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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Puppet Maliki to buy 36 F-16 while nation doesn't even have Water & Power

Iraq's Maliki says will buy 36 F-16 fighters from US

30 Jul 2011 14:36

Source: reuters // Reuters

BAGHDAD, July 30 (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday his government would buy 36 F-16 fighters from the United States, doubling the number of aircraft it had initially planned to buy.

Earlier this year, Iraq had delayed the purchase of F-16 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp , after putting $900 million of allocated funds into its national food programme to reduce the pressure from Iraqis staging demonstrations in protest against poor basic services. (Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim, writing by Patrick Markey, editing by Tim Pearce)

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Iraq's Maliki wins approval to trim government

30 Jul 2011 16:35

Source: reuters // Reuters

BAGHDAD, July 30 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won parliamentary approval on Saturday to trim the size of Iraq's government by cutting more than 10 ministries in an effort to meet popular demands for more efficiency and better basic services.

The measure could stir tension in his cross-sectarian government, where critics accuse Maliki of seeking to consolidate his position by doing away with posts belonging to opposition parties such as the Sunni Muslim-backed Iraqiya.

Many Iraqis, encouraged by protests sweeping the rest of the Arab world, earlier this year took to the streets to demand improvements in public services and the food rationing system, and call for an end to corruption.

The current cabinet has more than 40 posts, including 16 ministers without portfolio.

"The parliament voted to cancel all ministries of state without of portfolio, except three," Sadiq al-Rikabi, a lawmaker and top aide to Maliki's Dawa party, told Reuters.

Maliki said a second stage would merge other ministries that were carrying out similar work, such as those for agriculture and irrigation.

Iraq's power-sharing coalition consists of Sunni, Shi'ite Muslim and Kurdish parties who formed a government in December nine months after an inconclusive election.

Any increase in political tension would hamper the coalition just as it tries to decide whether to ask some U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond an year-end withdrawal date, more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Violence has eased since the peak in 2006-07 but Sunni and Shi'ite militias still carry out attacks, killings and bombings almost daily in the OPEC oil-producing country.

Maliki gave his ministers 100 days from late February to find solutions to the main complaints of Iraqis. But that deadline expired without many signs of improvement and protests have since sputtered out. (Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Mark Heinrich)

==

Trimming will cover all small entities and ethnic groups, Premier Maliki
7/30/2011 8:34 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Premier Nouri al-Maliki announced today that trimming the government will include the smaller components within the bigger ones, in addition to ethnic groups, without depriving them from participating in governmental responsibilities, pointing out that he will entrust the post of ministry of defence to present culture minister, as acting minister, if no agreement reached on the nominated persons for such posts.

In a press conference, following parliamentary session on trimming the government, he pointed the mechanism for the smaller and ethnic entities in a manner that will deprive them from their rights.

Iraqi parliament voted today for canceling all ministries of state, except for three, women, provinces and parliament affairs.

The governmental programme was discussed.

The number of the ministries shall reach 29 at maximum, while the present figure reached to 43 ministries.

Maliki added that there is a plan to establish State Consultants Authority that will extend their expertise in different fields.

==

Aswat Al Iraq / Politics , Baghdad
Al-Iraqiya Coalition rejects appointment of Saadoun al-Duleimy for Acting Defense Minister’s post
7/31/2011 12:29 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Spokeswoman of al-Iraqiya Coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, Maysouon al-Damaloujy, has announced on Sunday its rejection of the appointment for the post of Acting Defense Minister by the current Culture Minister, Saadoun al-Duleimy, saying that her Coalition had nominated several candidates, who were all rejected by Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.



“Al-Iraqiya Coalition rejects the appointment of the post of Acting Defense Minister for Saadoun al-Duleimy, considering the talk in this respect by Prime Minister Maliki as “an another individual decision, reflecting Maliki’s individualism to deal with such issues,” Damaloujy said.



She said that “al-Iraqiya Coalition had nominated a large number of candidates for the said post, but the Prime Minister had rejected them all, because he doesn’t want al-Iraqiya Coalition to share in the security dossier in any form.”



Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki had said in a news conference on Saturday, after attending a Parliament session that “if no agreement would take place towards the appointment of the candidates for the security cabinet posts, I shall assign the current Culture Minister, Saadoun al-Duleimy, to carry out the duties of the Defense Minister on acting basis,” pointing out that Duleimy possesses a previous experience in that respect.



Saadoun al-Duleimy has held the post of Defense Minister in the past and he holds the post of the Minister of Culture now.



He was born in Anbar Province in 1954 and is an independent Iraqi politician, who does not belong for any party.
He had got the MA degree in Social Sciences from Baghdad University in 1979 and PhD in Social Psychology from the United Kingdom in 1990.



Duleimy had joined the opposition against the regime of Iraq’s former President Saddam Hussein after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and was sentenced to death in absentia for his role in a coup attempt against Saddam’s regime.

===

Aswat Al Iraq / Politics , Baghdad
Al-Iraqiya Coalition proposes 4 candidates for Defense Minister’s post, before Political Leaders’ Meeting
8/1/2011 11:05 AM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Al-Iraqiya Coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, has proposed 4 candidates for the Defense Minister’s vacant post in the Iraqi Cabinet, its Legislature, Haider al-Mulla, reported on Monday, confirming that his Coalition “insists on the settlement of the issue of the security Cabinet posts in the next meeting of the Iraqi Political Leaderships, scheduled to convene on Tuesday.



“Our Coalition insists that the meeting of the Political Leaders, scheduled to convene tomorrow (Tuesday), would settle the dossiers of the security ministries and the Arbil Agreement,” Mulla told al-Hayat Newspaper.



Mulla said that the candidates of al-Iraqiya Coalition for the Defense Minister’s post were Qais al-Shadir, Salah al-Jiboury, Salem Dally and Abdul-Karim al-Samarrae, who holds the post of the Minister of Sciences & Technology in the current Cabinet.



The Newspaper quoted Mulla as having denied reports of “Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki’s approval to assign the Defense Minister’s post for the current Communications Minister, Mohammed Allawi,” reiterating that al-Iraqiya Coalition “insists on the implementation of all articles of the Arbil Agreement and the achievement of a genuine partnership in the State’s administration, which it insists not to submit.”



Al-Iraqiya Coalition had rejected on Sunday, according to its Official Spokeswoman, Maysoun Damaloujy, the assignment of the Acting Defense Minister’s post for the current Minister of Culture, Saadoun al-Duleimy, saying that her Coalition had presented several candidates for the post, but they were all rejected by the Prime Minister.



Al-Iraqiya Coalition had threatened mid last month to withdraw trust from Maliki’s government and to call for early elections in the event of non-achievement of the national-partnership, which some analysts believe that such position had been taken due to non-achievement of any progress in the talks between the negotiating committees, formed by both al-Iraqiya and the State of Law Coalitions, led by Allawi and Maliki.

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Iraqi Government is Downsized

Posted on 03 August 2011. Tags: Cabinet, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Reidar Visser
Iraqi Government is Downsized

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi parliament has been unusually efficient today. Although the assembly barely reached the quorum level (only 183 deputies were reportedly present), those who attended today’s session – which included a questioning of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki regarding his plans to reduce the size of his government – were effective enough. Whereas a previous session had ended with a lame “agreement to downsizing the government in principle”, today all ministries of state save three (provincial affairs, women’s affairs and parliamentary affairs) were abolished by a majority vote.

In one way, of course, this is a positive development, because a main problem in the government that was formed by Nuri al-Maliki in December 2010 was precisely its bigness and its sprawling, unwieldy character. Criticism of unnecessary and symbolic government offices that primarily serve to augment the hubris of their holders has been part and parcel of the limited “Arab Spring” that has manifested itself in Iraq over the past half year. With fewer ministers, decision-making inside the cabinet should be made easier and, in principle at least, one of the main obstacles towards a more effective government has been removed through today’s action.

At the same time it should be clear that everything that was done today represents a flagrant violation of the Iraqi constitution. That is so because the constitution does not distinguish between ordinary ministers (i.e. those with portfolio) and ministers of state (i.e. without portfolio) as far as sacking them is concerned. They should enjoy exactly the same right to individual questioning before parliament prior to a vote of no confidence, meaning that today’s en masse cancellation of around ten such ministries represents a clear constitutional violation. To add insult to injury, Maliki told parliament that “no legal problems” pertained to the process of reducing the size of the government and Iraqiyya expressed satisfaction as far as procedure was concerned. There have been vague attempts at establishing a distinction between ministries for which separate laws have already been issued and those that lack such laws (including the ministries of state). However, none of that cancels out the constitutional provisions, but so far it appears that only individual politicians like Wail Abd al-Latif and Aliyya Nusayf have even pointed out the constitutional infractions involved in today’s actions. Of course, it is not the first time the Iraqi parliament violates the Iraqi constitution, but what happened today does raise the question about the role of constitutions in states that have recently transitioned from authoritarian rule: Are they just for fun? Can their lofty principles be violated in such a flagrant way without damaging the fiction of democracy and the rule of law?

As for the political aspects of today’s actions, it appears that many of the ministries that were cancelled are from the smaller Shiite parties, including the Sadrists (Abd al-Mahdi al-Mutayri and Diya al-Asadi), Fadila (Bushra Hussein) and ISCI (Hasan Radi and possibly Yasin Hasan Muhammad Ahmad). Apparently, State of Law are giving up two ministries (Ali al-Dabbagh and possibly Amir al-Khuzaie whose national reconciliation position is listed as a “ministry of state” in many accounts) and Iraqiyya two (depending on how, in addition to Salah al-Jibburi, one counts Ali al-Sajri, originally from the Unity of Iraq list that has since been enrolled in Iraqiyya, and Jamil al-Batikh whose White Iraqiyya seceded from Iraqiyya back in March). The Kurds lose the ministry of state for civil society as well as a Fayli minister of state.

The ministries of state that were not abolished today are two held by State of Law (women’s affairs and parliamentary affairs) and one by a Turkmen (Turhan al-Mufti), whose party is seen as close to Iraqiyya but whose political rhetoric is often Turkmen first. The decision by Maliki to hold on to his embattled ally Safa al-Din al-Safi who is having trouble with accusations about corruption is interesting, and could indicate that he is feeling the threat of isolation within his own cabinet.

In terms of people, based on a rough count, the remaining rump cabinet includes 7 from State of Law, 5 Sadrists (who increased their share during the first half of 2011 through additional appointments in February and April), 2 smaller Shiite groups (ISCI and Fadila with one each), 4 Kurdistan Alliance plus one minority representative often seen as pro-Kurdish, and finally 7 from Iraqiyya plus Sadun al-Dulaymi (whose Unity of Iraq is now technically part of Iraqiyya) as well as the aforementioned Turhan al-Mufti. Which in turn means that the lingering decisions on the defence and interior portfolios could become an even more crucial factor in deciding the political balance of the Iraqi cabinet in the coming period.

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Government should not exempt any power from national reconciliation, Joburi
8/4/2011 1:59 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Ex-Qaeda leader called the Iraqi government to take "courageous steps for the national reconciliation process for all parties, warning that the instability will persist if not all real leaders participate in the dialogue.

Mulla Nadhim Al-Joburi, expert in armed groups affairs, told Al-Hayat daily today that "the government is using the national reconciliation only for propaganda", even the earlier five leaders who joined the reconciliation process either were detained and want to clear their records, or left the resistance long time ago and joined the pro-government Al-Sahwa (Awakening) forces.

He called upon the government "to take courageous and practical steps if it is serious about the reconciliation process".

Joburi demanded that the government should not expempt any force or power from the reconciliation process, because will not have stability unless dialogue is made with the real leaders of these armed forces.

==

Security breaches due to non-filling security ministerial posts, Anbar deputy governor
8/4/2011 10:08 PM

ANBAR / Aswat al-Iraq: Deputy Anbar Governor declared today that the security breaches in the province have grave indications, attributing them to non-filling security ministerial posts and the occupation of MPs with organizing the political scene.

Hikmat Jasim Zaidan pointed out to Aswat al-Iraq that yesterday explosion is due to these reasons and to the absence of agreements among the political parties and entities.

Yesterday (Wednesday) nine civilians were killed and 17 injured in two consecutive bomb blasts.


The bombs were put in garbage car and barrel mid of Ramadi city.

Today (Thursday) two civilians and two cops were injured when a grenade were hurled on a police patrol mid of Fallouja.

Zaidan called for greater security vigilance to protect the civilians, particularly during praying times, because the armed forces wait every leak or opportunity to strike.

"We have confidence that the Iraqi forces are able to shoulder responsibility in imposing security and stability in the country", he confirmed.

Since March 2010 elections, the country is passing through a state of mistrust, particularly between the main two political blocs (the State of Law and Iraqiyah), where the last demands the implementation of Arbil agreement and the formation of the Higher National Strategic Council.

Iraqiyah bloc warned many times the possibility of withdrawing confidence from the government and calling for early elections.

Ramadi city, center of Anbar province, lies 110 km west of the capital, Baghdad

24 dead, 13 missing in Ukraine mines

From: AFP
July 30, 2011 4:36PM

Reidar Visser said
Sunday, 3 July 2011 12:13 at 12:13

Salah, as mentioned above, there is indeed a move in parliament headed by State of Law to sack the commission, and this is the same development linked to in your story about the 114 deputies above. Hamidiyya al-Husseini used to be considered to be somewhat close to State of Law so with her gone they may have lost some influence in the commission and they will have even more incentives to get rid of it.

Faisal, I read that Wasat are terrified that their ministers will get axed in any process of making the government smaller, which resonates with what you describe above. There is an interesting headline just out at NINA but the full story isn’t available yet:

نائبة عن /العراقية/ تدعو الى ان يشمل الترشيق في اجهزة الدولة نواب رئيسي الجمهورية والوزراء

Suggesting a female Iraqiyya deputy is asking for the process of shrinking of government to include the deputy PMs and the deputy presidents!


THE death toll rose to 24 from two separate coalmining accidents on the same day in Ukraine's eastern industrial district, notorious for its poor safety standards.

The Ukrainian emergency ministry on Saturday raised the toll from 16 to 18 from an explosion early yesterday at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coalmine in the eastern Lugansk region.

Eight miners were still missing, while two remained in hospital with serious burns after the blast, probably caused by a buildup of deadly methane gas.

The toll also rose to six after a mine headframe collapsed at the Bazhanova pit in the town of Makiyivka in neighbouring Donetsk region, while rescuers continued to search for five missing miners.

The 65-metre-high frame used for raising and lowering miners into the shaft collapsed yesterday, trapping workers underneath. The accident forced the closure of the mine and the evacuation of more than 500 miners.

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The twin disasters were the country's worst mining accidents since more than 100 miners died in a mine explosion in 2007.

President Viktor Yanukovych interrupted his holiday to travel to the scene of the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya accident late yesterday and meet the relatives of victims and survivors.

He called for a government commission to investigate the disasters, calling for improved safety standards to protect miners.

Deadly accidents are frequent in Ukrainian mines, most of which are located in the country's industrial eastern region. Many of the mines are underfunded and poorly equipped, while safety violations are rife.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/dead-13-missing-in-ukraine-mines/story-e6frfku0-1226105026041#ixzz1Ta9lWBha

Iraqi Parliament’s session begins with 222 MPs attendance

7/30/2011 12:00 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Iraqi Parliament has started its session on Saturday, with the attendance of 222 out of its total 325 members, the Parliament’s media source reported.



“The Parliament’s 15th session has started before noon Saturday, under chairmanship of its Speaker, Usama al-Nujeify, with the attendance of 222 legislatures,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.



The same source told Aswat al-Iraq early in the day that the Parliament’s session on Saturday, would discuss the law on parties, the Cabinet’s trimming and the government’s program, with the attendance of Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.



“The session also includes the voting on the Parliament’s internal system, the 1st reading of the parties’ law, the discussion of the Cabinet’s trimming and the government’s program, along with the reports of the Parliament’s Security & Defense Committee about the Iranian bombardment of the Iraqi territories in Kurdistan Region and the U.S. bombardment on Babel and Missan Provinces,” he said.



He added that the session would also “discuss the 1st reading of the project on ratification of the Memo of Understanding (MOU), signed between Iraq and the European Union, regarding their strategic partnership in the field of energy, along with the 2nd reading of the draft-law on the Industry & Minerals and the draft-law on the UN Agreement for Human Rights.”

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Victims of joint U.S.-Iraqi landing on Tikrit village reaches 4 killed
7/30/2011 11:44 AM

SALAHAL-DIN / Aswat al-Iraq: The number of victims of the joint U.S.-Iraqi air-landing on al-Rifeiat tribe’s village in Balad township of Salahal-Din Province on Saturday, has reached 4 civilians killed, the Tribe’s Sheikh reported.



“The number of victims of the joint U.S.-Iraqi air-landing on al-Rifeiat village of Balad township, 95 km to the south of Tikrit, has reached 5 persons killed,” Sheikh Yousif al-Rufeie told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.



He added that he had raised a court case against the said joint U.S.-Iraqi air-landing at Balad’s police, charging the joint force’s soldiers with “having executed the four persons, including an old man, with cold blood,” stressing that the bodies of the victims were handed over to Balad’s General Hospital to prove the means of the killing.



