Iraq

Investing in small-cap oil and gas explorers has never been for the faint-hearted. But few companies have experienced as much drama in the past five years as the international energy groups with assets in the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, the Financial Times reported. Once described by Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP and a co-founder of Kurdistan-focused Genel Energy, as “the last big onshore ‘easy’ oil province”, operating in the region proved to be anything but simple.

Read more
Baghdad’s talks with Turkey about ramping up oil exports from northern Iraq, including the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, is complicated by a $4 billion debt that the Kurds owe to Turkey, according to Iraq’s oil minister, Bloomberg News reported. Iraq is seeking an agreement with Turkey for all exports from the north, including the Kurdish region and the disputed province of Kirkuk, through a pipeline currently operated by the Kurds, Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad. Iraq’s state-run Oil Marketing Co., known as SOMO, would control all exports under the agreement, he said.
Read more
The target of a takeover bid, Iraqi oil player Gulf Keystone Petroleum said most of the parties with an interest in the company are in favor of restructuring. The company, which lists headquarters in London, reached an agreement last month with the majority of its creditors and shareholders to restructure its debt obligations. Andrew Simon in July stepped down as chairman, opening the door for non-executive director Keith Lough to help steer a $500 million debt conversion proposal. The company is focused on developing the Shaikan oil field in the Kurdish north of Iraq.
Read more
Distressed debt funds will become big shareholders in troubled oil firm Gulf Keystone after bondholders agreed to swap $500 million of debt for equity, wiping out some of the world's top funds as shareholders, Reuters reported. Gulf Keystone operates the giant Shaikan oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan and produces about 40,000 barrels per day (bpd). The firm has been fighting to avoid insolvency after low oil prices and overdue oil export payments from the Kurdistan regional government crippled its balance sheet.
Read more
Oil producer Afren Plc said its board had decided to put the company into administration as it failed to secure support for a vital refinancing and restructuring plan, Reuters reported. Afren said earlier this month talks with bondholders, banks and its partners were scuppered after the company cut its production forecast for the year earlier this month. Its shares were suspended on the same day.
Read more
It is one of the cheapest places on earth to drill for oil — but also among the most dangerous. And, right now, Kurdistan’s intrepid band of western operators are sweating. Tumbling oil prices and a dispute over crude sales between war-torn Iraq’s federal government and the Kurdish administration have left three foreign operators — Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone Petroleum and DNO — owed hundreds of millions of dollars.
Read more
The Iraqi government has said it will close the state-owned Iraqi Airways after declaring it bankrupt, the BBC reported. Iraq's transportation ministry told reporters the airline would be closed following a damaging dispute with Kuwait over war reparations. Kuwait Airways says the Iraqi flag carrier owes it about $1.2bn for aircraft and plane parts taken during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. All scheduled Iraqi Airways flights have been cancelled.
Read more