Afren has announced that, following an improvement in the security situation in the border region of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, it has begun the process of returning staffing levels to normal at the Barda Rash field with a view to resuming drilling and production activities as soon as possible with the expectation that operations will be fully resumed by end October.
This follows the temporary and precautionary step of implementing a phased withdrawal of field personnel as announced on 8 August 2014.
Field operations at Ain Sifni, operated by Hunt Oil, have already resumed to normal levels.
Afren’s primary consideration is the safety and wellbeing of employees. The decision to resume full operations at Barda Rash has been made following a close monitoring of the situation and in close consultation with the relevant authorities.
A report by Chris Dalby of Oilprice.com finds that the 11 oil fields that IS controls in Iraq and Syria have made it a largely independent financial machine.
Its fields in Iraq alone are thought to produce between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day, earning it an estimated $1.2 million [1.4 billion Iraqi dinars] daily, while adding the Syrian fields brings this to nearly $3 million.
The oil is sold at a discount of anything up to 75 percent.
Luay al-Khatteeb, the director of the Iraq Energy Institute, told CNN:
“The crude is transported by tankers to Jordan via Anbar province, to Iran via Kurdistan, to Turkey via Mosul, to Syria’s local market and to the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where most of it gets refined locally.
“Turkey has turned a blind eye to this and may continue to do so until they come under pressure from the West to close down oil black markets in the country’s south.”
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday met Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum event.
In the meeting both sides discussed the latest political and military developments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the process of forming a new government in Iraq, the participation of the Kurdistan Region in the new cabinet in Baghdad, and the situation in the Middle East in general.
The Peshmerga forces’ fight against ISIS terrorist militants, the importance of the formation of an international coalition to attack and destroy the terrorists, and international support for the Peshmerga forces in the war against the terrorists were also discussed in detail.
The humanitarian situation and the condition of Iraq’s displaced people and Syrian refugees sheltered in the Kurdistan Region were also topics in the meeting, with special attention to the provision of aid by the people and the government of the Kurdistan Region and from the international community.
Prime Minister Barzani highlighted the need for the Iraqi Government and the international community to pay more attention to the plight of the refugees and the displaced. He lauded Turkey for the aid and humanitarian support provided thus far, while reiterating that the Kurdistan Region expects further humanitarian assistance from Turkey.
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.
Dire Straits: Baghdad’s Financial Blockade Of Iraqi Kurdistan Has Desired Effect
Since the beginning of the year the authorities in Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan have had a financial stand off.
The Iraqi Kurdish have done everything they can to support themselves, from exporting oil to asking for international loans. But now the situation is getting dire: more bankruptcies, less trade, stalled projects and despairing businessmen committing suicide.
Several weeks ago Sardar Gharib turned off his mobile phone and locked himself in his house. He no longer wanted to deal with the people who had loaned him money and who were now coming to ask him where the repayments were.
Gharib is a contractor working in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and unfortunately he recently had to declare bankruptcy, with an estimated US$1.5 million in debts.
The debts have been incurred because almost all the projects that Gharib’s construction firm was working on have been postponed – a lot of them were funded by the government of the region, which has its own parliament, court system and military independent of the rest of Iraq.
And Gharib’s firm is not the only one facing these kinds of liquidity problems. The Kurdistan Investor’s Union, an association of Iraqi Kurdish businesspeople, says that, according to their count, 430 contractors and companies in a number of different fields have declared bankruptcy over the past six months. They count 250 in the Sulaymaniyah province of Iraqi Kurdistan, 110 in Erbil and 70 in the Dohuk area.
The main reason for this can be blamed on the Iraqi government in Baghdad’s so-called “financial blockade” of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani welcomed German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen in Erbil on Thursday.
In a meeting with President Barzani and the military leadership of the KRG, the German defense minister stated that her country stands by the people of Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS terrorists and commended the role of the peshmerga forces in taking the fight to them.
She added that Germany would continue to help the KRG by providing weapons and military equipment and training of the peshmerga forces.
President Barzani lauded German government decision to assist the KRG and said that the people of Kurdistan are deeply grateful for Germany for coming to their aid in their hour of need.
He added that with the assistance provided by Germany and other countries, the peshmerga forces now have the upper hand and will continue to push back the ISIS terrorists.
Reuters reports that Iraqi Kurdistan has shipped a total of nineteen tankers carrying 13.7 million barrels of crude oil since May, using its new pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
An official told the news agency that the flow of oil continues without any issues, and a 20th tanker will be loaded in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters that Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, to which buyers of the Kurdish oil make their payments, holds $400 million in respect of Kurdish oil sales.
“This is a business in which so far $1.3 billion-worth of revenues has been made,” Yildiz added.