Rifaie had told Aswat al-Iraq early in the day that 3 of his tribe’s men have been killed and 6 others, including women and children, had been injured in a joint U.S.-Iraqi air-landing on his village, south of Tikrit.



Tikrit, the center of Salahal-Din Province, is 175 km to the northwest of Baghdad.

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Hamdiya Hanan al-Husseini accused of corruption

Dubai - East July 28 accused the former director of the electoral district in the Electoral Commission has accused Hamdiya Husseini, Hanan al also exploiting its membership in the coalition of state law, headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to obtain moral and material privileges for her and her brothers. She noted al-Husseini to get Fatlawi on luxury apartments inside the Green Zone and Baghdad real estate agent and her hometown in the city of Hilla, registered in its name and the name of her brothers as well as an exception of her brother Colonel in the former Republican Guard of measures of accountability, justice and appointed commander of the police the province of Dhi Qar, after being granted the rank of Major General by Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Hamdiya Husseini reveal documents indicting MP Hanan al and her brothers
Ahmed Saadi / Shatt al-Arab - 05/07/2011 pm - 4:38 p.m. | Hits: 7558

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Revealed the former head of the electoral district in the Electoral Commission for elections Hamdiya Husseini for possessing documents that pointed to the involvement of the interviewer MP Hanan al charges related to the administrative and financial corruption, noting that "the interrogation was for the purposes of political and personal."

Hamdiya Husseini said in a statement to the Agency all of Iraq [where] on Monday that "the process of questioning the Commission is one of the secretions of the results of the last legislative elections, a political and personal questioning of an MP for the coalition of state law Hanan al."

She added: "I have evidence relating to the corruption of administrative and financial against Fatlawi in the coverage of her brother called [Sabah Saeed Mohsen Fatlawi] the decisions of the accountability and justice as he takes a position in security high rank of director general is currently working in the Ministry of Interior as well as the allocation of house large [Villa] inside the Green Zone by General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers for the other brother named [Ehab Saeed Mohsen Fatlawi]. "

To watch and document the allocation of a villa in the Green Zone, a brotherhood MP Hanan al Hajj more Click here

Related News:

Hamdiya Husseini: MP Fatlawi figures presented is accurate and Cult charges unlawfully + documents

MP Hanan al in a seminar of the Dawa party in London reveal the illegitimacy of provincial elections and the current parliament

===

U.S. Loses Ally as Iraqi General Waits for Trial


BAGHDAD — When the commander of an elite Iraqi counterterrorist unit escaped arrest on a bribery charge earlier this year, a melee between his bodyguards and the police was captured on video and landed on YouTube. It was leaked, according to the commander and two people involved in the case, by American officials who believed he was innocent and wanted to discredit the Iraqi investigation by portraying it as a circus.

The commander’s fate is a uniquely Iraqi tale of intrigue involving charges of corruption and competing versions of reality, and it shows the tension between a United States now on the verge of withdrawal and an increasingly assertive Iraqi government.

The facts in the case may be murky, but at least one consequence is clear: while the commander is in jail awaiting trial, the United States has lost a crucial partner in combating the Shiite militias that have been largely responsible for driving American combat deaths to the highest level in three years. American officials say that since the commander’s arrest, joint operations with his brigade have ground to a near halt.

The commander, Gen. Nomon Dakhil, who later turned himself in, led the Emergency Response Brigade, a special forces unit under the Ministry of Interior. He now sits in a sweltering room in a police station in the Green Zone. Wearing an Adidas jersey and sitting in front of a table piled with religious texts and five cellphones, General Dakhil explained that earlier this year he cooperated with American units in southern Iraq to concentrate on militias attacking United States bases with rockets.

“After targeting these guys, they stopped,” he said. Now, he said, “every day there are attacks” on the Americans.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the top United States military spokesman, said in a statement that the brigade’s “operations against these militias have been significantly reduced” since General Dakhil’s arrest.

General Dakhil believes he ran afoul of Iraqi political and military leaders with ties to the militias. “All the guys that worked against me are the Shias,” said the general, who is a Shiite himself.

The fallout from the continuing investigation has been extensive. After the general’s arrest in March on charges of taking a $50,000 bribe in a construction deal for a new military facility, some American investigators tried to involve themselves in the investigation, which was led by Raheem Hassan al-Uqailee, the head of Iraq’s Integrity Commission, the country’s top anticorruption body.

Mr. Uqailee complained about the interference to the American ambassador, James F. Jeffrey. At least two American officials have been reprimanded for interfering in the Iraqis’ investigation, and one was ordered to leave the country. An internal investigation conducted by the Ministry of Interior’s inspector general found no evidence that the general had accepted a bribe and declared the case a setup involving other Iraqi officials who had a grudge against the general for removing a relative of an official from his unit.

Mr. Uqailee says there is videotaped evidence from a sting operation that justifies continuing to pursue the criminal charges. But some who have seen the video say it is far from conclusive. Mr. Uqailee believes the corruption goes beyond General Dakhil, and says he has passed on information — which he declined to describe in detail — that suggests involvement by Americans in the corruption case that ensnared the general.

He said, “We have told the general inspector from the Americans about what information we have about the American side, we gave them all the information about the case, but with regret I say that the Americans have worked against us on the case.”

Stuart W. Bowen Jr., who leads the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, confirmed that his office was investigating the case to determine if Americans were involved in any corrupt construction deal.

In April, Iraqi officials say, American troops tried to forcibly remove the general from custody. Mr. Uqailee said the troops “tried to free General Nomon from prison,” but that Iraqi security forces refused to turn him over. “There was a fight between them, with words not weapons,” Mr. Uqailee said.

The American military denies that soldiers tried to free the general but acknowledges a “verbal argument” that was quickly resolved at the jail where he is being held. General Dakhil said several American special forces soldiers had come to the jail to say goodbye before returning home, and were turned away, resulting in a verbal fracas.

A senior United States Embassy official in Baghdad, speaking anonymously according to ground rules for the interview, played down how Iraqi officials described the episode, saying, “There are always little confrontations by the nature of two military forces coming together.” He elaborated: “If it wasn’t a gun battle it’s not a real confrontation.”

General Dakhil has been replaced by a new general, who is believed to have ties to the Mahdi Army, the now-disbanded Shiite militia controlled by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who is closely aligned with the Iranian regime that the United States military says is supporting attacks on American soldiers.

After the American invasion upended a long reign of Sunni dominance, Sunni leaders feared that the new Shiite-dominated government would allow Shiite militants a free hand to wage sectarian strife. A crackdown on militants in 2008 led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki bolstered his credibility with the Americans whose invasion allowed him to come to power. But many Sunnis have long feared that once the Americans left, and Iran gained influence over Iraq, that Mr. Maliki would back off.

General Dakhil’s troops worked closely with American Navy Seal and Green Beret personnel, and American officials vouch for his leadership.

“We had a very good relationship with General Nomon; he was an outstanding partner,” said Col. Scott Brower, commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. (He referred to the general by his first name, as is common in Iraq.)

The embassy official said: “This is not a minor thing. This was a key unit, an important commander. We had a very close relationship, professionally, with him, and saw him as a first-class leader and fighter, and that says nothing about the validity of the charges.”


In discussing the case, some Iraqi officials, including Mr. Uqailee, recalled a 2006 incident in which the electricity minister at the time, Ayham al-Samaraie, who held United States citizenship, escaped from jail after being arrested on a corruption charge. The Iraqis have long suspected United States involvement.

As General Dakhil awaits trial, even his close relationships with the Americans have not helped him.

“They tried to help me in any way they can,” he said. “They know it’s a political case.”
________

Friday, July 29, 2011

American GDP figures show need for policy rethink

Reuters


(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Martin Hutchinson
NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) - While legislators are fiddling over the debt ceiling, the real U.S. economy is struggling to emerge from the Great Recession. Just look at Friday's GDP data, which show disappointing growth of 1.3 percent in the second quarter while revising first-quarter growth down sharply to 0.4 percent. This suggests the fiscal and monetary policies of recent years have proved unproductive, and that legislators and policymakers need to get serious --even a little bit radical.
To be sure, although second-quarter growth was lower than expected, the details were not too bad. Much of the anemic growth came from increases in fixed investment and an improvement in net exports, with only modest boosts from inventory growth and consumption and a negative contribution from government spending. Inflation was slightly below the first quarter, but overall continues to niggle (To be preoccupied with trifles or petty details). The personal savings rate improved somewhat, though at 5.1 percent it is still too low for long-term health.
The real bad news came in the annual revisions to previous years and quarters, released at the same time. These showed that the Great Recession was deeper than previously thought, with a 5.1 percent decline from peak quarter to trough quarter, and that we are still not out of it, with real second-quarter GDP 0.4 percent below 2007's fourth quarter. Real annualized first-half growth of only 0.8 percent is far below the economy's potential.
This overall sluggishness strengthens the view that fiscal and monetary policies since 2007 have been counterproductive. In particular the extra stimulus implemented in late 2010, with $600 billion of Fed securities purchases and a two percentage point cut in individuals' social security payments, appears to have been ineffective -- or even to have had the opposite effect to that intended, as real growth declined from 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter to 0.4 percent in the first.
What should be done? The policy emphasis since 2007 on short-term stimulants such as ultra-low interest rates and massive budget deficits needs to be reversed. Trade liberalization needs more attention, and the overall uncertainty caused by Washington political games must end. Job-creating small business deserves greater favor than larger institutions, and pruning shears should be taken to many newly mandated costs and regulations. It's time for grown-ups to take over. Will they please step forward?

CONTEXT NEWS
-- The "advance" estimate of second-quarter GDP showed a rise of an annualized 1.3 percent, while in the annual revisions published simultaneously first-quarter GDP growth was revised down to a 0.4 percent annual rate. Revisions also showed the recession of 2007-09 to have been deeper than previously believed, with a peak-to-trough quarterly GDP decline of 5.1 percent and real GDP in the second quarter of 2011 still 0.4 percent below its peak in the fourth quarter of 2007.
-- Non-residential fixed investment rose by an annualized 6.3 percent and contributed 0.61 percentage point to the quarter's growth while exports rose by 6 percent and contributed 0.81 percent. Inventory changes contributed 0.18 percentage point, federal government expenditures 0.18 percentage point and personal consumption expenditures only 0.07 percentage point. State and local government expenditures subtracted 0.41 percentage point.
-- The GDP deflator rose at a 2.4 percent rate in the quarter while the personal consumption expenditures deflator rose at a 3.1 percent annual rate. The personal savings rate rose from 4.9 percent in the first quarter to 5.1 percent.
-- Bureau of Economic Analysis GDP release: http://link.reuters.com/cut82s

((martin.hutchinson@thomsonreuters.com))
(Editing by Martin Langfield)

===

Gdp Deflator
A price index used to assess whether there has been a real rise or fall in gross domestic product (GDP) from one year to another. GDP at current prices is divided by the GDP deflator to obtain an index of GDP at base-year prices. A GDP deflator is based on a broader class of goods than the retail price index (RPI), since it needs to take account of the prices of investment goods and goods bought by the public sector as well as consumer goods prices.

Turkey military chiefs step down

Turkey's chief of staff General Isik Kosaner has resigned (AP)

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Friday July 29 2011

The chiefs of staff of Turkey's military have stepped down as tensions dramatically increased over the arrest of dozens of officers accused of plotting to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government.

The resignation of so many top commanders for the first time ever in Turkey, a Nato member, signals a deep rift with the government, which has been confident in confronting a military that once held sway over Turkish political life. The arrests of high-ranking military officers would once have been unimaginable.

The resignations of Turkey's top general, Isik Kosaner, along with the country's navy, army and air force commanders, came hours after a court charged 22 suspects, including several generals and officers, with carrying out an internet campaign to undermine the government. The commanders asked to be retired, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

In Brussels, a Nato spokeswoman declined to comment on the resignations. Turkey's military is the second largest in the 27-member alliance. It has about 1,800 troops as part of Nato's 140,000-strong force in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with General Necdet Ozel, the commander of the gendarme forces - the highest-ranking commander who remains in office. Mr Ozel is widely expected to become the next head of the military and Mr Kosaner's resignation might speed up the process.

The commanders who stepped down decided not to attend a scheduled reception hosted by the embassy of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in a possible move to avoid civilian leaders, NTV television said.

Mr Kosaner had met Mr Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul earlier on Friday to discuss several key appointments during next week's high military council meeting.

Seventeen generals and admirals, who are in line for promotion, have been jailed along with nearly 200 officers on charges of plotting to overthrow the government in 2003 in a case called the "Sledgehammer".

More than 400 people - including academics, journalists, politicians and soldiers - are also on trial on separate charges of plotting to bring down the government. That case is based on a conspiracy by an alleged gang of secular nationalists called "Ergenekon".

The government denies the cases are politically motivated and says it is just trying to work to improve democracy. Mr Erdogan's ruling party, which won a third term in elections on June 12 in a landslide victory, has said its key goal is to replace a military-era constitution with a more democratic one.

The Day of Carnage in Balochistan; Manslaughter of Hazaras by Saudi funded Wahabi Killing Squads

Gunmen kill seven Shia pilgrims in Quetta
By AFP / Express
Published: July 29, 2011

Seven people were killed and 12 injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire at the office of a transportation company in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

QUETTA: Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus stand in southwestern Pakistan in Quetta on Friday, killing seven Shia pilgrims and 12 injured waiting to travel to neighbouring Iran at the office of a transportation company, police said.

A group of pilgrims were waiting to travel to the border town of Taftan when the assailants arrived at the office on Saryab Road and opened fire, Express 24/7 correspondent Muhammad Kazim reported.

The dead include two Uzbeks and one Iranian national, senior police official Hamid Shakeel told Reuters.

The transport company runs buses from Quetta to Taftan, a city that borders Iran, he said.

The injured have been injured to Bolan Medical Complex. Two of the injured are reported to be in serious condition.

Officials said the attack could be an incident of sectarian violence.

“The attackers came on motorcycle and opened fire on the pilgrims. All seven Shia pilgrims were killed on the spot,” Farid Breach, a senior police officer, told AFP.

“It was a sectarian attack. The Shia pilgrims were the target.”


There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, which was confirmed by local intelligence officials.



A heavy contingent of police has been deployed in the area to control the law and order situation.

The attack was the latest violence in the province of Baluchistan, which is beset by deadly sectarian conflict, a separatist insurgency and Taliban militant activity.


==

Seven devotees killed in Sariab road firing
Updated at: 1703 PST, Friday, July 29, 2011
Seven devotees killed in Sariab road firing QUETTA: At least seven devotees were killed and several others injured when unidentified armed men opened fire at them, rescue sources said.

According to sources, devotees were waiting for van at Sariab road when unidentified armed assailants opened fire killing four people on the spot while three succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.

The police said Kalashnikovs and pistols were using in the firing incident.

===

11 killed in firing near bus stop in Quetta
By Express / Reuters
Published: July 30, 2011

Unidentified gunmen open fire near bus stop, leave several injured.

QUETTA: At least 11 people, including a woman, were killed and several others were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire near a bus stop on Spini road in Quetta on Saturday, Express 24/7 reported.

“The vehicle was passing by a bus stand when gunmen riding in another car opened fire, killing at least 11 people and wounding three,” city’s police chief Hamid Shakeel told Reuters.

A rickshaw driver was also among the dead.

Another police official said it appeared to be a sectarian attack as all those killed were Shia Muslims.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the incident as yet.

The bodies were shifted to the Bolan Medical Complex where the relatives of the dead are arriving. The relatives have blocked the Barori Road in front of the hospital in protest.

The protesters set ablaze two vehicles of Bolan Medical Complex and damaged its building, while the police resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters.

The Hazara Democratic Party announced a strike against the shooting in Quetta on Sunday.

In a similar incident of Friday, seven people were killed and 12 were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus stand where Shia pilgrims were waiting to travel to neighbouring Iran.

Earlier, the nephew of Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani and another man was killed while 39 others sustained injuries in an explosion followed by intense firing at a football stadium in Mastung area on Friday.

==
Gunmen kill 11 in Pakistan suspected sectarian attack

30 Jul 2011 04:44

Source: reuters // Reuters

QUETTA, Pakistan, July 30 (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province on Saturday, killing 11 Shi'ite Muslims and wounding three in a suspected sectarian attack, police said.

A woman was also among the dead in the attack in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, where pro-Taliban Sunni militants and Baluch separatists are blamed for years of violence in the province that shares border with Iran and Afghanistan.

"The vehicle was passing by a bus stand when gunmen riding in another car opened fire, killing at least 11 people and wounding three," city's police chief Hamid Shakeel told Reuters.

Another police official said it appeared to be a sectarian attack as all those killed were Shi'ite Muslims.

The majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims, with Shi'ites accounting for around 15 percent of a population of more than 170 million.

Both communities largely live in peace with each other but militants from the two sides have killed thousands of people in tit-for-tat attacks since the beginning of Islamist militancy in the country in the 1980s.

Saturday's attack came a day after eight people were killed and about 25 wounded in two separate bomb and gun attacks in two districts of Baluchistan.

Baluch nationalists have waged a low-scale insurgency for decades but Taliban militants with links to al Qaeda have also been active in Baluchistan, the largest but poorest of Pakistan's four provinces, and home to the country's largest gas and oil reserves.

Pakistan has seen a surge in violence since al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in a secret raid in Pakistan in May.

