coastguard confirmed to MailOnline today that the last contact the agency had with the United Kalavyrta was when the ship's certificate of compliance was completed on July 27.

The vessel's disappearance is now thought to be the latest development in a high-stakes dispute between Baghdad and the Kurds over the right to export oil.

Several other tankers transporting disputed oil from Iran or Kurdistan have switched off their transponders before unloading their cargo - making their movements extremely difficult to track.

A Coast Guard official told MailOnline today that the vessel might have turned off its beacon in the Gulf of Mexico, which it is not supposed to do.

The official also said it was possible the ship had traveled outside the range of the U.S. Coastguard antennas which would account for it vanishing from the AIS ship-tracking system.

Earlier this year, cutbacks in spending at the U.S. Coastguard have meant that longer-range antennas in the Gulf of Mexico have been gradually shutting down, the official said, making it harder to track ships that move further away from the shore.

U.S. Coastguard also told MailOnline on Friday that it had no plans to search areas of the Gulf where the ship had been anchored.

The agency has a HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft at its disposal which last took images of the oil tanker United Kalavyrta on July 25.

Only a few days ago, the partially-full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude oil, disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Two days later, the empty vessel reappeared near Israel.

In late July, the tanker United Emblem offloaded part of its cargo of Kurdish crude oil onto another ship in the South China Sea.

The evasive behavior is the result of Baghdad wanting to block the Kurds from exporting the oil as they believe they have the exclusive right to do so.

The Iraqi government in Baghdad has filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court to reclaim control of the United Kalavrvta cargo and block the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from delivering its cargo.

The suit demonstrates that Baghdad is now stepping up their legal and diplomatic push to block Kurdistan's oil deals, which they view as smuggling.

However, the Kurds see such deals as crucial to their own dreams of independence.

On Monday, the U.S. court threw out the order saying it lacked jurisdiction to seize the tanker as it disappeared some 60 miles off their coast.

But the judge invited Iraq to re-plead its case over the cargo's rightful ownership.

The issue is expected to fuel tensions between Washington and Baghdad, as in theory, Iraq can file claims against anyone taking delivery of the oil.

A Coast Guard official said the vessel in the Gulf of Mexico might have turned off its beacon, sailed beyond antennas that monitor transponders, or perhaps some antennas might have been taken out of service.

However, dozens of vessels were visible on Thursday in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area, where the Kurdish tanker was last seen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... h-oil.html
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:36 pm

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Oil and friction in Iraq
Anthony Franks OBE from Mars Omega LLP

Oil continues to be a cause of considerable friction between Baghdad and Irbil, and is most definitely not lubricating relationships.

The game of “Texas Hide and Seek” of Kurdish crude continues somewhat bafflingly in the warm waters of Houston, against the backdrop of entrenched political thinking in Baghdad.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that the signal for the United Kalavrvta - loaded with 1m barrels of Kurdish crude – had disappeared from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) satellite tracking system.

Reuters reported “The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.”

Other oil tankers shipping Kurdish crude previously lightered their cargoes after switching off their AIS transponders; hence a possible deduction might be that is what the United Kalavrvta may be doing now.

However, yesterday, after 48 hours of silence, the United Kalavrtva apparently emerged from transponder transmission limbo, and signalled it was still anchored some 60 miles off Galveston.

This morning we pulled up the latest AIS data for the United Kalavrvta United Kalavrvta, and it does not quite tally with what the wires are saying. Specifically, it says the following: UNITED KALAVRVTA, Position Recorded on: 2014-08-26 06:41:03 (UTC), Lat/Lon: 28.58248/-94.2509, Speed/Course: 0.0 kn / 166°.

What this means is that no-one knows today where the tanker actually is located. Its last known position – we stress ‘known’ – was on 26 Aug 14 – some three days ago.

The backdrop to this electronic game of hit or miss is that Baghdad has decided to challenge Judge Miller’s decision made on Monday to dismiss Baghdad’s original lawsuit against Irbil, over sending the cargo of crude to the US for sale.

If the US court order had been upheld, this would have seen US authorities seize and hold the Kurdish crude cargo on behalf of Baghdad - until the Iraqi Supreme Court had decided who owned the oil.

Miller said he lacked authority under federal laws governing property stolen at sea to decide the dispute. Bloomberg reported Miller saying “Kurdistan’s unauthorised export of oil over land -– and later overseas –- may violate Iraqi law, but it does not violate U.S. maritime law."

To the Iraqi federal Ministry of Oil, Miller's ruling potentially meant the KRG could export oil to the US and generate critically needed revenue, and Baghdad does not want that at this stage of the national political crisis.

Previously, the legal advice to Baghdad suggested that the only method of compelling the KRG to appear before the Iraq Supreme Court - which would then issue a definitive ruling on the ownership of the cargo - would have been to seize the crude in the US.

