Kurdistan Oil Update
• Gazprom Neft Middle East is preparing to conduct a 2D seismic survey on the southeastern section of the Halabja block. The seismic equipment is en route from another section of the block, where seismic has already been conducted. The first exploration well here will be drilled within a year, with vague references to 2015/2016. This is one of four Gazprom Neft projects in Iraq; and one of three in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
• Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd, which operates the Shaikan field in Kurdistan, has resumed production and truck loading operations at its two production facilities here. The back story here is that production had been halted due to the failure of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to pay arrears for crude oil sales. According to Gulf Keystone, the KRG has received a $26 million pre-payment (of which $20.8 million is net to Gulf Keystone) for future Shaikan crude oil sales. Production capacity here is 40,000 bpd and with the pre-payment on future crude oil sales, Gulf Keystone will ramp up production to full capacity. Gulf Keystone has 9 producing wells in Shaikan and two newer production wells should add to existing capacity. The bottom line is that the KRG is footing a rather significant security bill to keep the Islamic State (IS) away from Kirkuk and other Northern Iraq locations where Baghdad has fallen short.
• At the same time, we note that Gulf Keystone is a rather controversial company…