Militants have vowed revenge for bin Laden's death. (Reporting by Gul Yousafzai; Writing by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Alex Richardson)

==

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Seven killed as Iran-bound pilgrims attacked in Quetta

By Mohammad Zafar

QUETTA: A group of gunmen killed at least seven people, including four Shias, at a crowded bus terminal on Saryab Road on Friday.

Banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed the responsibility for the killings. It said it was to avenge the death of cleric Karim Mengal in Quetta.

A senior police officer, Farid Barech, said the attackers, who were four in number, barged into the congested and crowded Taftan bus terminal and opened fire on passengers waiting for buses to travel to bordering town of Taftan.

As a result of the firing, seven people, among them four Shia pilgrims waiting to travel to Mashhad in Iran, were killed instantly, while a man was fatally hurt.

“The attackers came on motorcycles. It was a sectarian attack. The Shias were the target,” said Barech.

Another police official, Hassan Buzdar, said, “It was an incident of targeted killing.”

Those killed were identified as Asmathullah, Abdul Nabi Reki, Mazullah, Saghem Abbas, Arif Hussain, Syed Qalb Hussain and Syed Awan Raza. The injured man was shifted to the Bolan Medical College Hospital.

DIG Operations Hamid Shakeel said a search operation had been launched to nab the unidentified gunmen.

The dead bodies of four Shias were dispatched to Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab for burial.

===

Saturday, July 30, 2011 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

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Balochistan CM’s nephew killed in Mastung blast

QUETTA: Two people, including one of the nephews of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, were killed while 39 others, among them eight officials of the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) and four policemen, were wounded in a hand grenade attack in a football stadium in Mastung, about 40 kilometres south of Quetta, on Friday.

Mastung Deputy Commissioner Noorul Haq Baloch said the incident took place at the conclusion of a ceremony held to award prizes to participants of All-Pakistan Sarwan Football Tournament.

Fourteen-year-old Akmal Raisani had come to the event with his father Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, the chief minister’s younger brother, who had to give away the awards. “The guests were leaving when the explosion took place,” said the deputy commissioner, adding that some people received bullet wounds when intense firing started following the hand grenade attack.

Akmal Raisani was fatally hurt in the attack and was rushed to the Combined Military Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The other dead could not be identified. Sources said that Akmal was getting into a vehicle at which unidentified miscreants lobbed a grenade. “Siraj Raisani had already got into the car and was sitting in the front seat,” an official, who wished anonymity, told this scribe. “Siraj Raisani was the target of the attack,” he added.

Some sources held that an explosive device had already been planted under the stairs of the pavilion.

Emergency was declared in all state-run hospitals after the blast. Eighteen injured were ferried to the CMH, six to the Bolan Medical Complex and three to the Sandeman Hospital. mohammad zafar

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Government gets breathing space
Govt dispels notion of clash among state institutions
Asma warns against defying court orders
Govt to implement SC’s order: Babar
Seven killed as Iran-bound pilgrims attacked in Quetta
Balochistan CM’s nephew killed in Mastung blast
No letup in ongoing spate of target killings in Karachi


===

Sectarian violence spikes in Ramazan
Published: August 6, 2011

Security officials body search people going to offer prayers at a mosque in Quetta. PHOTO: PPI

LAHORE: The eruption of sectarian violence just as Ramazan commenced has shaken the entire country.

The worst incident took place in Quetta where 18 people were killed in just 14 hours, while another man was shot dead in southern Punjab. Both incidents were allegedly aimed at avenging the death of two Deobandi leaders, killed earlier in Quetta.

On July 30, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Quetta, killing 11 Shias, including a woman, and wounding another three in a suspected sectarian attack.

“The vehicle was passing by a bus stand when gunmen in a car opened fire killing at least 11 people and wounding three,” police officials had said. Police officials said that the incident was sectarian in outlook because all of the deceased belonged to the Shia community.

The attack came a day after seven people were killed and 25 were injured in two separate bomb and gun attacks in two districts of Balochistan.


Talking to The Express Tribune, Inspector-General Balochistan Police Rao Amin Hashim, however, said that in both incidents four Sunni people from Punjab, and another Sunni Iranian citizen, were also killed. He said a prominent Deobandi leader was killed a day before the incident. The first leader was killed about a month ago.

He added that a massive clean-up operation had been launched with the help of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and around 200 suspects had been detained. He claimed that for the first time in Balochistan police’s history, Saryab Road had been raided with the help of FC personnel.

Another senior police official claimed that incidents of sectarian violence increased before Ramazan in the same way they did before Muharram.

A local journalist said these acts specifically targeted the Hazara community. He claimed that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) spokesperson Ali Sher Haidri had claimed responsibility for various incidents.

More sectarian killings

In another incident, a Shia activist was shot dead while another was critically injured in the 14 Pul area in Khanewal district on the night of July 31.

The vice-president of the Shia Ulema Council, Punjab, Fida Hussain Ghalvi, condemned the incident, terming it sectarian violence. He urged the government to ensure the early arrest of killers, besides calling for provision of adequate security to the Shia community.


He said that three Shias had been injured as a bomb went off prematurely on the Peeran Ghaib Road in Multan, on the morning of July 18. He said the two bombs had been planted to target prominent Shia leaders who were expected to arrive there to attend a gathering. Only one bomb had exploded. He said the incidents were directly connected with the release of “dangerous terrorists belonging to banned outfits such as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and LeJ”. He claimed that more incidents of sectarian violence were expected.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.


====


Bomb blast at hotel kills 11 in southwest Pakistan

14 Aug 2011 10:15

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Suspicions of attack fall on Baluch separatists

* Baluch militants fighting for more autonomy

* Rocket attack by Islamist militants kills 3 soldiers

By Gul Yusufzai

QUETTA, Pakistan, Aug 14 (Reuters) - A bomb ripped through a two-story hotel in Pakistan's restive southwest on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly 20, police said.

No-one claimed responsibility for the attack in Dera Allah Yar, a town in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, although police said they suspected ethnic Baluch separatists.

"The bomb was planted inside the hotel and it exploded when a large number of people were sitting in a hall," local police official Javed Gharsheen told Reuters. The town is around 300 km (185 miles) east of provincial capital Quetta.


Witnesses said the two-story building was destroyed. Rescue workers and police were removing the rubble to find any survivors.

Police said the death toll could rise as several people were believed to have trapped in the rubble.

Baluch militants have been waging a low-level insurgency for decades for more autonomy and control over the natural resources of their impoverished region.

The activists often target government installations, security forces, gas pipelines, railway tracks and electricity pylons.

They have intensified their campaign since the assassination of a tribal elder, Nawab Akbar Bugti, in a military operation in 2006 during the rule of military President Pervez Musharraf.

Human Rights Watch in June said rights violations in the region were getting worse as militants and security forces targeted civilians, while authorities appear unwilling to rein in lawlessness.

The government of President Asif Ali Zardari, who replaced Musharraf, has tried to pacify Baluch nationalists by announcing huge development schemes for the region, but this has failed to stop separatist violence.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Taliban are also active in the strategic region that borders Afghanistan and Iran, though officials say there is no evidence that they have links with Baluch militants.

Separately, Islamist militants fired rockets at a military camp in North Waziristan, another troubled region in the northwest of the country, killing three soldiers when they were preparing for celebrations to mark the 65th independence day of Pakistan. At least 16 soldiers were wounded in the attack. (Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Alex Richardson)

==========

Bomb blast at hotel kills 11 in southwest Pakistan
Reuters

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A man shouts for assistance while searching the rubble for survivors at a hotel building which was left destroyed by a bomb blast in Pakistan Reuters – A man shouts for assistance while searching the rubble for survivors at a hotel building which was left …

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By Gul Yusufzai – Sun Aug 14, 6:16 am ET

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) – A bomb ripped through a two-story hotel in Pakistan's restive southwest on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly 20, police said.

No-one claimed responsibility for the attack in Dera Allah Yar, a town in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, although police said they suspected ethnic Baluch separatists.

"The bomb was planted inside the hotel and it exploded when a large number of people were sitting in a hall," local police official Javed Gharsheen told Reuters. The town is around 300 km (185 miles) east of provincial capital Quetta.

Witnesses said the two-story building was destroyed. Rescue workers and police were removing the rubble to find any survivors.

Police said the death toll could rise as several people were believed to have trapped in the rubble.

Baluch militants have been waging a low-level insurgency for decades for more autonomy and control over the natural resources of their impoverished region.

The activists often target government installations, security forces, gas pipelines, railway tracks and electricity pylons.

They have intensified their campaign since the assassination of a tribal elder, Nawab Akbar Bugti, in a military operation in 2006 during the rule of military President Pervez Musharraf.

Human Rights Watch in June said rights violations in the region were getting worse as militants and security forces targeted civilians, while authorities appear unwilling to rein in lawlessness.

The government of President Asif Ali Zardari, who replaced Musharraf, has tried to pacify Baluch nationalists by announcing huge development schemes for the region, but this has failed to stop separatist violence.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Taliban are also active in the strategic region that borders Afghanistan and Iran, though officials say there is no evidence that they have links with Baluch militants.

Separately, Islamist militants fired rockets at a military camp in North Waziristan, another troubled region in the northwest of the country, killing three soldiers when they were preparing for celebrations to mark the 65th independence day of Pakistan. At least 16 soldiers were wounded in the attack.

(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Alex Richardson)
==============



GGunmen attack bus in Balochistan, 26 killed
By AFP / Express
Published: September 20, 2011
An ethnic Hazara Shia is comforted by his relative after he arrived at the local hospital in Quetta, to find a family member shot dead, September 20, 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS QUETTA: Gunmen opened fire on a bus in the Mastung area of Balochistan, carrying passengers to Iran on Tuesday, killing at least 26 Shia pilgrims, police said.
In a brutal assault, gunmen ordered pilgrims off their bus, lined them up and killed them in a hail of gunfire in Mastung, a district south of Quetta.
“The attackers stopped the bus and forced the pilgrims to get off, lined them up and then opened fire,” local deputy commissioner Saeed Imrani told AFP.
“The death toll has risen to 26. At least six people were wounded, four of them are in a critical condition,” he added, after earlier saying 20 died.
According to reports, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Balochistan has increasingly become a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Pakistan’s majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites.
“It is an emergency-like situation. We are taking the dead and injured to hospitals. Twenty-six pilgrims were killed and six wounded,” Shah Nawaz, another government official told a TV channel.
The bus driver, Khushal Khan, recounted harrowing details of the attack to reporters for two Pakistani TV channels who quickly reached the scene.
“There was no security on our bus. Eight to 10 attackers armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers stopped the bus and forced all the passengers to get off,” he recalled while speaking to the media.
“45 passengers were travelling. Some of them managed to escape. I also managed to escape,” he said.
“The attackers then fled in their vehicle,” he said.
Sources said that women and children were spared but witnessed the shooting.
Mastung is Chief Minister Balochistan, Nawab Mohammed Aslam Raisani’s constituency.
Meanwhile the Shia Ulema Council has announced a seven-day mourning in the wake of the incident.
According to Express 24/7 correspondent Muhammad Kazim, another car was also attacked by gunmen in Quetta, killing two men. The car was reportedly enroute to Mastung to rescue survivors of the attacked bus.
Earlier in June, a group of armed men opened fire on a bus carrying pilgrims from Balochistan to Iran, killing two people and injuring nine others.
The attack had occurred near the western bypass near Quetta.
The passenger coach, which was on its way from Quetta to Taftan, was carrying 50 passengers when it was attacked near the Akhtarabad area.
The assailants escaped after the attack. Police and other law-enforcement agencies took the bodies and the injured to the Bolan Medical College Hospital, sources at the hospital said.

==========

ALERT

Rights of Balochistan: a blatant denial by HBFC in Gwadar

By Ansar Shahoor - Feb 23rd, 2012 (No Comment)
2

The strategically important Balochistan province of the country has been pushed toward cessation by the follies of ours and our so-called saviours, Though our ‘savious’ should share the major responsibility for the mess today we are in as far as Balochistan is concerned, but our other institutions have also played their roles in creating sense of deprivation and alienation among the Baloch, who have been compelled to mull over other options than to live in the confines of Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan with its announcement that Gwadar will be developed as a commercial port and a hub of business gave a lot of hope to the Baloch. How poor they are and what is their living standard is only known to the people who have ever visited that area. Thanks to Chinese that the dream of Gwadar Port became a reality, though it’s becoming a fully functional port yet remains a dream. Gwadar Port becoming fully operational can generate a host of economic activities and could have also made the optimal economic use of the Makran Coastal Highway. This would have indeed created employment and economic empowerment of the people in that region of Balochistan and along the Makran Coast. The commitment of the Balochistan Govt. to the project of Gwadar Port and to the people of Makran Coast is demonstrated by the fact that the Provincial Govt. of Balochistan has made Gwadar as Summer Office of the Provincial Govt. That will not be possible without Gwadar having sufficient and reasonably decent housing not only for its own people but also for those who will be coming to Gwadar to support the Port activities and the activities of the Provincial Govt.

The two financial institutions namely Pak-Kuwait and HBFC clearly realized in 2004-06 that Gwadar Port could not become an economic and business center without proving education and housing facilities there. In 2003-4 the then management of Pak-Kuwait Investment Co. approached The Citizens Foundation (TCF) to explore if a primary school could be opened there. The TCF agreed to take the challenge, and Pak-Kuwait sponsored Gwadar’s first state-of the-art first primary school in Gwadar. The school is functional there and is providing education to the poor and needy Balochs of Gwadar.

In 2005-6, the then management of HBFC realized its responsibility to empower people of Gwadar and Makran Coastal Belt for having decent housing which would not only improve the living standard of the people, but would also make available a decent housing stock for employees of the Gwadar Port Authority and other institutions like Customs, Road Transport, Govt. employees etc. which would be needed to support the Port Operations, and now the Summer Seat of the provincial Govt. HBFC initiated plans to support affordable housing schemes of Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) and of the Nazim of Gwadar, by providing housing loans to the people there. For this purpose HBFC had set up its branch office in Gwadar, which was headed by a very competent Baloch. The HBFC’s loaning operations were gradually picking up to make it an active financing arm of HBFC in that coastal area of Balochistan. The then DG GDA Mr. Ahmed Bakhsh Lehri (now Chief Secretary Balochistan), and Mr. Kalamati the then City Nazim of Gwadar were fully involved in such programs and are witness to such housing programs in Gwadar.

The irony is that the present management of HBFC soon after taking charge of HBFC in 2009 closed HBFC Gwadar Office in the name of cost cutting measure, to save may be Rs 50,000 per month. The Gwadar Branch Manager of Gwadar was transferred to Head Office, who got so much frustrated from this action of the management that he later resigned from HBFC.

This is what frustrates the people of Balochistan. What percentage of HBFC’s housing loan portfolio is in Balochistan, and what were the running expenses of HBFC Gwadar Office. The present MD and his handpicked group of highly paid senior management (hired on lucrative Contracts) make frequent visits to Lahore and Islamabad, travel in Business Class, stay in 5-Star hotels and spend lacs and lacs of Tax-Payers money on their luxury. Here the management does not think of any cost cutting measures. HBFC has now Board Meetings in Islamabad’s 5-Star Hotels and fly its three Directors (out of current Board of four only) from Karachi. These Directors are getting an average of about Rupees one lac per month by way of Directors Fee (Good for a retired person as a pocket money). As against this the operational performance of HBFC is so pathetic that during last three years, average loaning is only Rs 700 million per year, which is less than one-fifth of total loans given in 2008 ( Rs 3,900 million).The salary package of MD and his team is eye opener. In 2011, HBFC’s total loaning was Rs 700 million, and to make these loans HBFC has spent about Rs 1,300 million by way of establishment expenses. One would think that Govt. would have been better off by just distributing Rs. 700 million by way of gift and would have still saved Rs 600 million of the Tax-Payers money.

It is quite upsetting to see that HBFC’s present management did find it right to save a meager 50,000 rupees by depriving the Baloch and Balochistan from having housing facilities and housing finance from the Federal Government, while making huge expenditures on account of salaries of highly paid executives, and on their very frequent travelling up country, in last 2/3 years which runs more than crores of rupees per year.

The Federal Government, the Provincial Government, and the people’s representative, and the mass media must take notice of this deprivation in the hand of a federal government’s organization.
Ansar Shahoor
Bloggers Intro

Ansar Shaoor is a political analyst, he is blogging on social and current affairs based in Quetta


=============

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Suicide attackers kill 19 in southern Afghanistan

28 Jul 2011 12:32

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Deadliest attack in southern Afghanistan in nearly six months

* Gun battle continuing hours after attack began

* Follows string of assassinations of high-profile leaders from south (Updates toll, adds details)

By Ismail Sameem

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, July 28 (Reuters) - Suicide bombers armed with guns killed at least 19 people and wounded another 35 when they attacked government buildings in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province on Thursday, public health officials said.

The attack was the deadliest in the south in nearly six months, and comes shortly after the killing of a string of powerful regional leaders, including a former governor of Uruzgan who was gunned down in his home in Kabul this month.

Up to six suicide bombers stormed the provincial governor's compound and the police chief's compound in Tirin Kot, capital of Uruzgan, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

Three bombers had detonated their explosives and police were engaged in a gun battle with the remaining attackers, he added.