The Iraqi Supreme Court under Judge Midhat al-Mahmud has, in the past, to say the least been very supportive of former PM al-Maliki, who was confident that the Court would rule in favour of Baghdad.

But with al-Maliki’s departure, the Court may not be quite so keen to make legal judgements which were often seen by many external observers to be as much about politics as they were about law.

Kurdistan remains desperately short of money after Baghdad enforced a de facto economic embargo by refusing to pay Irbil its 17% of the federal budget, on the grounds that it was operating an unconstitutional policy towards oil sales.

In an attempt to raise much needed cash, since May 14, Irbil has reportedly shipped over 8M barrels of oil from Ceyhan, according to a Turkish maritime source, who said yesterday to Reuters that the 11th tanker sailed from Ceyhan.

The KRG is now apparently using smaller oil tankers – the United Kalavrtva is technically a LR2 Suezmax – to try to circumvent Baghdad's strenuous attempts to block sales. The same Turkish source suggested that the tanker that sailed from Ceyhan was loaded with 250K barrels of crude.

The continued attempt by Irbil to ship and sell oil during a spectacularly volatile and fragile political and security moment will doubtless cause more ire in Baghdad.

However, what was news was the figure of 8M barrels in 11 shipments. If that is accurate, then the export rate is much, much higher than previously thought, and will exponentially increase the ire in Baghdad.

We may therefore be seeing a new trend in oil sales by the KRG: sending much smaller multiple cargoes to sea, which may be easier to sell quietly on the open market.

Four big cargoes have been delivered so far, but this has been done under the world’s microscope, and that scrutiny is both unwelcome and unhelpful for Irbil.

If the Turkish source is right, and 11 cargoes have bunkered and sailed, that must mean that a nascent crude order book is being put together, which is good news for Irbil, and enraging for Baghdad.

Research this morning shows there are two oil tankers being shown at Ceyhan; furthermore - the Suezmax United Carrier arrived at 2014-08-27 07:52:00, and put to sea on 2014-08-28 20:34:00.

As we write, the United Carrier is “Underway using Engine” and is southwest of a line drawn between Limassol in Cyprus to the NW, and Beirut in Lebanon to the SW – with a destination given as “Suez Orders”.

The United Carrier is part of the same fleet the KRG has used for previous oil sales – run by a Greek shipping agent. The other two other oil tankers in Ceyhan are the Aias - Liberian flagged - and the Kamari – Greek flagged.

The background to the importance of the United Kalavrvta cargo was that Irbil was confident that their decision to drive forward towards independence would receive the support of the US. The involvement of US oil companies, and the seemingly warm Irbil/Washington relationship may have helped colour that perception.

However, the US air strikes launched on 7 Aug 14 to beat ISIS back from Irbil was not to support the KRG’s political ambitions, but rather to stop the rapid collapse of federal Iraq.

Despite recent comments by VP Joe Biden that Iraq logically could divide into three distinct ethnic areas, somewhat confusingly, Washington’s other official position is that Kurdistan should stay in federal Iraq; it does not actually want Iraq to implode any more than it already has.

The Biden Plan would leave the Sunni extremists of ISIS in de facto control of a large swathe of northern Iraqi territory; the Kurds secure inside their own borders, with the Shi’a sequestered in Baghdad, and the southern states also probably pushing for greater political autonomy.

To Washington’s absolute horror, this division would lead in turn to an even greater increase in influence over Iraq by Iran, and could see a massive shift of the balance of power in the Arabian Gulf.

US airpower is thus linked to diplomatic soft power to keep Kurdistan part of a homogenous Iraq – even thought the country plainly is anything but that.

On 18 Aug 14, when Nuri al-Maliki was sidelined by President Fuad Massum, President Obama stated “the strong support of the United States of America” for all parties in Iraq was contingent on not returning to “the same kind of dysfunction that has so weakened the country.”

Washington would apparently still like to see Iraq as a unitary state with an inclusive government, however dubious a political proposition that might be in reality.

It seems somewhat ironic that the next move in the political chess game of oil ownership between Baghdad and Irbil is likely be decided by Baghdad deploying US lawyers in Texas who bill by the hour. It is now Irbil’s move.

http://www.oilvoice.com/n/Oil_and_frict ... 75e4b.aspx
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:48 am

Bloomberg

Gulf Keystone Returns Staff to Kurdistan as Threat Eases :ymparty:
By Anna Hirtenstein

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd. (GKP) is sending staff back to Iraqi Kurdistan after U.S. airstrikes eased the threat from Islamic State militants that prompted a mass evacuation of expatriate oil workers three weeks ago.

The explorer will see some personnel return next week, and Chief Executive Officer John Gerstenlauer will travel to the Kurdish capital of Erbil on the weekend.

“The security situation looks quite stable to me,” Gerstenlauer said today by phone. “Many of the airlines are resuming routes and other operators are sending people back as well.”

