Africa/Middle East Oil & Gas Update
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq is upping the ante with Baghdad over the long-running oil question. Now Erbil is suggesting that it is prepared to discuss a new oil deal with the Iraqi central government in which Baghdad would actually buy Kurdish oil. This new innovation is the latest in the ongoing dispute between Erbil and Baghdad over the former’s unilateral exports of oil that Baghdad believes belongs to the central government and for which it previously cut Kurdistan’s share of the country’s national budget. In December, the two sides signed an agreement to end the dispute, but that has hit a few hiccups as Erbil says Baghdad is not abiding by its commitments to the deal in the form of budget payments. The December deal was that Erbil would get its 17% share of the national budget and in turn it would give Baghdad 550,000 barrels of oil daily for export. More specifically, the Kurds were to export 250,000 barrels of oil and facilitate the export of the remainder from oil-rich Kirkuk, which is located in territory disputed between Baghdad and Erbil (and under threat from the Islamic State). Erbil says it has met its oil quotas, but Baghdad is playing numbers here and says it depends on whether oil is counted monthly or annually. Baghdad still has to implement the budget law that would secure continual payments to Erbil. Overnight on 7 May, Baghdad responded to the KRG’s ‘new deal’ by issuing a tranche of the budget payment for April. The Kurds received $445 million from Baghdad—the largest payment Baghdad has made to the Kurds this year. Separately, on 30 April, KRG President Massoud Barzani signed into law a bill of 16 articles designed to promote transparency and development in KRG oil and gas policy.
Italy’s Eni, Exxon Mobil, BP and Norway’s Statoil have made a significant breakthrough in Angola—one of Africa’s emerging oil giants that is threatening to overtake Nigeria. Ahead of schedule (a miracle in itself), the partners have started the offshore Kizomba project. The Kizomba project is part of Angola’s Kakocha, Bavuca and Mondo South fields. According to Eni, the project will develop approximately 190 million barrels of oil with peak production currently estimated at 70,000 barrels of oil per day. Kizomba is a Block 15 subsea infrastructure project. With Kizomba online,…