Uruzgan is a largely rural and mountainous province north of Kandahar, to which it has many cultural and tribal links, and the Taliban have long had a presence there.

"Nineteen people have been killed," said Khan Agha Nehakhil, head of Uruzgan's health department, adding that security forces and civilians, including one journalist, were among the dead.

Another 37 people were wounded. Nehakhil had earlier given a slightly lower toll.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said six militants were involved.

Engineer Farid, head of regional state television channel, Uruzgan TV, said he had heard one blast inside the channel's offices and that two suicide bombers had entered the building, which is located around 100 metres from the governor's compound.

A reporter who worked for Pajhwok, an Afghan news agency, and for the BBC was among the dead.

"Unfortunately one hour ago we got the news that our reporter in Uruzgan, Omid Khpalwak, 25, was killed. He was in Uruzgan TV station to arrange an interview," said Danish Karokhil, chief editor for Pajhwok News Agency.

"He was trapped there for three hours and couldn't escape from the battle."

HIGH-PROFILE ASSASSINATIONS

It was the deadliest attack in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban's heartland, since a February assault on the provincial police headquarters in the city of Kandahar, that killed 19.

It comes in the wake of several high-profile assassinations and just a day after a suicide bomber killed the mayor of Kandahar city, adding to fears of instability across the south which has been the focus of intense NATO fighting.

On July 17, gunmen killed a former governor of Uruzgan and close adviser of Karzai in his home in the Afghan capital, Kabul. A lawmaker from the same province who was visiting Jan Mohammad Khan, was also killed in the attack.

That attack came only days after the killing of Ahmad Wali Karzai, a half-brother of the president and one of the most powerful and controversial men in southern Afghanistan.

More than half of all targeted killings in Afghanistan between April and June were also carried out in Kandahar, according to a U.N. report.

The assassinations have left a power vacuum in the south of the country that could weaken the president's hold on a critical area that has long been a Taliban stronghold.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in late 2001, with high foreign troop deaths and record civilian casualties.

Insurgents have also stepped up an effective assassination campaign targeting Afghan government officials. (Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni in KABUL; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison and Sugita Katyal)

NYC hospital use palm scans to identify patients

28 Jul 2011 14:09

Source: reuters // Reuters

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters Life!) - A New York City hospital has stopped asking many patients to dig out health insurance cards and fill in endless forms, instead identifying them by scanning the unique lattice of veins in their palm.

The new biometric technology at New York University's Langone Medical Center is expected to speed up patient check-ins and eliminate medical errors.

Studies have shown that hospital errors are behind as many as 98,000 deaths a year in the United States.

"The primary reason we actually got into this was patient safety," Bernard Birnbaum, the center's vice dean and chief of hospital operations, said in a telephone interview.

The system does not require the patient be conscious at the time of check-in.

"The benefits so greatly outweighed the disadvantages it was a no-brainer (Something so simple or easy as to require no thought) to implement," Birnbaum said.

The scanners are made by the technology services company Fujitsu and exploit the principle that, as with fingerprints and iris patterns, no two individuals' palm-vein configurations are quite the same.


Using near-infrared waves, an image is taken of an individual's palm veins, which software then matches with the person's medical record. The initial set-up for a new patient takes about a minute, the hospital said, while subsequent scans only take about a second.

"We can then just ask one question - 'Has your insurance changed?'" Birnbaum said. "If 'no', you don't have to fill out a single form."

Since some 250 scanners were installed at the hospital in early June at a cost of about $200,000, more than 25,000 patients have had their palm scans registered in the system, he said.

The hospital logs about 1.7 million patient visits in a typical year and is in the process of getting as many of them as possible to agree to inclusion in the system.

Registration into the new system is optional, but less than one percent of patients have refused, Birnbaum said. The palm scan does not appear in the patient's medical records, nor are the scans stored as images. They are converted into a unique numeric code.

Although the technology has appeared at other hospitals in the United States, this is its first appearance in the Northeast region, a Fujitsu spokesman said.

Since its introduction in 2007, the technology has also been used to identify customers at ATMs in Japan, to monitor the movements of employees at firms, and to replace cash or cards in the canteens of the Pinellas County school system in Florida. (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)

Taliban to rule ISLAMabad behind the curtain of Judiciary Black Martial Law

The Coward US Paid and CIA Remote Controlled Army don't want to intervene, its presently engaged in South Waziristan, its happy to send Commandos and Naval War Ships to strike Bahrain and crush Shi`iette's struggle against Wahabi/Salafi Khalifa's rule supported by their Saudi Prostitute's Kings and So-Called Khadim al harmain.
The Navy which can't even secure its HQ Mehran base, is being working to protect interests of Saudi Arabia and America in Bahrain. They don't want to lose Bahrain but happy to see bloodbath on their own sole port economic capital Karachi.

State of Law, White al-Iraqiya withdraw from Parliament session in protest to non-voting against Elections Commission

State of Law, White al-Iraqiya withdraw from Parliament session in protest to non-voting against Elections Commission
7/28/2011 11:29 AM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The State of Law Coalition, led by Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki and the White al-Iraqiya Alliance, led by Legislature, Hassan Allawi, have withdrawn from the Parliament’s session on Thursday, in protest to its non-voting to withdraw trust from the Elections Commission.



“The State of Law Coalition and the White al-Iraqiya Alliance have withdrawn from the Parliament’s session today (Thursday), in protest against non-voting to withdraw trust from the Elections Commission,” a Parliament source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, adding that both blocs would hold a news conference to explain their decision.



The High Independent Elections Commission was charged with corruption during the last nationwide elections that took place in Iraq in March, 2010.

State of Law to vote no confidence on Election Commission
7/27/2011 6:04 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The present Election Commission cannot run the elections, even in a small village, a State of Law MP stated today.

MP Ali al-Shalah told Aswat al-Iraq that "the State of Law will vote for non-confidence in its work, because the available financial, administrative and executive documents can judge the Commission."

"Anyone who does not vote for the non-confidence vote has no right to speak about corruption in the future," he added.

On Tuesday, MP Khalid al-Asadi told Aswat al-Iraq that "the National Alliance have agreed that the Election Commission is unsuitable to lead any future operations in Iraq."

Suicide bomber blows himself up, kills, injures several police in Tikrit

Eight persons injured in blast close to Baghdad alcohol shop
7/28/2011 11:20 AM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Four civilians and four cops have been injured in a booby-trapped car blast, close to an alcohol shop in northern Baghdad on Wednesday night, a security source reported on Thursday.



“A booby-trapped car blew off close to an alcohol shop in northern Baghdad’s Waziriya district on Wednesday night, wounding 8 persons, including 4 policemen,” the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.



He said the explosion had cause material damage for at least 10 shops along with several civilian cars, parked close to the venue of the blast.

====

URGENT: Suicide bomber blows himself up, kills, injures several police in Tikrit
7/28/2011 11:51 AM

SALAHAL-DIN / Aswat al-Iraq: A suicide bomber has blown himself up in Central Tikrit, the center of Salahal-Din Province on Thursday, killing and wounding several people, most of them police and Army men, a Salahal-Din Operations Command reported.



“An explosion took place in central Tikrit on Thursday, targeted against police and Army forces in al-Alam township, close to the Rafidain Bank buiding, killing and wounding several people, most of them police and Army men,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq new agency.



He said that “the explosion seems to have been carried out by a suicide bomber, who blew himself up against an Iraqi Police and Army force.”

==

URGENT: 2nd suicide bomber blows himself up against elements trying to aid victims of 1st blast in Tikrit
7/28/2011 12:11 PM

SALAHAL-DIN / Aswat al-Iraq: A suicide bomber has blown himself up among a group of medicine men, trying to aid victims of another suicide bomber, who blew himself up amid a group of Army and policemen, close to Rafidain Bank in al-Alam township in Tikrit city early on Thursday, according to a Salahal-Din Operations Command.



“A suicide bomber has blown himself up among a group of medicine and security men, who rushed to a venue of a blast by a suicide man, who blew himself up against a police and Army force in the same area, early on Thursday, killing and wounding over 20 people,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

==

Blasts kill at least 15 in Iraq's Tikrit

28 Jul 2011 11:01

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Updates with Tikrit dateline, quotes from witness)

TIKRIT, Iraq, July 28 (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 30 in Iraq's Tikrit city as police and soldiers were collecting their salaries at a local bank, police and hospital officials said on Thursday.

The attacks were the latest to target local Iraqi security forces as the last U.S. troops prepare to pull out of the country more than eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

One suicide bomber detonated his explosives among officers who were gathered outside the Rafidain bank in the centre of Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, and moments later another blew up a car when emergency workers arrived, police said.

"Just a few minutes after I entered I heard a huge explosion, we ran outside to see what was happening, I saw bodies and the wounded all over the place," said Assam Dhiyab, a policeman who was collecting his unit's wages in the bank.

A Tikrit hospital official said at least 15 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in the blasts. Most of the casualties were Iraqi soldiers.

Television video showed a column of black smoke rising from the blast site.

"Initial indications are that the first explosion was a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest with a large amount of explosive," said police lieutenant Mohammed Naif, an explosives expert in Tikrit.

"According to witnesses the bomber was targeting a group of soldiers and officers of the Iraqi army."

Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, is dominated by Sunni Muslims and suspected Sunni Islamists tied to al Qaeda have carried out frequent attacks in the town this year.

Tikrit was the site of two of the deadliest attacks in Iraq this year. On Jan. 18 a suicide bomber attacked a police recruiting centre, killing 60 and wounding more than 100.

On March 29 militants took hostages at the provincial council headquarters and fought security forces. At least 53 people were killed and scores wounded.

On June 3, two blasts in the city, one targeting worshippers in a mosque, killed 21 and wounded 70. Three days later a suicide bomber detonated a car at the entrance to a complex of palaces once used by Saddam, killing 13 people.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply from the height of sectarian killing in 2006-2007, but insurgents and militias still carry out daily attacks and assassinations in an attempt to undermine the government.

Local police and soldiers have been increasingly targeted both by Sunni and Shi'ite armed groups. Insurgents often set off one blast and then detonate another when emergency forces arrive to evacuate the wounded.

The remaining 46,000 American troops in Iraq are due to leave by the end of this year. Iraqi forces say they can contain internal threats but acknowledge they need more training to plug capability gaps. (Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed in Baghdad, Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Iraq sets January bidding round date, amidst delays

A representative of Kuwait Energy casts its winning bid for the Siba gas field as oil ministry leaders look on. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

By Staff of Iraq Oil Report
Published July 27, 2011

The Oil Ministry said it will hold the fourth bidding round on Jan. 25 or 26 of next year, and has scheduled a road show with foreign oil companies for Sept. 11, despite a proposal in Parliament to suspend new oil and gas deals.

The companies will compete for 12 oil and gas exploration blocks.

In addition to the 45 companies pre-qualified for the auction, 38 more firms filed applications with the Oil Ministry last month, according to Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedi, the director general of the minis...





===

Author bonobo77 View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 12:10
Subject ++ PSCs ++
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 3 times.
Message
It seems, on the available evidence, that there is a creeping and pervasive acknowledgement from all sides, that the legitimacy of Kurdish PSCs is not in doubt.

Today’s PetroCeltic news shows that he KRG is still happy to agree PSCs with foreign oil firms. And that foreign oil firms are both excited and delighted to enter into these agreements. From their RNS today:

“We have worked closely with the KRG and our co-venturer Hess to conclude these agreements, and are now delighted to have signed the PSCs. We are committed to continuing to work closely with the KRG to maximize the value of these blocks for both the Government and people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and our shareholders."


It’s just the latest in a long line of recent news suggesting that, not only are PSCs receiving tacit endorsement, but Iraq absolutely needs considerable production from Kurdistan under these agreements. While the ICG are happy to court China and Korea to fund the infrastructure requirements necessary to facilitate production and export of their targeted oil, they also seem intent on working closely with the KRG to rubber-stamp the contractual terms under which this oil will be turned into revenue.

Remember this snippet from IHS dated 28th June (courtesy of OpsGeo). Pay particular attention to the words in capitals:

‘Crude exports from Iraqi Kurdistan are coming in at a level of 175,000 b/d, according to Michael Howard, adviser to Ashti Hawrami, the natural resources minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The numbers demonstrate that Iraqi Kurdistan is well on track to hit its year-end target to export 200,000 b/d, he told Dow Jones, putting the total crude production in the autonomous region at between 225,000 b/d and 230,000 b/d. Significance: THE ADDED VOLUMES FROM THE NORTH ARE THEREFORE MAKING A CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE TO THE STATE COFFERS AND ARE QUITE LIKELY TO SMOOTH THE ACCEPTANCE OF A FINAL DEAL BETWEEN THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT AND THE KRG THAT WOULD RECOGNISE ON A NATIONAL LEVEL THE OIL CONTRACTS THE REGION HAS AWARDED UNDER ITS OWN OIL LAW, ALTHOUGH SOME FORM OF COMPROMISE ADJUSTMENT OF THE CONTRACT TERMS MIGHT ULTIMATELY STILL BE NECESSARY.’

Well, we know that ‘adjustments’ to the draft oil & gas law have recently been approved by the Kurds and passed on for approval, unimpeded by Sharistani. Indeed, just days ago Sharistani publicly set his production targets based on the inclusion of Kurdish oil:

‘Iraq may raise its proven oil reserves by 21 percent after adding those from the semi- autonomous Kurdish region, Hussain al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy affairs, said today. Iraq’s oil reserves may increase to 173 barrels by adding 30 billion barrels of Kurdish oil, al-Shahristani said in a speech to ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. The country’s crude production capacity will rise to 12 million barrels a day by 2017, he said.’

Moreover, Clifford Chance has stated their belief that PSCs are legally binding due to their being no mention in the Iraqi constitution pertaining to the legal authority to sign contracts over undiscovered (or ‘future’) fields: being those discoveries made after 2005.

We are now witnessing payments to foreign oil companies operating in Kurdistan … GKP exporting oil at the request of the KRG … mooted M&A interest in Kurdistan from the likes of Vallares … billions of dollars being directed at Kurdish prospects … and an urgency from the Kurdistan Ministry of Natural resources to compel those companies operating in the region to contribute to an audit of ‘oil wealth’, one that has seen DNO and WZR double their respective reserves/resources in recent weeks.

We also got an indication of the ICGs tacit acceptance of foreign operations in Kurdistan when we saw the agenda for the upcoming Iraq Future Energy 2011 Conference to be held in September in Istanbul. Key Iraqi and Kurd Government officials will be involved including Adnan Janabi (Chairman Oil & Energy Committee) and Shahristani's Electricity Minister, to promote Iraq/Kurdistan and seek investment. Under Key Speakers/Advisors is listed Adnan Samarrai, GKP Country Manager. On Day 4, he will speak on behalf of GKP, on the topic of: Building Energy Infrastructure. What infrastructure do you suppose GKP may require, and why are ICG/KRG happy to give us this platform? This goes way beyond recognizing the legitimacy of our contracts. To me, it says we are a key a necessary player in Iraq meeting its targets and positioning itself as a premier global oil province.

Moreover, in November this year, GKP are main sponsors of a high level conference on joint Kurdistan/Iraq Oil and Gas.

The agenda cites an ‘Emerging Iraq Petroleum Regime constitution (enacted and expected)’ and recognises a distinction between ‘Iraq’s Service Contracts’ (focus: developing discovered fields) and ‘Kurdish Production Sharing Contracts’ (focus: finding undiscovered resources).

The conference – attended by Kurds/Iraqis/Majors/Juniors – will discuss: *** EXPECTED Future Developments - ENDORSEMENT of KRG-awarded PSCs’ *** and provide an ‘explanation of expected process under draft federal oil law, filling the remaining gaps in Iraq's petroleum regime.’

It really would seem that the next 4 months could see those gaps well and truly filled, providing real clarity and maximizing future value for Iraq, Kurdistan, their people, and all those companies ploughing billions into exploration, production and infrastructure in the territory.

==
KEPCO =

Kurdistan Exploration and Production Company.

=
11:07
BUY
As Warren Buffett says

3Dimensional
10UP

Be greedy whilst others are fearful :D

DYOR

Can i also suggest anyone deemed to be regurgitating (To rush or surge back.)the old Excaliwags news from yesterday be politely placed on ignore, or ignored, as they are clearly here with a doubt to create negativity. The matter has already been disscussed to death on here, so no further clarification necessary on it, thankyou.

Furthermore, may i add... the SP has been consolidated for an age now and is proving resilient to the most negative of posters, which means we have only the die hard investors remaining, thereby creating less volatility, which in itself is great for the stock. Our next battle will be one with the II's, as and when relevant SP's are reached, have no doubt about it, they will start to play some games too! Bring it on i say!!

With the SP being so resilient can only but mean one thing, that being, that the coiled spring will not hold out much longer under this kind of duress..........................so ladies and gentleman please stand back and mind...

Well you should all know the rest by now

Have a good day now, oh and do please sleep well :D

3D
==
WZR,Webcast- ‘chronically undervalued’

SpikeyDT this user is in your favourites list
10UP

WesternZagros Resources CEO Simon Hatfield, says shares are ‘chronically undervalued’
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/831/westernzagros-resources-ceo-simon-hatfield-says-shares-are-chronically-undervalued-831.html

WesternZagros Resources (CVE:WZR) CEO Simon Hatfield tells Proactive Investors that the oil fields that the company owns represent a ‘remarkable value proposition'. He also talks about the uncovered potential for its assets suggesting value is nearer C$5 a share. Simon refers as well to the options open to the company when looking at ways of raising the funds still needed.