The region’s energy boom was threatened when Islamic State took control of a vast swath of northern Iraq and neighboring Syria. The militants have been fighting Kurdish forces known as peshmerga just 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Erbil. Donations of weapons and ammunition to the Kurds and airstrikes by U.S. fighter jets have helped slow their advance and restore confidence in the security of the region.

Oil companies including Chevron Corp., Marathon Oil Corp., and Afren Plc evacuated personnel and halted drilling at the beginning of August. Genel Energy Plc withdrew “non-essential staff” from some of its oilfields, but said that its production was unaffected. DNO ASA may miss growth targets for its production levels, also citing service companies that evacuated workers as the cause of delays.

Gulf Keystone said that its partner Weatherford International Plc, an oilfield-services company, is sending personnel back to rigs in the region today or tomorrow.

The oil explorer reported plans to nearly double production by the end of the year, from 22,000 barrels a day to 40,000. It has a 75 percent stake in the Shaikan oilfield, one of the largest in the Kurdish region.

“With some luck, the security situation will remain stable,” said Gerstenlauer. “There is a good appetite for this type of crude internationally. My outlook for the rest of the year is optimistic.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Hirtenstein in London at ahirtenstein@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Alex Devine
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:52 am

Bloomberg

Afren Probes $433 Million on Accounts After Suspending CEO

Afren Plc (AFR), the U.K. explorer in Nigeria that suspended its chief executive officer and three senior staff, expanded its probe into unauthorized payments and is reviewing about $433 million on its half-year balance sheet.

The company appointed KPMG LLP to review three transactions between the explorer and partners in 2012 and 2013, which are also being examined by the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP hired by Afren, it said today in a statement. The probe is expected to conclude in September.

The inquiry adds to woes for the explorer that today announced interim profit dropped by half and cut full-year net production estimate to as low as 32,000 barrels a day from 40,000 barrels forecast in March. It blamed the output decline on the spread of violence in Iraq, which forced the suspension of work at the Barda Rash field in the Kurdistan region. The company declined to say when operations may resume.

“The results are substantially weaker than anticipated,” Lucas Herrmann, a London-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, wrote in an e-mailed report. “That being said, weakness in the underlying business is likely to be of secondary concern given the ongoing issues around corporate governance.”

Afren fell 2 percent to 97.50 pence in London, extending this year’s decline to about 42 percent.

“Despite recent challenges Afren is totally committed to delivering on our work program across the portfolio,” Toby Hayward, the interim chief executive officer, said in the earnings statement. “With numerous growth opportunities expected to drive a step-up in near-term production, cash flow and reserves, we remain in a strong position to deliver shareholder value in 2014 and beyond.”

Profit Falls

Pretax profit fell 49 percent to $133 million in the first half from the same period a year earlier, Afren said. It reiterated its $845 million full-year capital expenditure plan after spending only $293 million in the first half.

Afren also reported further delays to the Ebok project extension, with the platform not expected to be installed in the third quarter, according to a presentation on the website.

The shares have slumped by more than a third since the company announced last month it temporarily suspended Chief Executive Officer Osman Shahenshah and Chief Operating Officer Shahid Ullah after an investigation found they may have benefited from unauthorized payments. Afren yesterday said it also suspended associate directors Iain Wright and Galib Virani.

“The company is currently assessing the potential for the recovery of unauthorized payments from the suspended directors,” it said today. “At this stage no misstatements have been identified, and the board’s assessment is that based on facts to date the existing carrying values in the balance sheet are unlikely to be impaired.”

Nigeria Fields

KPMG is examining amounts on Afren’s June 30 balance sheet involving: $39.9 million of advances to partners in 2012; $93.3 million paid to partners to secure agreement to field extensions relating to the Okoro field in Nigeria; $1.9 million included in property, plant and equipment relating to the Ebok field in Nigeria; together with an associated amount of $298 million attributed to deferred tax assets, according to the statement.

The company has been in talks with partners and so far “had no reason to have any dialog or discussions with” the Nigerian government, Chairman Egbert Imomoh told analysts.

“The investigation has not to date had any impact on our partnerships and license arrangements,” Hayward said at the same presentation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Alex Devine, Ana Monteiro

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-2 ... ctors.html
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:44 pm

Reuters

Disputed Kurdish oil tanker reappears off Texas coast, still full

A tanker carrying disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude oil reappeared on satellite tracking on Monday near Texas, days after having gone silent with a $100 million cargo, but the latest vessel data showed it had not offloaded at sea.

According to AIS ship tracking data used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters, the United Kalavrvta, which has been in limbo for weeks, was still 95 percent full.

Its would-be U.S. buyer has balked at taking delivery of the cargo, and Baghdad has filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court saying exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are illegal. The KRG argues they are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.

The vessel was anchored on Monday in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area, essentially unmoved from its previously known position.

