Chevron expects to restart drilling in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq and is taking steps to remobilize staff and equipment, The Wall Street Journal quoted a Chevron spokeswoman as saying on Tuesday, in what could be a sign that the Iraq-Kurdistan tensions may have eased.
Following the Kurdistan region’s independence referendum and Iraq’s federal government backlash against Kurdistan, Chevron temporarily suspended drilling in the region in October 2017.
Chevron has had operations in Kurdistan since 2012. The U.S. oil supermajor operates and holds an 80-percent stake in the Sarta production-sharing contract (PSC) and the Qara Dagh PSC. The two blocks cover a combined area of 279,000 net acres. According to Chevron’s website, the U.S. company completed a second exploration well in the Sarta block at the beginning of 2016 and was planning further evaluation of the block.
Chevron “expects to restart our drilling operations at our Sarta 3 block in the near future,” the company’s spokeswoman said.
“We are taking all necessary steps to remobilize people and equipment to ensure we are well-prepared to resume operations” in Kurdistan, she added.
After the Kurdistan referendum that the federal government of Iraq strongly opposed, Iraqi government forces seized the oil fields around Kirkuk in mid-October, which had been under Kurdish control since 2014. The military maneuver knocked some 350,000 bpd of crude oil production offline, and led to oil prices spiking on concerns of unstable supply from the region.
The Iraq-Kurdistan conflict was the first of a series of geopolitical events in the Middle East (the other being the Saudi purge) that pushed Brent oil prices above $60 a barrel toward the end of October.
On Monday, representatives of Iraq’s federal government and of the Kurdistan region held talks to discuss the issues and tensions, including the oil industry, and Baghdad said that the talks were marked by “an atmosphere of trust”.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.