===
Author SpikeyDT View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 10:30
Subject Production sharing contracts in Iraq !!
Votes for this Posting
Message
Petroceltic in production sharing contracts in Iraq
27 July 2011 | 10:13am

StockMarketWire.com - Petroceltic International, the AIM listed oil and gas exploration and production company focused on North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, has announced that, in partnership with Hess Middle East New Ventures, a subsidiary of Hess Corporation, it has executed two Production Sharing Contracts ("PSCs") with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq ("KRG").

The PSCs are in respect of the Dinarta and Shakrok exploration blocks ("Dinarta" and "Shakrok") in the central north of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Dinarta is a highly prospective undrilled block in a proven but largely unexplored area along trend from existing discoveries in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The block, which covers an area of 1319 sq km, is located approximately 75 kms north of Erbil and along trend from the significant Shaikan, Atrush and Swara Tika oil discoveries.

The block itself contains a number of identified surface structures, the largest of which, the Chinara Anticline, is 25 kms along strike from the Swara Tika-1 well, currently reported to be testing a significant new oil discovery.

The other structures on the block also have significant potential surface closure areas with multiple reservoir targets believed to be likely to be present in the Jurassic and Triassic strata preserved in this block. The resource potential of the identified structures is considered by Petroceltic to be very significant.

Shakrok is a highly prospective undrilled block in a proven but largely unexplored area along trend from existing discoveries in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The block, which covers an area of 418 sq km, is located approximately 50 kms north east of Erbil and is along trend from the nearby Taq Taq oil field and the recently announced Bina Bawi oil discovery.

The block itself contains significant surface anticlines, and, similar to Dinarta, multiple reservoir targets are believed to be likely to be present in the Jurassic and Triassic strata preserved in the block. The resource potential of the identified structures and the Shakrok Anticline in particular is considered by Petroceltic to be significant and in line with other discoveries that have recently been made in the region.

Each PSC has an initial 3 year exploration period during which the joint venture plans to acquire 2D seismic and drill a minimum of one exploration well.

Based on the anticipated work programmes, Petroceltic's total financial commitment during the first licence period is expected to be approximately $72m., the majority of which will be incurred over the next six months. These amounts are inclusive of all signature and capacity building bonuses payable to the KRG under the terms of the PSC's.

Petroceltic holds its 16% participating interest (20% paying interest) in the PSCs, through a wholly owned subsidiary, Petroceltic Kurdistan Limited ("PKL"). Both blocks will be operated by Hess and the KRG has a carried interest of 20% in each PSC through all phases of operations.

Commenting, Brian O'Cathain, Chief Executive of Petroceltic, said: "The signature of the Dinarta and Shakrok PSCs represents Petroceltic's entry into an exciting new region and with an outstanding partner in Hess. These highly prospective blocks add further high impact exploration potential to our portfolio and complement our ongoing exploration and appraisal activities in Algeria and Italy.

"While significant discoveries have already been made, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq remains, a vastly under explored area with huge potential. Our exploration activities in the region are already progressing and we plan to open an office in Erbil in the coming months.

"We have worked closely with the KRG and our co-venturer Hess to conclude these agreements, and are now delighted to have signed the PSCs. We are committed to continuing to work closely with the KRG to maximize the value of these blocks for both the Government and people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and our shareholders." At 10:05am: (LON:PCI) Petroceltic International share price was +0.04p at 8.84p

==

International Oil and Gas reports success in Iraq
27 July 2011 | 11:34am
StockMarketWire.com - International Oil and Gas Technology, an authorised closed-ended investment company incorporated in Guernsey, estimates that the net asset value ("NAV") at the end of last month is expected to be in the range of $9.20 to $9.70 per share.

It says that Strata Energy Services continues to make solid progress with sustained high usage rates in North America and its operations in Iraq are performing successfully.

At Crest Energy Services it hopes to commence nitrogen purging operations in Saudi Arabia during September and October.

The company is looking for someone to acquire LxData and says it is in constructive and detailed negotiations with a potential purchaser.

At 11:32am: (LON:OGT) share price was +0.33p at 6.75p

==

Author SpikeyDT View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 13:18
Subject GKP/DNO/RAK
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 13 times.
Message
Petroceltic teams up with Hess to target Kurdistan oil - http://t.co/5c526aD

1:03 pm by Jamie Ashcroft

In partnership with US oil firm Hess Corporation, Petroceltic has acquired two undrilled exploration assets both of which are positioned along strike of significant oil fields.
Petroceltic International (LON:PCI) has moved into an exciting new area of interest with a deal for a 16 per cent stake in two production sharing contracts (PSCs) in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq.
In partnership with US oil firm Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES), it has acquired two undrilled exploration assets both of which are positioned along strike of significant oil fields.
The first, known as the Dinarta PSC, covers 1,319 square kilometres of highly prospective land close to Gulf Keystone’s (LON:GKP) massive 5-15 billion barrel Shaikan oil discovery.
Its Shakrok PSC is smaller, covering 418 square kilometres. However it is also highly prospective and is in the same geological neighbourhood as the Taq Taq oilfield operated by Addax Petroleum and Turkish oil firm Genel Enerji.
"The signature of the Dinarta and Shakrok PSCs represents Petroceltic's entry into an exciting new region and with an outstanding partner in Hess,” said chief executive Brian O'Cathain.
“These highly prospective blocks add further high impact exploration potential to our portfolio and complement our ongoing exploration and appraisal activities in Algeria and Italy.
“While significant discoveries have already been made, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq remains, a vastly under explored area with huge potential.
“Our exploration activities in the region are already progressing and we plan to open an office in Erbil in the coming months.”
Under the terms of the deal Petroceltic will have a 16 per cent working interest in the project, although it will actually meet 20 per cent of the costs.
Each PSC has an initial three year exploration period. During this time Petroceltic expects to spend US$72 million on a 2D seismic programme and at least one exploration well.

The company said that most of this cash will be spent within the next six months. It also said that this includes all signing and capacity building bonuses payable to the KRG, under the terms of the PSCs.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has a 20 per cent free-carry stake in the two PSCs.
Speaking about the Petroceltic and Hess’ involvement in the region, O’Cathain said: “We have worked closely with the KRG and our co-venturer Hess to conclude these agreements, and are now delighted to have signed the PSCs.
“We are committed to continuing to work closely with the KRG to maximize the value of these blocks for both the government and people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and our shareholders."
Zooming in on the PSCs, Petroceltic said that Dinarta contains a number of already identified surface structures and it considers the resource potential to be very significant.
Shakrok, meanwhile, contains significant surface anticlines, and multiple reservoir targets are believed to be likely to be present in Jurassic and Triassic age rocks, the company said.
“The resource potential of the identified structures and the Shakrok Anticline in particular is considered by Petroceltic to be significant and in line with other discoveries that have recently been made in the region,” the company said.
Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of developments that demonstrate Kurdistan’s growing significance as an emerging oil region.
Perhaps the most significant development was the resumption of oil exports earlier this year, after the relationship between KRG and Bagdad thawed. In particular, the news boosted Norwegian firm DNO International which has been exporting oil from its Tawke field, which currently produces around 15,000 barrels of oil per day.
DNO subsequently announced plans to merge with UAE-based Rak Petroleum, after Rak boss Bijan Mossavar-Rahman joined the Norwegian firm in June.
In a Reuters report Mossavar-Rahmani stressed that the enlarged firm would be able to take the lead in the consolidation of other assets and companies in the Middle East and North Africa region.
AIM-listed Gulf Keystone is also preparing to start exporting oil out of Kurdistan, from the 10,000 barrels it produces from the uppermost reservoirs of the Shaikan oilfield.
Now with Hess and Petroceltic joining the action in Kurdistan they’re may be even more to shout about in this emerging oil region.

===

Wed 23:33
Wild-cat rates!
Scaramouche
29UP

The news on Afren entering Kurdistan today with a PSC is certainly very important although, at first glance, the figures do seem rather bizarre!
But the reason for this can probably be explained by slide 6 in the Afren presentation which Hub has kindly provided a link to on his site:

http://thesharehub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Kurdistan_region_of_Iraq_pres_270711.pdf

From this we can see that Afren is buying into the ‘prospect’ of:

1) Barda Rash - A potential 14.2 billion barrel oil field, allowing for approximately 10% minimum recovery, and a 60% WI, which the slide shows as 882 million barrels net.

2) Ain Sifni – A potential 7.9 billion barrel oil field, allowing for approximately 12% minimum recovery, and a 20% WI, which the slide shows as 192 million barrels net.

Adding the 2 together gives the 1074 “total net un-risked resources” referred to in the RNS, of which the statement also says 890 million is “certified net 2c resources”.

This accounts for the headline figures of 890 million barrels for $588 million, and the average of 66c per barrel.

But what Afren is really buying into is to the prospect of possible 22 billion barrel oil field, with a minimum recovery rate (if the oil is there) of 10%, and an overall working interest of about 40%.

And most importantly they are prepared to invest about £370 million for the privilege!! Exploration Licences don’t come cheap anymore!
So, what does this tell us about GKP’s blocks?

Well, if you imagine that:
1) All that had been done was a seismic survey of the area, and the potential for ‘the next Kirkuk’ and 60 billion barrels was recognised.
2) The prospect was made up of 15 billion for Shaikan, 5 billion for Sheikh Adi (one-third of Shaikan), 10 billion for Akri Bijeel, and 30 billion for Ber bahr (twice the size of Shaikan).
3) There was a 10% minimum RF being applied.
4) The prospective purchaser had an average 40% WI across all of the licence.
5)The purchaser was expected to pay 66c per barrel for these entirely unproven resources.

What you then get is 60 billion x 10% x 40% x 66c = $1.584 billion, not so far off GKP’s current market cap. Mind you when you do the sums, GKP actually has about 42%, so you get even closer still!

*** In other words, GKP is at present valued only slightly above that of an out and out ‘wild cat’ licence, with the vague possibility of 60 billion barrels and 10% RF ***.


ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, given what has been proven up already!

Arguably, Ber Bahr might fall into the ‘wild cat’ category at present, as the 30 billion barrels there might be there no-one can say for certain (although I really can’t wait for when BBBS is able to do so!). But for the rest of it we should be looking at a NAV of $6 net per barrel of recoverable oil or nearly 10 times the price, Afren have just paid for the CHANCE to have similar success.

Incidentally, with GKP’s 40% WI in Ber Bahr, for a pure wild cat operation we would be talking about 30 billion OIP, 3 billion recoverable, and 1.2 billion WI. At 66c per barrel of prospective resources, that comes in at about $800 million or £500 million.

I sincerely hope that our 40% the Ber Bahr block is not for sale! But I do know of another 40% that IS for sale in the very same block, and ready to be sold by a company that is somewhat cash-strapped at the moment... Allegedly too, it also has a number of suitors, including Tony Hayward’s Vallares.


Hmmmm... it will be very interesting to see what Genel get paid for it, and whether it goes for 'wild-cat rates'.

GLA, scaramouche.


==

Wed 23:32
Re: Afren RNS

Gramacho
31UP

Yes in the Barda Rash Field Komet appear to have discovered a field approaching the same scale as Shaikan as far as OIP is concerned (Barda Rash 14 Bn bbl, Shaikan approx 16-18 Bn bbl if full to spill). In Shaikan the bulk of the oil in place is in the Jurassic and is sufficiently light to be produced by conventional means. However in the case of Barda Rash the bulk of the oil is in the Cretaceous and will require steam heating. Even the Upper Jurassic Sargelu appears to be relatively difficult to extract (RPS R.F. estimate is only 15%.)

Two of the three wells drilled to date on the Barda Rash produced minimal oil.


“In the first well BR-1 heavy oil shows were encountered throughout the Cretaceous and the Upper and Middle Jurassic, and light oil was flowed to surface from the Mus Fm. (Lower Jurassic). Step-out well BR-2 drilled along strike and TD’d within the hanging wall of the structure. A number of reservoir intervals were tested but only water/mud flowed to surface with oil reported from a film to 9%. The second appraisal well BR-3, drilled to the south penetrated the southern bounding fault and encountered all but the Shiranish/Qamchuga in a footwall position. A limited number of flow tests were conducted but again only mud with traces of oil were reported.“

Nevertheless RPS appear however to have ascribed 2C resources to the area of the field that flowed minimal or no oil including the Kurre Chine. Afren will have taken into account the very disappointing results from the DSTs in pitching their offer to Komet.
((RPS Energy (formerly ECL Group) provides geophysical engineering and project management services to oil and gas customers worldwide. The company provides services such as geological survey and mapping, data analysis, and reservoir engineering and simulation. The multidisciplinary services company RPS Energy also develops software used for geophysical data manipulation and interpretation. The company provides independent evaluations of estimated reserves for oil and gas exploration companies. A unit of RPS Group plc), RPS Energy has operations in more than 100 countries. ))

1 MMbbl=1 Million Barrels
Looking at the RPS tables in detail between 173 and 259 MMbbl net resources can be attributed to zones that have flowed oil. The upper number includes the Sargelu.

The remaining 623 MMbbl is either heavy oil that will require steam heating or KC which did not flow oil. IMO Afren has ascribed essentially no value to these resources in the negotiating process. There is no production before 2018 and I suspect it is a 2020+ project.

The Ain Sifni PSC is the other main component of the deal. It contains Hunt’s Jebel Simrit discovery, if you can call it that. It failed to flow oil to surface and contains 42 MM bbl Gross 2C resources, about 8 MMbbl net to Afren. RPS describe the main contingency as “achieving oil to flow to surface” lol!!!! In addition there are 183 MM bbl net prospective resources in exploration prospects.

There is no breakdown to describe the portion of the combined payment that is attributable to Barda Rash and that which is attributable to Ain Sifni/Jebel Simrit. However given the respective volumes of 2C resources and the fact that on Barda Rash has produced to surface, the bulk of the payment must be for Barda Rash.

Of the $588MM total costs $81MM are for back costs and $14MM for a capex payment. This leaves $493MM attributable to the contingent and prospective resources.

On a first pass IMO this could be split into:
$450MM for 173 – 259 MM bbl 2C resources at Barda Rash
$43MM for 8 MM bbl 2C resources and 183 MM bbl prospective resources at Jebel Simrit and the Ain Sifni prospects

That would represent a price of $1.74 - $2.60/bbl of poorly appraised 2C resources at Barda Rash that has only have flowed from 1 well albeit that well, the discovery well has produced some 440,000 bbl on extended test which is considerably more than Shaikan as far as we have been made aware.

This looks to me like a PV10 based deal possibly using the same oil price assumption that Afren used when describing the revenue distribution - US$80/bbl flat. Credit to Afren for capturing it ahead of others such as the NOCs. Afren has evidently assumed that the problems in producing wells BR-2 and BR-3 are due to excessive drilling fluid losses and can be overcome. IMO it illustrates a point I have been making (on KOEP) that the big NOCs want more certainty on OIP and resources before bidding up the Kurdistan discoveries.


Regards,

Gramacho

===


Author SpikeyDT View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 14:27
Subject GKP-Kurdistan oil rush moves up a gear
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 11 times.
Message
Kurdistan oil rush moves up a gear as Afren grabs two projects for US$588 mln
http://bit.ly/nIXZg5

2:16 pm by Jamie Ashcroft

The growth of Kurdistan’s emerging oil industry is gathering pace and it is drawing an increasing amount of attention from both investors and industry players alike.
The Kurdistan oil rush has stepped up a gear as a number of companies have joined the select group of firms that have already enjoyed success in Northern Iraq.
Some day traders may have missed the news that Afren (LON:AFR) is buying assets with a one billion barrel Kurdish oil resource, as deals worth US$588.25 million were announced after Wednesday’s close.
Afren’s entre into Kurdistan followed the day’s earlier news that a partnership between Petroceltic International (LON:PCI) and US firm Hess Corp (NYSE:HES) acquired two new production sharing contracts in the semi-autonomous region.
Up until now Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP) has led the way in Kurdistan, as far as UK investors are concerned, after it struck oil back in August 2009. Since then the group has built on its success with the initial Shaikan oil, and the oilfield is currently believed to contain between 5-15 billion barrels of oil.
Other London listed firms have also been active in the area although they're efforts have been less fruitful when compared to Gulf Keystone’s achievements.
Heritage Oil (LON:HOIL) has a sizeable hydrocarbon discovery to its name too. However given Kurdistan’s location, and the complex geo-politics at play in the region, most of the value of its 12.3 trillion cubic feet Miran West gas discovery could remain untapped for the time being.
Elsewhere Sterling Energy (LON:SEY) has had a particularly tough 18 months or so due the operational disaster that was the Sangaw North well, which was spudded way back in February 2010 and earlier this month the well was abandoned after flow test results disappointed.
Aside from these exploration and development plays it is also important to point out that Kurdistan already has some producing assets and crucially it resumed exports recently after relationships between Erbil – the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan - and Bagdad thawed.
In particular the resumption of oil exports boosted Norwegian firm DNO International, which is producing, and subsequently exporting, oil from the Tawke oilfield.
DNO subsequently announced plans to list on the London Stock Exchange, once it has merged with UAE-based Rak Petroleum. This decision followed the appointment of Rak boss Bijan Mossavar-Rahman as the Norwegian firm’s chairman in June.