Vessels such as the United Kalavrvta, which are too big to enter ports near Houston, use the lightering area to transfer their cargoes to smaller ships before delivery.

Baghdad has made clear it could file more legal challenges to regain control of the cargo if it comes ashore.

Several other tankers carrying crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have in the past unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.

The partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai about a week ago. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

And in July, the tanker United Emblem offloaded part of its cargo of Kurdish crude onto another ship in the South China Sea.

The U.S. suit shows Baghdad is stepping up a legal and diplomatic push to stop Kurdistan from exporting crude, which the Kurds say is crucial to their dreams of independence from Iraq. (Reporting By Terry Wade; editing by Jane Baird)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/ ... B220140901
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:36 pm

PUK Media

Baiji Refinery will take at least a year to repair: Kurdistan minister Ashti Hawrami

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government's Natural Reources Minister Ashti Hawrami on Thursday said that it would take more than a year to repair the Baiji Refinery, after it was damaged in an attack by ISIS militants in June.

"After the ISIS attack it will take at least a year for the Baiji refinery to be repaired," he said at a speech during an energy conference in Istanbul.

The pipeline connecting Kirkuk with the Turkish port city of Ceyhan, would be unable to transport oil for years to come after being sabotaged, Hawrami added.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

http://www.pukmedia.com/EN/EN_Direje.aspx?Jimare=21468
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:45 pm

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Oryx Petroleum resumes operations in the Hawler license area of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Oryx Petroleum recently resumed crude oil production and sales into the domestic market at the Demir Dagh field in the Hawler license area at rates in excess of those prior to the temporary halt in August.

In the south portion of the Hawler license area, operations at Zey Gawra are secure and 3D seismic data acquisition is planned in the coming weeks.

Appraisal drilling locations at each of Ain Al Safra and Banan, in the northwest and west- portions of the license area, respectively, have been protected and security at each site has been enhanced in recent weeks.


Oryx Petroleum Corporation Limited announce an update for its operations in the Hawler license area of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq ("Kurdistan Region").

Commenting today, Oryx Petroleum's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ebsary, stated:


"We are very pleased that tangible improvements to the security environment in the Kurdistan Region have enabled us to resume all activities at our core asset, the Demir Dagh field. The resumption of production at higher levels after only a short interruption is very positive and, while the interruption will result in delays in our development schedule, we hope to minimise those and continue our rapid ramp-up in production.

Appraisal activities at our Ain Al Safra and Banan discoveries remain suspended pending further improvement in the security environment in the westernmost portions of the Hawler license area. Preparations for drilling at Zey Gawra continue but timing of actual drilling is not yet certain.

We are encouraged by the response of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq authorities, together with the support of the international community, to the conflict in northern Iraq. We continue to closely monitor the situation in close co-ordination with authorities in the Kurdistan Region and continue to take measures needed to ensure the safety of our personnel and operations."

Demir Dagh

Oryx Petroleum recently resumed crude oil production and sales into the domestic market at the Demir Dagh field in the Hawler license area at rates in excess of those prior to the temporary halt in August. Production and sales have averaged approximately 4,300 barrels per day over the past 10 days with daily volumes achieved in recent days of over 5,000 barrels. Payments for sales have also resumed.

Expansion of production facilities has resumed with sizable capacity increases expected in the coming months. Completion of the Demir Dagh-4 well flowline is expected shortly, and preparations for installation of flowlines for the Demir Dagh-3, Demir Dagh-8 ("DD-8") and Demir Dagh-9 wells have resumed. Additionally, work has progressed to connect the production facilities to the Kurdistan - Turkey export pipeline with completion expected in the fourth quarter of this year.
(How badly damaged is the pipeline?)

The EDC Romfor 22 rig recently completed the drilling of the Demir Dagh-7 development well, reaching a total measured depth of approximately 1,900 metres in the lower Cretaceous. The rig has now spudded the DD-8 development well which is expected to be drilled to a measured depth of approximately 2,100 metres in the Cretaceous. Both wells are being drilled from the same drill pad and will be tested upon the completion of DD-8 drilling early in the fourth quarter of this year. Two additional Demir Dagh development wells are expected to be spudded before the end of this year.

3D seismic data has also been acquired over the Demir Dagh structure in recent weeks which will help delineate the field and guide selection of sites for future development wells.

Zey Gawra

In the south portion of the Hawler license area, operations at Zey Gawra are secure and 3D seismic data acquisition is planned in the coming weeks. Preparations have commenced for the drilling of a planned appraisal well at Zey Gawra prior to year end, but drilling will depend on the evolution of the security environment and the related timing of rig releases from other drilling sites in the Hawler license area.

Ain Al Safra and Banan

Appraisal drilling locations at each of Ain Al Safra and Banan, in the northwest and west- portions of the license area, respectively, have been protected and security at each site has been enhanced in recent weeks. However, the resumption of drilling and testing activities will require sustained improvements in the security environment, the timing and achievement of which are uncertain.

http://www.oilvoice.com/n/Oryx_Petroleu ... cea82.aspx
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:51 pm

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ShaMaran Petroleum resumes Kurdistan operations

ShaMaran Petroleum Corp. (TSX VENTURE:SNM)(OMX:SNM) is pleased to report the resumption of drilling operations on the Atrush block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on August 30, 2014. :ymparty:

Drilling operations at the Chiya Khere-8 development well were suspended for a total of 21 days by TAQA (the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company), operator of the Atrush Block, as a precautionary measure, following recent regional developments.

Civil engineering works at the Phase 1 Production Facility have continued uninterrupted during the period in which drilling operations were suspended. Mobilisation of the rig planned to drill the Chiya Khere-6 eastern appraisal well is underway.

ABOUT SHAMARAN

ShaMaran Petroleum Corp. is a Kurdistan focused oil development and exploration vehicle with a 20.1% direct interest in the Atrush oil discovery, which is currently undergoing appraisal and development.

ShaMaran Petroleum is a Canadian oil and gas company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and the NASDAQ OMX First North Exchange (Stockholm) under the symbol "SNM". Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

ShaMaran Petroleum's Certified Advisor on NASDAQ OMX First North is Pareto Securities AB.

http://www.oilvoice.com/n/ShaMaran_Petr ... e4402.aspx
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:45 am

Bas News

Kurds Re-start Crude Oil Export by Trucks to Iran
Hoshmand Sadiq

After the truck exportation of crude oil was stopped by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for 30 days, on Thursday KRG started to resume the oil exportation to Iran through border crossings.

One of the truck drivers that export Kurdish oil to Iran spoke to BasNews and stated: 'Today [Thursday] officially Kurdistan Region’s border crossings were open for exporting crude oil via trucks to Iran.'

'30 days ago, Iran closed its border crossings with the KRG for Kurdish crude oil exportation to Abbasi Port through trucks,' said the driver.

'Kurdish crude oil get transported to Maraghayi area [Kurdish populated area in Iran] from there the oil get transported via a special train to Abbasi Port in Iran,' added the driver.

Now, in all the three crossing borders of KRG with Iran that consists of Bashmakh in Penjwen area, Parwezkhan in Garmian and Haji Omaran in Erbil, Kurdish crude oil get exported to Iran.

Last Month when Islamic State (IS) Militants attack the the border areas of Kurdistan region, Iraq closed its borders with Kurdistan region.

http://basnews.com/en/News/Details/Kurd ... Iran/32983
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:31 pm

Bloomberg

Iraq Pursues New Tack in Bid to Seize Tanker Off Texas
By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Harry R. Weber

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has asked a U.S. judge for permission to change its legal arguments in a bid to seize $100 million in Kurdish crude waiting in a tanker off Texas since late July.

Stymied by the judge’s ruling last month that he didn’t have jurisdiction under admiralty law, the nation has come back with claims under maritime and Texas statutes.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller in Houston threw out an arrest warrant that gave federal agents authority to take the 1 million-barrel cargo and store it, at Iraq’s expense, if the tanker entered U.S. waters. Miller said he had no authority to intervene in a foreign ownership dispute under U.S. laws governing property stolen on the high seas. Iraq cited those laws as the basis for to recover crude exported from wells in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan without permission.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has now revised its complaint, citing different statutes to obtain a new arrest warrant aimed at preventing the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, from selling the cargo in the U.S. Iraq now cites the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and state law governing stolen property.

“Such request is not made to re-hash previously pleaded arguments or factual allegations but for the purpose of addressing newly discovered information revealed since the” initial filing of the complaint, Iraq’s lawyers said in papers filed Sept. 4 in Houston federal court. Harold Watson, the KRG’s lawyer in Houston, declined to comment on the filing.

The proposed amended complaint names Kurdistan, which the U.S. doesn’t recognize as a sovereign nation, and the unknown “John Doe Buyer” believed to have purchased the cargo after it left Turkey in June.
Overdue Royalties

At a court hearing last month, both the Iraqis and Kurds told the judge they’d prefer to have ownership of the crude determined by Iraq’s Supreme Court. The sides are locked in a protracted legal battle there over billions of dollars in overdue oil royalties and unpaid war-damages reparations the central government owes Kurdistan, which the U.S. considers part of Iraq.

Iraq’s lawyers said the KRG has refused to appear in its courts to address a 2012 government lawsuit seeking to block the region from exporting oil for its own benefit. They said seizing the Kurdish cargo in Texas was their only leverage to get the KRG to show up before the Iraqi high court.
Moving

The United Kalavryta had been circling within a 350-yard radius of a spot 60 miles southeast of Galveston from July 26 through Sept. 1, when a vessel tracking service lost its signal.