It is apparent that the growth of Kurdistan’s emerging oil industry is gathering pace and it is drawing an increasing amount of attention from both investors and industry players.
Analysts at Evolution Securities believe that yesterday’s deals suggest both a political de-risking of the area and a significantly more optimistic outlook on the ability to export large volumes of oil relatively quickly.
Here we take a closer a look at these new protagonists in the Kurdistan oil story.
Afren bags a billion barrels with US$588 mln entre
Yesterday the oil firm, whose main assets are in Africa, unveiled a major deal that it describes as a ‘highly complementary extension’ of its existing portfolio.
The deal is being funded by through a US$200 million credit facility and a share placing, in which it will issue 84 million new shares (about 8.5 per cent of its current share capital). The cash call will be arranged by Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanely, and it will be completed at the beginning of August.
In all it bought two assets. It has bought a 60 per cent stake in the Barda Rash production sharing contract (PSC) from Komet Group. Separately
Afren has agreed to acquire a 20 per cent stake in the Ain Sifni PSC, from the Kuristan Regional Government (KRG). The oilfield is operated by Hunt Oil, which owns 60 per cent, while the KRG retains 20 per cent.

Between them these two assets give Afren 890 million barrels of independently certified net 2C oil resources, and a total net un-risked 1.074 billion barrel resource.
Afren highlighted that it hopes to deliver gross production of 125,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in just over five years.
In phase one it plans to establish production at 15,000 bopd by the end of next year. After that this will step up to 35,000 bopd by the end of 2013 and up to 125,000 by the end of 2017.
Meanwhile it will also be undertaking an active exploration and appraisal drilling programme over the next two years.
According to Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Phil Corbett, who rates Afren as a ‘buy’ with a 235p target, this is probably not the deal the market was expecting - in terms of geography and scale – but it does provide a material growth opportunity.
“We expect a positive initial reaction to this deal,” the analyst said in a note to clients.

“It gains Afren entry to one of the global upstream hotspots, and we believe the price is attractive after taking into account the appraisal, development and political risk.”
Oriel Securities analyst Nick Copeman said:
“Our initial valuation suggests this deal is accretive(Growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusion.) based on the existing 2C resources alone increasing our risked net asset value to 175p a share (after reflecting country risk) and that the exploration potential should provide further upside.”

Similarly Investec analyst Angus McPhail
repeated a ‘buy’ recommendation, while putting his price target under review while he weighs up the implications of the deal.
Stressing that the deal adds ‘cheap barrels’, McPhail said: “The acquisition gives Afren access to contingent reserves and prospective resources which can be turned rapidly into proven reserves and potential production by the second quarter of 2012, which will enhance its existing production base.”

With a more cautious perspective finnCap’s Will Arnstein
kept a ‘sell’ on the stock. He reckons the acquisition is very high risk and its success requires political changes that are out of Afren’s control.
“On balance, we believe the deal increases the risk profile of Afren, which was already considered one of the highest risk E&Ps in the sector,”
Arnstein said in a note to clients.
Petroceltic: Teaming up with Hess to target Kurdistan oil
In partnership with US oil firm Hess, Petroceltic has acquired two undrilled exploration assets both of which are positioned along strike of significant oil fields.
The first, known as the Dinarta PSC, covers 1,319 square kilometres of highly prospective land close to Gulf Keystone’s massive 5-15 billion barrel Shaikan oil discovery.
The Shakrok PSC is smaller, covering 418 square kilometres.
However it is also highly prospective and is in the same geological neighbourhood as the Taq Taq oilfield operated by Addax Petroleum and Turkish oil firm Genel Enerji.
Under the terms of the deal Petroceltic will have a 16 per cent working interest in the project, although it will actually meet 20 per cent of the costs.
Each PSC has an initial three year exploration period. During this time Petroceltic expects to spend US$72 million on a 2D seismic programme and at least one exploration well.
The company said that most of this cash will be spent within the next six months. It also said that this includes all signing and capacity building bonuses payable to the KRG, under the terms of the PSCs.
The KRG has a 20 per cent free-carry stake in the two PSCs.
Zooming in on the PSCs, Petroceltic said that Dinarta contains a number of already identified surface structures and it considers the resource potential to be very significant. Shakrok, meanwhile, contains significant surface anticlines, and multiple reservoir targets are believed to be likely to be present in Jurassic and Triassic age rocks, the company said.
“The resource potential of the identified structures and the Shakrok Anticline in particular is considered by Petroceltic to be significant and in line with other discoveries that have recently been made in the region,” the company said.

====

16:48
Re: its all coming together quickly now

Arundallio
12UP

Guys and Girls This is the Break Through This Is the Catalyst for All The Pieces Falling Into Place.... Forget Oil and Gas Law by the end of the Year. If the the Security Ministries are controlled by Allawi the FOGL will be in place in 2 Months. Here we Go..

Proliths Post and My Post From Yesterday.

Iraqi List: Maliki grants approval for defense minister candidates; Allawi to attend Saturdays meetingPosted: July 27, 2011 by THE CURRENCY NEWSHOUND -

Iraqi deputy reveals Maliki granted the approval of the defense ministers of his list and one by proxy and vote on the political council of parliament

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 17:13

MP for the Iraqi List, Ahmed Jubouri for “the approval of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to give the Ministry of Defence and Minister of one of his list by proxy.”

He told all of Iraq [where] that “the President told the head of the list Iyad Allawi during his visit last night that the Prime Minister has agreed to assign the portfolio of the Ministry of Defense Agency to a minister of the Iraqi List, provided that the chosen is one of them until they agree on a candidate to the ministry.”

He added, “Talabani told Allawi, Maliki also approved the formation of the National Council for the strategic policy and be executive and vote in Parliament.”

He Jubouri that “Allawi expressed his willingness to attend the meeting of leaders of political blocs next Saturday after listening to these approvals by al-Maliki”.


I think we are getting to the tickly bit and the jigsaw will all fall into place in the next 2 - 4 weeks as the US put pressure on all parties to get their act together on the run up to September pull out of more troops.

I say this because I do not believe they will, even consider, pull out without a fully representative and operational government which has key laws and programmes in place for both Economic Stability and Security of the whole of Iraq.


"""Said Abdul-Hussein Al Jabri told the Kurdish news agency (Rn) that “the draft law of oil and gas will be presented to the Council of Ministers at its next Tuesday instead of this week because of the concern meetings of leaders of political blocs ( Happening on Saturday to discuss Ebril Agreement and Security Ministries--My Words)”.""""

This is part one which is the deal to put into place the Ebril Agreement which deals with the Kirkuk Issue and the Kurds 19 Point agreement with Maliki. In addition to make this happen Allawi and his party will need to get part or all of the Security Ministries to allow them a full play in Government.

When this happens and only when it happens will Oil and Gas Laws sail through and be enacted, very promptly in my opinion. Pressure mounting on this one from all angles now.

These actions will allow the US to consider pulling out. In saying tha I still expect that part of the negotiations also ongoing is for a joint requset for tem to stay for at least another year and possibly two.

Interesting days, weeks and month ahead.

Sp at beginning of September if all of the above happens in excess of 300p IMHO

Good Luck Iraq and Kurdistan

===

17:09
don't shoot me...

PFC30
9UP

looks like on FB Dr Mahmoud Othman post it is saying meeting cancelled.

According to what we heard through the media that the meeting has been postponed until further notice without giving reasons and even if held, the case will remain as it is because of the political blocs do not have a clear political program carries with it the strategy known features of the future of Iraq, but the policy is based on action and reaction, except Kurdistan Alliance, which has long had his views and his bold, even in the question of extension of U.S. troops in Iraq

==

Thu 21:45
GKP-Buying Started !!

SpikeyDT this user is in your favourites list
22UP

TD customers turn attention to global debt crises
http://www.easier.com/93001-td-customers-global-debt-crises.html

28th July 2011

Darren Hepworth, Trading and Customer Services Director, TD Waterhouse comments: "Financial stocks remained in focus this week as US lawmakers struggled to agree on raising the nation's debt ceiling. Meanwhile, in Europe the debt crisis continues to affect the markets despite the agreement to a €109bn Greek bail-out last Thursday (21 July). Oil stocks were also very popular in the week ending Tuesday 26 July, making up five of the seven new entrants across both tables and accounting for just over a third of our customer top ten trades this week.

"This week's top buy trades were unchanged from last week as Barclays (BARC), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) continued to occupy the table's top three places, respectively. The dominance of the financial stocks was also replicated in the sells table where Lloyds retained pole position, with Barclays moving up from fourth to second place and RBS climbing from fifth to third.

"Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), Sound Oil (SOU), Range Resources (RRL) and BP (BP) completed a run of new entrants in the buys table, taking fourth to seventh places, respectively.

==

Thu 21:06
Re: What am I missing?

MrAverage1
10UP


Kurdish PSCs enter into 2 phases once production is under way. The first stage is the higher valued per barrel "cost recovery" component - to recover exploration / development and full capex costs.

Once costs have been fully recovered and met, the second stage of "profit oil" commences. From the AGM we know GKP will receive "north of 6% Net" entitlement as part of the PSC after cost recovery, the 10% royalty tax and the 40% ISP take.
So, it's fair to assume that let's say 6.5% net would derive GKP ~ $6.80/bbl with Brent priced around $105/bbl long term.



On going production costs have been rumoured to be anywhere around $1 - $4 per barrel. Costs are subjective (variable) in as much as the absolute lowest threshold on operational costs will be achieved by a NOC, whereas costs for a AIM minnow such as GKP would be considerably higher, this should not be viewed as a negative statement - only positive as predatory NOCs or even super Majors stand to deliver the highest value return in lieu of minimal costs, and therefore likely to offer higher bids in a TO scenario.

Sh, SA, AB, BB are worth more to a NOC than they are to GKP .....if you get my drift.

==

08:56
Drilling updates

tobytoby
33UP





Bekhme


May 23 @ 1,776m and June 16 @ 2,828m = 1,052m drilled in 25 days

Average metres per day 42m per day

TD 3,000 - 2,828m = 172m / 42m per day = 4 days - TD - TODAY!!!

RNS IMMINENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hmm.

JG SAID MOL WOULD BE DRILLING WAY OVER 1,000M DEEPER MORE! @ AN AVERAGE DRILL RATE OF 42M PER DAY WE SHOULD BE AT A DEPTH OF AROUND 4,634M TODAY!

1,643M MORE THAN ORIGINALLY PLANED!!

...................

SA-1


May 23 @ 3,293m and June 16 @ 3,515m = 222m drilled in 25 days

Average metres per day 9m per day

TD 3,850 - 3,515m = 335m / 9m per day = 37 days - Estimated TD - July 22

hmm.

WITH AN AVERAGE DRILL SPEED OF 9M PER DAY WE SHOULD BE AT A DEPTH OF 3,902M TODAY!

..................

SH-2


May 23 @ 2,655m and June 16 @ 3,166m = 511m drilled in 25 days

Average metres per day 20.5m per day

TD 5,000m - 3,166m = 1,834m / 20.5m per day = 89 days - Estimated TD - September 12

hmm

WITH AN AVERAGE DRILL SPEED OF 20.5M PER DAY WE SHOULD BE AT A DEPTH OF 4,047M TODAY!

..........................

SH-4


May 27 spud @ 462m on June 16 and averaging 22m per day on June 16.

TD 3,760m / 22m = 171 days - Estimated TD around Nov 13

hmm


WITH AN AVERAGE DRILL SPEED OF 22M PER DAY WE SHOULD BE AT A DEPTH OF 1,406M TODAY!


ALL THE ABOVE IS NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ANY TESTING ETC.

SH/SA

Seismic data done and dusted end of July - Results likely out in August


IMO:

GKP COULD RELEASE AN OPERATIONS UPDATE WHICH MAY INCLUDE (BOTH) SA-1 AND BEKHME HITTING TD IN THE ONE RNS (MOL ALLOWING).

WITH POSSIBLE SEISMIC DATA AND SNIPPETS ON SH-4/SH-2 PROGRESS (THOUGH I THINK GKP SAID THEY WOULD RELEASE AN UPDATE ON SH-2 WHEN IT HIT TD).

FIRST TEST RESULTS ON SH-4/SH-2 A MONTH OR SO LATER ALL GOING WELL.


MEGA AUGUST/SEPTEMBER AHEAD.

===

Author bonobo77 View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 08:51
Subject A New Zeal View parent message
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 38 times.
Message

In my post yesterday entitled 'A Line In The Sand', I drew attention to Afren's comment that their PSC deal 'would not have been on the table much longer'.

I put forward the theory that their urgency might be borne out of a realisation that adjustments to the PSC terms have recently been proposed, and that the delayed but impending meeting to finalise the revised draft oil an gas law might provide a resolution that (1) recognised the integrity of EXISTING PSCs, and (2) agreed a new form of contract for future field development in Kurdistan.

Hence, the apparent urgency by Afren, Hess and Petroceltic, and their obvious 'delight' in securing their production sharing agreements.

All well and good ... however, there might be another reason for their urgency, one that would not necessarily preclude the above scenario happening. And it may be contained here:
http://www.iraqoilreport.com/politics/oil-policy/krg-signs-deals-as-oil-development-continues-6016/

'Despite objections from Baghdad, the Kurds continue to sign oil deals with international companies, most recently with the American firm Hess and Ireland's Petroceltic (and Afren). The signing comes as Parliament's Oil and Energy Committee is trying to crack down on all oil deals that have been signed – both by the central government and by the KRG – without parliamentary approval and in the absence of modern legislation governing the oil sector.

*** The committee has proposed a law that would put a moratorium on all new deals until an oil law can be passed. The KRG, which in January negotiated a temporary rapprochement with Baghdad, now appears to be pursuing its independent agenda with RENEWED ZEAL. ***


So, we can see that that the KRG is displaying the same sense of urgency as those companies seeking to nail down PSC terms in the region. And the reason might simply be down to the Parliament's Oil and Energy Committee and it's threat of a moratorium on new deals being signed.

I can hear you all collectively sigh. On the face of it, an impending moratorium on deals looks like another impediment to any rapid progress on contract ratification. Another stumbling block in the soporific legal dispute between the KRG and the ICG?

Not so. In fact, it would appear that it's this very threat of a moratorium that is injecting new 'zeal' into the process and commanding the attentions of all sides to finally broker an equitable resolution at the parliamentary table.

Did anyone read the excellent document posted by PCF30 last night?
http://www.rice.edu/energy/publications/EF-pub-IraqFutureOSullivan-072711.pdf

Here's a couple choice quotes that support the notion of a 'renewed zeal' -

The July 2011 report speaks of 'notable progress in recent months. For the first time since 2007, Iraqi politicians have resumed in earnest efforts to resolve the legislative impasse.'

In reference to how the Parliament might be using the threat of a moratorium on new deals to hasten a resolution, it comments: 'the new parliamentary chairman (Adnan al-Janabi) is using the mechanisms open to him to infuse energy into the system. In July 2011 (his) committee submitted a motion to Parliament seeking a vote that would call for a moratorium on the signing of any new oil and gas contracts until new hydrocarbons legislation is passed. The initiative is more intended to add urgency to the ongoing effort to resolve national differences about such legislation than it is an effort to stop foreign companies entering Iraq.'

The report says 'this positive momentum is encouraging.' It claims that this threat of a moratorium has 'breathed new life' into efforts to resolve any dispute. As an undoubted consequence 'the cabinet has re-examined legislative drafts and intends to submit them to parliament.'

We know that these drafts now have the approval of the KRG and Sharistani's office. And yesterday's Times commented: 'confidence grows that Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region are close to agreement on sharing the country's oil riches. The Iraqi Government debated amendments to the hydrocarbon law this month, which should make production-sharing agreements legal.'

And PeoCeltic's CEO is similarly convinced that progress towards a resolution continues apace:
"Hess is happy to come in now because the political situation is close to being resolved," Mr O'Cathain said. "The KRG are very close to resolving their differences with Baghdad. We're happy to take the risk on the reasonable assumption that [the contract] will be honoured."


For many years the political process in relation to hydrocarbons in Iraq and Kurdistan has frustrated many with its sloth. Yet, all of a sudden, very different language is being employed: 'renewed zeal', 'urgency', 'positive momentum', 'infusing energy into the system' ... call it what you want ... the process has been given a huge kick up the backside in recent weeks and it gives us all real hope that a resolution will be found in the coming months. Or, as The Times succinctly put it: 'a hydrocarbon law could be passed by the end of the year.'