The signal picked up again last night, and the ship has moved about 20 miles south from that spot, according to vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Four firms that handle lightering services for vessels entering the ports of Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston and Port Arthur said yesterday they haven’t been hired to offload oil from the stranded ship onto smaller ships and bring it to shore.

One of the firms, SPT Inc. (1251), wouldn’t take the job if it was offered, spokesman Simon Duncan said in a phone interview.

“I would honestly think no one would touch this ship,” Duncan said. “You’re inviting the potential for arrest of your own ship. It doesn’t make sense.”

A fifth firm, AET Inc. (AET), had originally been hired to lighter the oil and later dropped the job after the dispute over the cargo arose. Two officials at vessel operator Marine Management Services M.C. of Piraeus, Greece, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails yesterday seeking comment on the status of the vessel and its cargo. They also didn’t address the question in several e-mail exchanges.

The case is Ministry of Oil of The Republic of Iraq v. 1,032,212 Barrels of Crude Oil, 3:14-249, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com; Harry R. Weber in Houston at hweber14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net David E. Rovella

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-0 ... as-1-.html
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:22 pm

Bloomberg

Genel Returns Workers to Kurdistan on Improved Security

Genel Energy Plc (GENL), the largest oil producer in Iraqi Kurdistan, is returning workers to the region’s fields after security improved.

“The decision to resume full operations has been made following a close monitoring of the situation,” the London-based company said today in a statement. Genel, which removed inessential personnel from non-producing assets in August, said output wasn’t affected and it had been pumping about 234,000 barrels of oil a day from its fields.

The U.S. expanded its air strikes against Islamic State militants, while President Barack Obama plans to rally Sunni Arab states to help him defeat the insurgents. Kurdistan explorers including Oryx Petroleum Corp. and ShaMaran Petroleum Corp. have also resumed operations in the region

Genel rose 1.6 percent to 866 pence by the London close.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Tony Barrett, Rachel Graham

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-0 ... d-security
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:22 am

Reuters

New Iraq oil minister faces security challenge, Kurdish dispute

Iraq's new oil minister is a veteran politician who will need to deploy all his experience to resolve disputes over Kurdish oil production and allay foreign investor fears about Islamist militia control in northern oil fields.

Adel Abdul-Mehdi, a former finance minister and vice president who was given the oil portfolio in a new government approved by parliament on Monday, is seen as welcoming foreign investment and business in Iraq.

Some Iraqi Kurdish sources say they also view him as a relatively conciliatory figure who might bring a more positive atmosphere to tense talks between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region over rights to oil production.

But he faces a daunting task, taking over when Islamic State militants are in control of swathes of land and a few oilfields in northwestern Iraq, while the Kurds are defying Baghdad by exporting crude directly via the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

In addition to those grave security and political challenges, he must also overcome foreign concerns over Iraq's entrenched bureaucracy and poor infrastructure -- a legacy of years of sanctions, war and internal conflict.

Any policies which Abdul-Mehdi pushes will have to run a gauntlet of sectarian tensions as the OPEC member's new leaders struggle to keep the country united.

"The challenges ahead of the new minister are very big and very wide," said Samuel Ciszuk, analyst at the Swedish Energy Agency.

POLITICS

Abdul-Mehdi has heavyweight political credentials which could help him. A member of a family involved in politics since the days of the Iraqi monarchy, he was in the Baath party briefly in the 1960s before Saddam Hussein seized power, then became a prominent Marxist and ultimately an Islamist.

A Shi'ite, he is a senior leader in the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, one of Iraq's main Shi'ite parties that has traditionally strong ties with the Kurds.

The Kurdish connection may go some way to defusing the long-running dispute between Baghdad and the regional Kurdish capital of Arbil over natural resources and territory.

The Kurds began exporting oil in May via an independent pipeline. Iraq has asked a U.S. court to seize $100 million worth of Kurdish crude oil on a tanker near Texas, and has threatened to sue potential buyers of the cargo.

Abdul-Mehdi "is an old politician who has held many posts. He is a man of dialogue and trust. I do believe he may be the best bridge between Baghdad and Arbil," said Mithal Alusi, a secular lawmaker. "He was the best choice."

A Kurdish source said: "He is a conciliatory figure. He never had any anti-Kurd rhetoric like other Shi'ite politicians, and has frequently visited the Kurdish Regional Government. I think this might be good for the Kurds."

Former deputy prime minister for energy affairs Hussain al-Shahristani - seen by the Kurds as leading a hostile policy against independent Kurdish oil development and exports - was not named for any energy-related post in Iraq's new cabinet.

Some observers see this as a goodwill gesture, showing the new government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi may be willing to resolve its row with Arbil over oil resources and revenues as a step towards boosting national output.

"The main challenge now for Iraq's oil sector is to achieve a common national policy along with the required supporting legislation to enable the massive investments needed to achieve the country's production potential," Majid Jafar, chief executive of the UAE's Crescent Petroleum, told Reuters.

In addition to his domestic political challenge, Abdul-Mehdi will need to deal with the foreign oil firms which Iraq needs to exploit its oil reserves.

"The industry definitely wants somebody who understands contractual negotiations and the technicality of the oil industry," Ciszuk said.

Abdul-Mehdi does not have an oil industry background, but he was finance minister in 2004-2005. His website says he has degrees in political science and political economy from France, and previously worked as an economist.

SOUTH

Iraq originally set an overall oil production capacity target of 12 million barrels per day by 2020, rivalling that of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, after it signed service contracts in 2009-2010 to develop its giant southern oilfields.

Oil majors working in Iraq include BP, ExxonMobil , and Royal Dutch Shell. The southern oilfields remain under Baghdad's control and untouched by the violence.

But crumbling infrastructure, red tape and a lack of clear oil legislation have stunted investor interest. Iraq failed to reach its targets and Baghdad has now reduced the overall capacity target to 8.5-9 million bpd, after negotiating revised plateau production rates with oil companies.

All of Iraq's oil exports now come from the south, with frequent bomb attacks on the northern Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline halting exports from there since February.

Abdul-Mehdi will lead efforts to raise oil exports beyond their current level of 2.4 million bpd, and will work with oil companies on developing Iraq's southern oilfields to boost output above 3.2 million bpd.

"In terms of what the minister has to deal with, it is really a continuation of the past and current challenges -- ensuring that the obligations of the government are met in executing the technical service agreements," said one oil industry source.

That includes ensuring foreign oil companies are protected and that decisions on contracts for service work, such as building new pipelines or drilling wells, are not being held up by administrative issues, the source added.

(Additional reporting by Ned Parker in Baghdad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Dominic Evans)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/0 ... 9G20140909
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:24 am

Forbes

Kurdish Oil and US Leverage in Iraq

HOUSTON _ As the Obama Administration ratchets up its confrontation with radical Islamists in Iraq, an idled tanker loaded with Kurdish oil off the Texas coast may provide a bargaining chip for enhancing US influence in Iraq.

The US has been seeking to persuade Iraq’s Shia Muslim-dominated government to open itself to more inclusion, especially by the minority Sunni Arab population. Bringing beleaguered Iraqi Sunnis into the Baghdad power structure is seen as a way to diminish the appeal of the Sunni extremist group known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is bent on establishing an Islamic state.

At the same time, Iraq’s Kurds have sought an increase in autonomy that could ultimately result in an independent state across northeastern Iraq. Kurds have asserted their economic independence by increasing their oil production and exports via Turkey.

The travails of the United Kalavrvta, which entered the Gulf of Mexico in July carrying about one million barrels of Kurdish crude, are indicative of the Kurdish Regional Government’s attempts to market oil and establish financial independence from Baghdad.

The US government has responded to the tanker’s arrival by publicly supporting Baghdad’s claim of control over Iraq’s natural resources, including those in the Kurdish north. Unable to enter US territorial waters, the cargo languishes in a sort of legal limbo.

We feel the Obama administration may be missing a prime opportunity to use the dispute to influence events in Iraq. As part of its overall strategy, Washington should consider tempering its unconditional support for Baghdad, making it conditional the government’s becoming more inclusive of Sunni Arabs and other minorities.

Manifestations of the chauvinistic tendencies in Baghdad include brutal suppression of Sunni protests and the flight of Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, exiled in Kurdistan since 2011.

If US diplomats let it be known in Baghdad that, if progress were not made on issues of concern to Iraqi minorities, the Obama administration could announce its intention to recognize Kurdish autonomy in its oil production and sales efforts. If the Kurdish oil came ashore in the US, the resource ownership battle could move to US courts. If the owners of the oil were unhappy with these prospects, they could offload elsewhere.

Either way, the threat of establishing a precedent for Kurdish oil exports might focus minds within the new Iraqi administration of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on issues of importance to US policy in the region. The Kurdish crude would not have to be offloaded in the United States for this stance to be effective.

Why is this important? Reducing Sunni alienation from the Shia-dominated Iraqi government is crucial to the success of Obama’s campaign against ISIS. The brutality of ISIS is more tolerable in some Sunni areas because it provides an alternative to the oppressive tactics of Iraqi security forces under the sectarian dictates of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

There are, of course, ramifications to such an approach. At a minimum it would send a signal to the world that it is OK to bypass the central government in Baghdad and import Kurdish oil. This, in turn, would boost the already rising autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan, taking it a step closer to de facto statehood.

Recent US bombings of ISIS positions in northern Iraq – backing the Kurdish peshmerga forces – have already conferred increased legitimacy on the Kurdish quasi-state. Objection to yet another US enhancement of Kurdish autonomy might also come from Turkey, which harbors its own separatist-minded Kurdish minority. For now, Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds are allies.