===

Kurdistan Continues To Shine With Signing Of Afren, Hess PSCs

http://www.oilandgasinsight.com/file/104235/kurdistan-continues-to-shine-with-signing-of-afren-hess-pscs.html
Industry / Iraq

A flurry of upstream contracts has been signed in the past few days between Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and foreign independents.
2011-07-28

BMI View: The recent flurry of PSCs signed between the KRG and foreign independents demonstrates how Kurdistan's oil potential and improving relationship with Baghdad is continuing to attract investments, even from oil companies with little or no Middle East experience or assets.
A flurry of upstream contracts has been signed in the past few days between Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and foreign independents. US independent Hess announced on July 27 2011 that it had signed production-sharing contracts (PSCs) with the KRG for the Dinarta and Shakrok exploration blocks, located north-east of the regional capital Erbil. Hess will operate the blocks with 64% interests, and has joined forces with UK-listed Petroceltic, which has committed US$72mn in the first licence period (three years) in exchange for 16% participating interests. The two companies will acquire 2D seismic and drill at least one exploration well in each of the two PSCs, which together cover an area of 1,737sq km.
On the same day, Africa-focused UK-based explorer Afren announced that it had agreed a farm-in at the Barda Rash and Ain Sifni blocks, held by Komet Group. At a total cost of US$588mn, the acquisition delivers to Afren proven and probable (2P) reserves of 890mn barrels (bbl), with further potential resources of 184mn bbl. Afren will take a 60% operating stake at Barda Rash and a 20% stake in Ain Sifni, which is operated by Hunt Oil (60%). Afren said that it is targeting gross production of 125,000 barrels per day (b/d) from Barda Rash by 2017.
Kurdish Gusher
Click here to see full size Table

Finally, on July 28, Australia-listed independent Oil Search, which is Papua New Guinea-focused, announced that it had exercised an option with the KRG (originally agreed in July 2009) to enter into a PSC for the 511sq km Taza block (K42), in which the company will take a 60% stake. Oil Search will join forces with ShaMaran Petroleum (20%) at the block, where it will target the Jeribe formation with an exploration well in 2012. Taza is located just north of the Pulkhana oil discovery and south of the Khor Mor gas field.

Three of the four companies have some experience in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Hess has stakes in offshore blocks in Egypt and Libya, Petroceltic has an onshore presence in Algeria, while Oil Search has onshore assets in Yemen and Tunisia. For all four, however, entry into Iraqi Kurdistan is a major push into one of the Middle East's last underexplored conventional oil bastions. As Afren has no MENA investments, Kurdistan represents the biggest relative shift in company strategy, given that its exclusive focus to date has been Sub-Saharan Africa. At an investor presentation, Afren noted Kurdistan's high prospectivity and low operating costs (US$4-5/bbl), together with low development costs (US$2.50-4/bbl). The attractiveness of the PSC format in the Middle East also cannot be underestimated.
BMI has noted the improving risk profile of the Kurdistan region since end-2010, when Erbil and Baghdad reached a preliminary deal over resuming crude oil exports. In March 2011, Baghdad paid foreign operators in Kurdistan 50% of their crude export revenues to cover operating costs, while talks on profit payments and larger regulatory issues - such as the hydrocarbons law - remain ongoing.
Slow progress on these latter points demonstrates the persistent risks of Iraqi Kurdistan's upstream segment, and another interruption in Kurdish oil exports (as in 2009) cannot be ruled out. However, events continue to move in an investor-friendly direction. If the above deals were not enough to confirm this, the Financial Times reported in July 2011 that Vallares, the acquisition vehicle backed by financier Nat Rothschild and former BP CEO Tony Hayward, is considering acquiring either Genel Energi or Dana Gas, both of which are significant investors in Kurdistan's upstream segment. Discussions are said to have taken place, although a deal has yet to be announced.

===

20:04
shahristani

chief66
25UP

What an interesting week this has been. I'm not talking about the SP, because 2011's truly been a very boring and depressing year (so far) for the SP. What i'm referring to is the feverish activity in grasping whats left of the kurdistan landscape (or at least it felt like that). A massive land grab opportunity that wont be on the table for much longer.

5 companies, 3 really big ones announcing PSC deals with the krg. Well i didnt think that would have been possible in the lead up to the first full review of the amended oil and gas law. It has happened and the most amazing thing is that shahristani has not whispered a word againts it. Its not that he didnt have an opportunity to voice his utter disgust at these deals because he has been talking to iraqi diploamts this week on oil.

http://www.mmorning.com/ArticleC.asp?Article=9442&CategoryID=6

So why no objections and why such a flurry of deals - can it really be that there is imminent news on formalising the oil and gas law, which effectively gives the thumbs up to all existing deals.

Well if that is the case then its certainly been worth the wait. What is a little surprising is that some of these bigger players have not announced the jewel in the crown (no i'm not talking about the King Jewel in the crown shaiken) the jewel (Headless Horseman). Based on previous post and the prospect of connectivity to BB and possibly being several times the size of shaiken - i would have thought that would have been grabbed at all cost.

Maybe just maybe its been secured by KRG's closest partner (GKP).

Just seeing 5 more companies jump in, on top of marathon, and others that took the plunge a few months ago is very encouraging.

Best quote of the week has to be by afr - this deal will not have been on the table for much longer - or words to that effect.

He certainly knew something we dont know yet!!

GLA

==

15:57
Re: Repsol seals Kurdistan deal


From Upstream Online:

Repsol seals Kurdistan deal
Aleya Begum 29 July 2011 13:29 GMT

Spanish operator Repsol said today it has finally come to an agreement with the authorities of the Kurdistan region of Iraq for exploration of two blocks in the region, after 12 months of negotiations.

The blocks, known as Piramagrun and Qala Dze, cover an area of over 2700 square kilometres in the western part of the Kurdistan region.

“The exploration programs include geological field work, seismic and drilling,”
said Repsol without elaborating further.

The resumption of oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan coupled with a string of significant discoveries is helping lure an increasing number of international oil companies to the semi-autonomous region.

Published: 29 July 2011 13:29 GMT | Last updated: 1 minute ago
MikeyAdmin
12UP

It was first muted in the Press last November that Repsol where looking at entering Kurdistan.

Repsol Considers Kurdish Entry As KRG Sees Light At End Of Tunnel
November 2010 | Industry News

Printable version Email Bookmark
Spain's Repsol YPF is reportedly considering entering the oil sector in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north.

http://www.oilandgasinsight.com/file/94420/repsol-considers-kurdish-entry-as-krg-sees-light-at-end-of-tunnel.html

Now they have entered, and signed a PSC Contract.

===

CORRECTED - Repsol eyes investments in Kurdistan -sources
Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:21pm GMT Print | Single Page[-] Text [+] (Corrects Kurdistan Regional Government from Kurdish Regional Government in 3rd paragraph)

By Tom Bergin and Rania El Gamal

ARBIL, IRAQ Nov 25 (Reuters) - Spain's Repsol (REP.MC: Quote) REP.N is the latest large international oil group to eye potential investments in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, sources familiar with the matter said.

Repsol's move, which risks it being blacklisted from investment in the rest of Iraq, follows recent investments in Kurdistan by U.S.-based Marathon Oil (MRO.N: Quote) and Murphy Oil (MUR.N: Quote).

Repsol has eyed a number of potential blocks for investment, the sources said. It could buy a stake in a field already being explored by another company or it could acquire a new block from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).


Kurdistan, which achieved a form of self-government after the first gulf war, began issuing oil licenses shortly after Saddam Hussein was toppled, initially attracting investments from only small explorers.

The KRG says its contracts are in compliance with Iraq's constitution but Baghdad has described them as illegal, and excluded oil companies which invested in the region from bidding for contracts in the south.

Although the south offers larger prospects than Kurdistan, tough competition from big international companies and stringent contract terms have deterred some investors.

Kurdish leaders are currently in talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about forming a new government that would be led by Maliki, and recognition of oil contracts are one of their key demands. [ID:nLDE6AO0QG] [ID:nLDE6AO0NE]

A Repsol spokesman declined to confirm activities in Kurdistan but added:

"We are expanding our footprint in various parts of the world to reduce our dependence on LatAm". (Additional reporting and editing by Jonathan Gleave in London)


http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE6AO1HF20101125

Earlier one below.

Spain's Repsol signs Kurdistan exploration agreement
Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:12pm GMT Print | Single Page[-] Text [+] MADRID, July 29 (Reuters) - Spanish oil and gas group Repsol (REP.MC: Quote) said on Friday it has signed agreements with the Government of the Kurdistan region of Iraq for the exploration of two blocks in the Kurdistan region.

The blocks have been under negotiation for the past twelve months and cover together an area of more than 2,700 square kilometres in the western part of the Kurdistan region, Repsol said in a statement.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; editing by Judy MacInnes)

http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFMDT01006420110729

===

UBS eyes improving political environment for oil firms in Kurdistan -
http://t.co/Bv5xQ8x

1:46 pm by Jamie Ashcroft

===

11:02
The Kurdish Oil rush ....




What seems most interesting about recent events is that five companies (Repsol, Hess, Oil Search, Afren, and Petroceltic) should have made their announcements about taking up Kurdish PSCs in the last THREE DAYS.

Repsol is particularly interesting. It is now the second largest oil company to take up a PSC in Kurdistan, and was ranked 37 in the world’s top energy companies in January 2011 with a market cap of $33.8 billion. (China’s Sinopec was the largest Kurdsitan oiler with a market cap of the $101.6 billion and ranked 11).

https://www.pfcenergy.com/~/media/Files/Public%20Files/PFC%20Energy%2050/PFC_Energy_50_20111.pdf

Repsol also first expressed an interest in Southern Iraq’s Nassiriya oil field in January 2009, along with Eni and Nippon oil. But it dropped out of the bidding contest in June 2009.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/24/iraq-repsol-nassiriya-idUSLN67896620090624

Notably, Eni then dropped out in October 2009 as it had already taken on and talks between Iraq, and Nippon Oil ended in February 2010, after an agreement could not be reached.
So, the terms of the TSCs for developing ‘existing’ oil fields may not appeal to everyone!

Repsol then openly changed their focus to Kurdistan towards the end of November 2010.
https://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093379441

But it has taken 8 MONTHS for them to decide to dip their toes into Kurdistan oil, plenty of time for due diligence and satisfying themselves that any contracts signed would be honoured.

On its own, this would be very good news. But ,combined with the fact that Hess (ranked 45 in the PFC Energy 50 and a $25.8 billion company), Oil Search (a $9 billion Australian company) , and Afren and Petroceltic of the UK have also confirmed PSCs very recently, it suggests very strongly that there is now a real sense of urgency for Big Oil to get into Kurdistan.

Looking back, four weeks ago on 2 July 2011 the excellent Ben Lando of the Iraq Oil Report entitled his article ‘Kurdish Oil Boom Begins’. If you haven’t read it, you probably should, since IMHO, it is an extensive and quite superb account of the political progress that has been happening lately and the influx of foreign oil companies into Kurdistan.

http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=22D62B99AED04D344C97E2A4C20EE02F

Yes, it is very hard to escape the conclusion that the ‘Kurdish Oil rush’ has now officially begun.

GLA, scaramouche

===


Saturday, 02 July 2011, 08:14 GMT
Kurdish oil boom begins

Larry Morrow, a construction supervisor for Norway's DNO Iraq, takes a call about the work at the Tawke oilfield as he overlooks the crude processing facility at DNO's Feyshkabour export center. The Tawke field is on the far right. / PRESS PHOTO

By Ben Lando

The KRG's oil development has faced huge political obstacles,

Three years ago, the only thing shining in this Kurdish village was the reflection off the seepage pools of crude bubbling in residents' backyards. Now the summer sun glares off the tinted windows of new houses painted in bright pastel colors. The region is experiencing what appears to be the beginning of its long-heralded oil boom.

In the past four months, oil exports from five fields within or administered by the semi-autonomous Kurdish region have gone from zero to around 181,000 barrels per day (bpd), and companies have received a share of the $243 million payout from Baghdad.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) now accounts for more than eight percent of the country's oil exports and more than a third of the flow through the Turkey pipeline. The Tawke field, developed by Norwegian firm DNO, accounts for 72,000 bpd of exports. And on Thursday, Gulf Keystone Petroleum's Shaikan field began its first exports, of 5,000 bpd.

Facilities are expanding at the fields and a key DNO-run export hub near the borders with Turkey and Syria. There is a hope locally to reach 200,000 bpd of exports by year's end.

"When the KRG told us we would resume exports, they were already very optimistic," said Eric Aillaud, production manager for DNO Iraq. His company just received its first payment for its work in Kurdistan: $103.7 million. Tawke's maximum capacity is currently 75,000 bpd, Aillaud said, but if the pumps were upgraded or the field's tanker loading site were utilized, "then you can expand."

The KRG's oil development has faced huge political obstacles, many of which still remain. Leaders in Baghdad and the KRG capital of Erbil fundamentally disagree about the appropriate distribution of power between the regional and central governments; as a result, the Kurds have signed oil deals despite the central government's objections, and the Oil Ministry has considered those contracts illegitimate and has blacklisted the companies who signed them. For many years, the dispute prevented Kurdish oil from being exported.

Yet leaders in Erbil and Baghdad have recently found urgent reasons to resolve their conflicts, at least in the short term: the high price of oil and the demands of Iraq's budget have provided financial incentive, and Maliki has needed the support of the sizable Kurdish parliamentary bloc to win another term and keep his governing coalition together.

The two sides initiated a rapprochement in January, when the central and regional leadership reached a still-secret but somewhat loosely guarded agreement to re-start the flow of exports. Unlike a short-lived export deal in 2009, which didn't include any mechanism for paying the contractors, the central government has agreed to reimburse the contractors for their costs, among other commitments by both sides.

According to various accounts of the deal, payments are to be made every other month, equivalent to the value of half of the KRG crude exported, followed by professional auditing of true costs that are being recovered. Baghdad transferred the first of those payments to the KRG in late May.

A top official at the Taq Taq Operating Company - the joint venture between Turkey's Genel Energji and China's Sinopec (having purchased original investor, Swiss-based Addax Petroleum, and then being subsequently blacklisted from proposed deals in Baghdad) - confirmed it received a $92.7 million payout. Officials from other exporting firms confirmed payments as well.

Forty oil companies have entered Iraq via Kurdistan. The most prominent of those, the American firm Marathon signed onto four blocks last year. Sources say some of the largest oil companies in the world that haven't scored a deal from Baghdad are knocking on doors up north.

In one telling portent of the boom times ahead, the Oil Ministry's own Iraqi Drilling Company recently opened an office in Erbil, in order to pursue sub-contracts in Kurdish fields: even the central government's state-run oil services arm is joining the Kurdish oil bonanza.

Short-term solutions spur rapid expansion

Oil from Tawke is sent through DNO's 45-kilometer pipeline to its export processing facility at Feyshkhabour, under the watch of Syrian mountains three kilometers to the west and Turkish mountains two kilometers north. The Tawke pipeline comes above ground near a loading bay that looks like a massive petrol station, where trucks carrying crude from other fields empty their tanks. The blend of piped and trucked Kurdish oil then flows into another pipeline running under a beat-up road and over to the Iraqi Oil Ministry's metering station, which feeds the export pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey.

The Feyshkhabour facility is steadily expanding. It can handle about 112,000 bpd now and will likely reach 150,000 bpd capacity by the end of the year. Sources say its design capacity is more than twice that, and can be achieved with some minor electrical tweaking of the pumps and more crude. An additional pipeline is being considered, which, according to plans, nearly every field KRG field being developed would feed into.

Such expansion has been a long time in the making. DNO in 2004 was among the first companies to sign a contract with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders, who officially organized into the KRG in 2006. The region's oil ambitions date back even further. In 2002 and early 2003, with the end of the Saddam Hussein regime on the horizon and under the protection of an international no-fly zone, Kurdish authorities signed with two Turkish companies, Genel Enerji and PetOil.

Taq Taq is currently trucking 20,000 bpd to Feyshkhabour and is expected to increase to 30,000 bpd soon. Gulf Keystone plans to ramp up to 20,000 bpd by early next year, according to the company's country manager, Adnan Samarrai.

Iraq has 143.1 billion barrels of proven reserves of oil, and if the KRG's estimated 30 to 40 billion can be authenticated, Iraq would become the second-largest holder of oil reserves in the world. Iraq is about to launch an exploration auction that will likely boost reserves further toward closing the gap with world-leader Saudi Arabia, which claims 267 billion barrels.

Between the KRG's deals and the massive output contracts Baghdad has signed with foreign oil companies, the stated plans are to increase production capacity to more than 13.5 million bpd. The KRG has said it could contribute one million bpd within four years.

The growing exports and initial payments represent a tenuous breakthrough in a dispute that has plagued the politics, economy and security of the country. Federal revenues from the KRG's oil could create a mutual economic dependence that leads to clarifying Iraq's national oil policy and aligning the country's two oil sectors.

"We are hoping to see a longer-term deal on the political side very soon," said a top official at one of the companies operating in the KRG.

Long-term obstacles

The fight over the rights to sign oil deals is far from over, however, as some Baghdad officials remain insistent that the 37 contracts signed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with foreign oil firms are illegitimate because it wasn't the central government that signed on the dotted line.

In Kurdistan, hardball politics and optimism mix like crude from different fields flowing into the export pipeline. "By making this payment it is proof they (in the central government) accept the legitimacy of the (Kurdish) contracts from A to Z," said one KRG official.

But no officials in Baghdad, aside from those representing the Kurdistan region, are outright lobbying on behalf of the KRG's deals. Rather, parliamentarians are insisting that the Kurdish contracts be reviewed under the rules set out in a prospective oil law, which has been delayed since 2006 by the political fighting surrounding the KRG's oil deals, the role of foreign oil companies in general, and the larger dispute over federalism.