The battle over Iraq’s national resource ownership has gone unresolved for a decade. Meanwhile, the possibility that Iraq may be carved up into autonomous ethnic enclaves is growing. If Baghdad is unwilling to demonstrate its commitment to power-sharing, Washington ought to outline one potential cost: an end to our opposition to Kurdish control over natural resources.

In other words, if Iraq wants to be treated as a unified state, it needs to act like one.

While we are not espousing US support for Kurdish independence, we feel that the facts on the ground already point toward greater autonomy. Beyond the oilfields within recognized Kurdish territory, the peshmerga now control the northern Iraqi oil center of Kirkuk, captured last month when the Iraqi army fled the ISIS advance.

Iraqis have diminishing opportunity to maintain the territorial integrity of their state. The United Kalavrvta offers us a prospect to highlight the importance of Iraqi unity, before hope slips away. While a decision on Kurdish exports cannot be made in a vacuum, the administration should consider how such a stance could assist in its anti-ISIS strategy, and goals for a unified, functional Iraq.

The current opportunity may be short lived. The ship turned off its transponder recently, and then switched it on again. This is a strategy used when there is a plan to unload into smaller tankers, which can then transport the crude in ways that are harder to trace.

Once that happens, the Kurdish crude will disappear into the global market and the opportunity that is sitting 60 miles from Galveston will have slipped away.

Post by Jim Krane and Ted Loch-Temzelides

Jim Krane is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies and Ted Loch-Temzelides is Professor of Economics and Baker Institute Rice Scholar; both are based at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, in Houston.
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Re: Kurdistan Oil & Gas Development

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:47 pm

Rudaw

Kurds in New Government Reject Plan

Iraqi Kurds have acquiesced to US pressure and agreed to be part of the new government in Baghdad, but they reject a plan by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on how to end Baghdad’s budget blockade and move forward with Kurdish oil exports.

For the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), without whose participation there can be no inclusive Iraqi government, the agreement is conditional on key issues getting resolved in the next weeks and months.

A statement from the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources late Tuesday underscored that the KRG required the new government to form “a committee headed by the Federal Prime Minister and the KRG Prime Minister to tackle the mechanisms for sending the KRG’s share of the budget within one week of government formation.”

The Kurdistan Region claims it is owed nearly $8 billion for a period stretching back to January, when the then prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an end to monthly payment transfers to the autonomous Erbil government, after it announced independent oil exports that Baghdad calls “illegal.”

With this committee set to meet next week, the statement added that payments of financial dues must “commence” this month, leaving space for the parties to decide on payment in full or installments.

"The Iraqi government claims they don’t have the full amount of money,” said Arez Abdulla, a Kurdish MP in the Iraqi parliament. “I believe they will send the Kurdish budget twice every month before we reach an agreement on Kurdish oil exportation."

But fellow Kurdish MP Najeeba Najeeb insisted that Baghdad is using the budget to pressure the Kurds into an oil deal.

“Iraq has enough money in the bank to pay us now -- they have been saving on our share all these months,” she told Rudaw. “They want to talk about the oil issue before sending us our budget share because they want to make sure we agree to export oil through SOMO,” the state-owned oil marketing company.

Resolving how Kurdish oil should be exported and marketed is a thorny issue. While Abadi’s plan allows for six months for a deal, the KRG says it must be resolved in three.

The Kurds reacted against a perceived ambiguity in Abadi’s proposal, writing that “all the pending issues regarding oil and gas” must be solved, no matter what. The Kurds objected to a provision that a solution must be “based on the Constitution,” fearful it might lead to an impasse: Baghdad and Erbil have had drastically different interpretations of the Constitution in the past, which has led to the current standoff.

In a further departure from Abadi’s proposal, the KRG does not specifically require that the new arrangement be enshrined in a new oil and gas law. Such a law has been notoriously difficult to pass in the past and could delay any agreement indefinitely. Nor did the KRG agree to “immediately deliver a portion of its oil production to be exported via the Federal Ministry of Oil,” in exchange for an advance on oil revenues.

But there are some significant signs of progress and hope for cooperation in Abadi’s plan that the Kurdish bloc has welcomed. Abadi calls for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes mentioned in the Iraqi Constitution’s Article 140, the highly politicized law calling for normalization, census, and referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed lands.

His proposal also mentions the arming and training of the Peshmerga forces as a National Guard Force under the umbrella of the national defense system, something that the Kurds have called for since 2005. He has bugun work on this front already: in the first cabinet session on Tuesday, Abadi asked that a draft law for National Guard troops be established in the next two weeks.

If Kurdish demands are not met within the next weeks and months, it is not clear how the Kurdish bloc would react. The KRG statement did not specifically threaten to withdraw from the government.

"If no commitment is shown… the Kurdistan Region leadership will make its decision accordingly,” it said.

http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/100920142
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