Without such legal reconciliation, the KRG's exports depend entirely on the political bargain struck in mid-January between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih in closed-door meetings in Baghdad.

Under that deal, the export revenues are used to pay the companies for their costs - but not profits. Contractors who signed production sharing contracts with the KRG will soon pass the cost-recovery threshold and start being eligible to take their share of the profit in crude. Such payments would require Baghdad's approval in some way, because the central government controls the export routes and determines which ships are loaded.

Many people in the KRG and the foreign oil companies say that payments will continue and that the profit threshold will be crossed seamlessly. But to do so would constitute the central government's de facto approval of the contracts and the KRG's right to sign deals autonomously - which would be a major reversal for Maliki's administration, which has been adamant in its sole right to set the country's oil strategy.

The KRG's rising output may bring in nearly $18 million a day at today's prices, but Baghdad has some leverage to resist an all-out concession to the regional government's demands: its own deals with the world's largest international oil companies. Oil production from southern Iraq is increasing toward a rate that could rival even Saudi Arabia in the future.

The terms of Baghdad's contracts are considered to be quite stringent, paying as little as $1.15 per barrel of increased output per field. In January, Baghdad will hold its fourth auction in two years and 38 companies applied to qualify to bid, in addition to the 45 already in after qualifying for the first three rounds.

Like the KRG's deals, Baghdad's fourth bidding round is for exploration blocks. Unlike the KRG, Baghdad insists it will stick to service contracts - not the production sharing contracts (PSCs) generally preferred by the global oil firms - and a successful auction will bolster the central government's claims that its deals better serve the state's interest than the KRG's.

The details of the Baghdad-Erbil pact remain secret, and allegedly include an agreement that neither side will talk to the media. Numerous officials within the KRG refused to talk on the record, and Maliki and his oil minister, Abdul Karim Luaibi, have remained mostly silent as well.

But Maliki's deputy prime minister for energy issues, Hussain al-Shahristani, has in the past weeks gone to the media criticizing the KRG and reiterating that the export agreement will pay company costs but not profits. He also inked a gas export agreement with the European Union that bypasses the KRG's demands for self-determination over its gas fields.

The dispute over Kurdish oil has been something of a proxy battle in the larger political war over Iraqi federalism, and given Shahristani's statements, that fundamental disagreement - over the proper distribution of power between the central and regional governments - still appears far from being resolved.

Points of conflict

The Maliki-Salih deal contains other provisions whose implementation might cause friction.

The KRG is to end the alleged smuggling of fuel and possibly crude to Iran. Neither the regional nor central government has made public any data about such shipments, and when allegations of smuggling first went mainstream last year, the KRG insisted that it sends only surplus fuel oil abroad.

Illicit exports to Iran would constitute not only a breach of the central government's claim to be the sole seller of Iraqi oil, but might also violate both U.S. sanctions against Iran and a 2003 UN mandate determining the proper channels for processing Iraqi oil revenues.


Under the terms of the January deal, all oil exports must be sold by the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO), which theoretically has authority over all Iraqi crude and fuel exports and imports, and which sends the revenues to the central government before they are redistributed.

Also, according to numerous accounts of the pact, the KRG is supposed to shut down the estimated 100 small refineries that previously were fed crude from Kurdish oil fields (while not a thorough survey, there was no activity at a half dozen small refineries during a recent drive through Iraqi Kurdistan; when asked, people either living or working in the area said the steady stream of trucks stopped months ago). Baghdad, in turn, has pledged increase fuel supplies to the KRG.

Looming largest are the cost-recovery bills due to companies, estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars and requiring a thorough audit. Yet in order for the central government to determine payments owed, Kurdish authorities will presumably need to provide a historical reckoning of reported eight-figure-plus signing bonuses paid to companies and oil sales to the domestic market, all of which have been done in an atmosphere of opacity.

Petro-exuberance

Five decades ago, Adnan Samarrai was a geologist working with the Iraqi Petroleum Company on the Kirkuk field, which has embodied the seemingly intractable ethnic, sectarian, and political tensions that run through the country's oil sector. In 1962, Samarrai suffered such conflict first-hand, when Mullah Mustafa Barzani, the Kurdish leader waged a violent struggle against a strong-arm central authority.

If anyone has reason to look warily on the Kurdish region, it is Samarrai. But like oilmen throughout history, Samarrai understands that the most lucrative opportunities are often shrouded in difficulty. He has returned to run Gulf Keystone's operation in Iraq and the Shaikan field is one of the most prospective new oil finds in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Barzani's son, Massoud, is now president.

"When it's a substantial amount" of production, said Samarrai, the central government will "realize Kurdistan has the potential."

Indeed, ever since the political breakthrough in January, there's been not only a bullish move to get oil exports online, but also a push to expand their capacity - as if the political problems have been solved.

The swing in momentum has been swift. As recently as 2007 and 2008, for example, the Khormala Dome formation of the Kirkuk field was the scene of dramatic showdowns between Baghdad and Erbil, when the Oil Ministry sent workers to develop the field, but Kurdish security forces prevented access, and equipment sat in storage for years. Now, nearly half of the crude from Khormala flows directly into the central government's export pipeline.

The Kurdish private company KAR Group is developing the Khormala Dome site. The oil goes to the Erbil refinery - 40,000 bpd capacity now, soon to double in size - with all excess production feeding into the export pipeline. Currently, 35,000 bpd of exports from Khormala Dome is mixed with another shipment from Taq Taq, trucks carrying 40,000 bpd.

And 14,000 bpd of liquid condensates is being sent from the Khor Mor field to Jambur, and then into the export pipeline. Khor Mor is a gas field developed by Pearl Petroleum, a company owned by UAE's Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum, Hungary's MOL and Austria's OMV, which just announced a successful exploratory well in one of its blocks.

Both Khormala Dome and Khor Mor are fields in the "disputed territories," land that witnessed gerrymandering and forced relocation, another unresolved source of tension between the central and regional governments that plays on ethnic sensitivities and keeps open the wounds inflicted under Saddam Hussein.

Such natural resources bring enormous challenges - political fighting, stalemates and economic imbalances - but also revenues, which are especially needed in a country with such massive reconstruction needs. Oil provides 95 percent of state income, and through May has brought Iraq $34.1 billion this year.

In little Tawke village, Luc Le Berre, DNO's Tawke Field Superintendent is about as far away from the political fights over crude as one can come in an oil country.

He once worked the oil fields in Sudan and Yemen, and now drives around the village in four-wheel drive pick-up truck to get a better view of a nearby hillside. Atop the hill is a house with a fresh coat of pink paint, surrounded by red soil and lush green farmland grass. Le Berre points to a dark stream running down the side of the hill.

"It's a river of oil," he says. "All that is dark, you know it is oil."



Iraq Oil Report

==

Sinopec building a pipeline circa 1million barrels per day,to accomodate,Barda Rash,Ain Sifni,Taq Taq and Shaikan.

If we look at these 4fields,my wild guess is Shaikan will contribute to at least 40 percent of this new Sinopec's pipeline capacity!

What's nice about this Afren's conference is that we get more information of what the KRG is doing to increase their crude exports, and i am very sure Mailki and Shahristani have endorsed this pipeline and hence their trip to China recently with Barham Salih!Iraq needs chinese money!The Americans cannot afford to help Iraq given their own challenges back home!!

This Afren's conference may open the eyes of some funds that have been blinkered by the KRG/ICG disputes that they are not invested in Kurdish Oilies so far.

===

Author peakyblack View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 19:57
Subject Afren conf call- q&a
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 26 times.
Message
Interesting comment re the 40% tax and Shaikan pipeline


Operator:
Thank you sir. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator
Instructions] Our first question is from the line of Melanie Savage with UBS.
Please go ahead.
Q - Melanie D. Savage: Hi, I just had three questions. First on the
recovery fact that you're assuming 10% recovery fact as you saw a
conservative estimate and what is that based on. And the second, could you
list out what trucking costs are per barrel and also the pipeline costs to
build the pipeline and finally have you secured capacity in an export
pipeline? Thank you.
A - Iain Wright: I can answer the first one and then I'll hand over to Osman. The recovery factor is conservative. It's basically a number that's
been assigned by the - a concern person, with both the consultants obvious.
It is based on - it's based on their understanding. Typically our view and I
think we will demonstrate that as we go forward is the - the recovery factor
will likely rise to at least the early 20% recovery factors.

A - Osman Shahenshah: On the second point Melanie, on trucking we are
seeing costs of a about $1.50 per barrel per 100 kilometers.
That seems to be
- today that seems to be the sort of market rate. I think there are four
trucking providers in country and therefore understanding of what some of the
other operators are paying and obviously once we're in the asset we will dig
into that further.
In terms of export capacity, our understanding is that a pipeline from the
Taq Taq field up going Northwest, just courting the Barda Rash field and
passing through the Ain Sifni block up to the Turkish border. The preliminary
engineering for that has been done, and as far as we know an EPC contract for
that pipeline has also been, has been awarded with a view to completing that
towards the end of 2012, early 2013. It's being financed by Sinopec and if
the operators will pay a tariff, which [ph] I actually (31:41) will have it
cost recovery element in it, and we haven't secured access to the pipeline
yet, but we've had extensive discussions with the government about this, and we don't feel that there is a particular problem there. The pipeline is being
sized as we understand it to accommodate production from Barda Rash, from
Shaikan, from Ain Sifni, and also from Taq Taq. My understanding is that it
could be around 1 million barrels a day capacity. So, we see plenty of oil in
that when it comes on stream.

Q - Melanie D. Savage: Okay, thank you.
Operator:
Our next question comes from the line of Marco Spinar with Neuberger Berman.
Please go ahead.
Q - Marco Spinar: Hi, good afternoon. Can you just comment on the selling
parties,
I wasn't familiar with them, and the nature of the transaction was a
tender or was it a close negotiation process?
A - Iain Wright: Sure. Let's start with Barda Rash. The Barda Rash PSC was
steward by company called Komet. Komet entered Kurdistan in late 2007 early
2008. It's a Moldovan-Romanian company and some people in the Afren
management have known that the principles behind Komet for a number of years,
and had a relationship with them. And when - basically what Komet did is they drilled three wells, and they got the field to the point where it was ready
for a full-field development, but I think it was felt that it really
required, I should say, a deeper technical team and greater financial
resources to take it into full-field development, because there was a
relationship there, personal relationship at the managerial level there was a
degree of trust to work with us. I think the vendor has a strong desire to
actually produce the field. As you noticed he remains in the field with a 20%
paying interest. It's not just a matter of a selling out. And during the
discussion there's been a quite a bit competitive pressure from other
companies who, let's say, were unable to move this quickly as we were. But it
was a based relationship deal, but we had to move quite quickly to actually
secure the deal because of competitive interests. You will notice the number
of companies that have recently entered Kurdistan.
On the Ain Sifni transaction, we acquired our 20% interest or the third-party
interest from the Kurdistan Regional Government who were very particular
about, which companies come into the country. And I think, but I don't want
to put too many words in their mouth, but I think they have a desire to bring
in slightly larger companies than that have been there in the past. They have
a desire to bring in publicly traded companies and companies that have a
track record in actually developing the kind of resources that they have in
these particular fields. And so - and I guess the last point is my understanding is that because there are quite a lot of geologic continuities
between Barda Rash and Ain Sifni it makes sense to have the same party in
both blocks. And so that is the nature of that transaction.

Q - Marco Spinar: Okay. And just to clarify the 20% paying interest of
Komet what is that - did they retain equity in the field or is that just a
contractual payment of what?
A - Iain Wright: That's a normal 20% participating interest in the PSC.

Q - Marco Spinar: Okay thank you.
A: Welcome.
Operator:
Thank you our next question comes from the line of Shola Labinjo with Tudor,
Pickering, Holt & Company. Please go ahead.
Q - Anish Kapadia: Hi it's actually Anish Kapadia here from Tudor,
Pickering. Just had a couple of questions you mentioned early mover advantage
you have in Kurdistan. Just wondering if you can put that in the context of, I think there is close to 40 companies operating in Kurdistan at the moment.
There's a number of discoveries that seem to be potentially ahead of you from
a development timeframe. So just if you can kind of give a bit more color of
where you see yourselves ahead of the competition?
And then the second one is just to understand what you've been paying for
these two fields. If I work that right you're paying more on $1 per barrel
for Ain Sifni even though there is - unproven reserves over there, there also
in Barda Rash, just wondering why that's the case?

A - Iain Wright: Okay well, let's see the first question is that our early
mover advantage and I think what we're saying is that we have the particular
expertise at bringing field on stream on a fast track basis and our, very
much our firm intention is to bring Phase 1 into production by as I said at
the end of the first quarter and early second quarter next year. There are a
number of companies in the country that are maybe not moving as quickly or
they have more exploration oriented assets. But we see ourselves well
positioned to move very quickly and that's really been the hallmark of Afren.
We've done that in the case of the Okoro in Nigeria and again in the Ebok
complex. So, that is very much our business plan to do things on a fast track
basis.
In terms of the acquisition, the consideration, you're correct on $1 per barrel basis, Ain Sifni is more expensive; if you will, we're still talking
sub $2 a barrel. But, I think, what may not fully come out is that the upside
that we see in Ain Sifni is absolutely enormous. Just on the Maqlub
structure, we believe that obviously we need to do more work, but we believe
that Maqlub structure alone could be double the size of Barda Rash. So - and
obviously every deal is a different deal. So, we're very, very comfortable
that we're well within our target range of what we'd like to pay for things.

Q - Anish Kapadia: Okay, thanks. Just one follow-up - I might have missed
it earlier what realizations do you expect to get from the Phase 1 production
that you're going to be trucking?
A - Iain Wright: At 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day gross, from the three
wells.

Q - Anish Kapadia: So what price realization do you expect to get from
that?
A - Iain Wright: International prices.
Q - Anish Kapadia: Okay, thanks.
Operator:
Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Laura Loppacher with
Jeffries. Please go ahead.
Q - Laura Loppacher: Hi, guys. Thanks. A couple of questions, quick, one do
you carry the KRG's interest through development at all.
Can you, you briefly
mentioned that there are some problems on drilling the I'm going to say your
own Jebel Simrit well can you just explain that a little bit? And can you
just to discuss a little bit more about what the - obviously the biggest
issue here is the politics. Can you explain if there has been any progress
lately on moving from just paying cost oil to possibly getting some from [ph]
profit inflows (39:57) to the contractors as well.
A - Osman Shahenshah: Okay. The first question is easy. Yes, KRG is
carried.
Q - Laura Loppacher: Okay.
A - Osman Shahenshah: The second question on drilling Iain
A - Iain Wright: Yeah, I mean they - it was basically in the fractured
carbonates, you have the tendency to lose your drilling fluids into the
fracture systems and I call this some drilling issues and Hunt suffered from
that when they drilled their first well as have other companies who have been
drilling that first well in these areas. So, this is nothing unusual, but
it's just something I know drilling challenges to have overcome.

Q - Laura Loppacher: I mean, that's the reason why they did not penetrate
the traffic or was that not originally planned?
A - Iain Wright: No. This is correct. They basically they stopped through
the Jurassic and basically decided to leave it there and basically replan and
drill the second well on Jebel Simrit.

A - Osman Shahenshah: On the last point yeah the politics I'll do the best
I can. I think what I would say is that we have taken comfort and decided to
invest because we see a positive evolution in the risk factors in the
Kurdistan region and what I mean by that is we see affirmative statements
coming out of Baghdad. We have - we're in very close contact with the
authorities in Kurdistan who have been very robust in their own belief that
the situation between the Kurdistan region and Baghdad is improving and improving rapidly. And there's a great deal of optimism that there will be a
final resolution in the form of a oil law - federal oil law that will apply
to all regions of Iraq.
We see further investment by publicly traded international companies such as
Marathon. I think, the fact that United States Embassy and the United States
government has opened a consulate in Kurdistan. So there is both external -
there are external forces as well as internal drivers, I think, to move
towards the resolution and to encourage further investment. Now, I think,
it'd be inappropriate to say that we believe everything will be fully and
finally settled in a week or a month or three months or six months, we don't
know. But we feel the continuum is certainly moving it in the right
direction, and we feel quite bullish that our development program, our
investment program meets with the overall political development.

Q - Laura Loppacher: Okay. Thank you.
Operator:
Our next question comes from the line of Giacomo Romeo with Macquarie. Please
go ahead.
Q - Giacomo Romeo: Hello. First thing, I would like to understand if you're going to publish the CPR, and is the assigned 20% interest of Ain Sifni with
the consent of that holder?

A - Osman Shahenshah: Sorry, I didn't catch the second question
Q - Giacomo Romeo>: Is the assigned 20% interest of Ain Sifni with consent
of the holder with the consent in the hold of Hunt?

A - Osman Shahenshah: Hunt yes.
Q - Giacomo Romeo>: Okay.
A - Osman Shahenshah: (43:20) As it's on the website.....
Q - Giacomo Romeo: Okay, it's already been published?
A - Osman Shahenshah: Yeah.
Q - Giacomo Romeo: Okay. That's all thanks.
Operator:
Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Nick Copeman with Oriel
Securities. Please go ahead.
Q - Nick E. Copeman: All right probably a question for Iain. Certainly we
suspect the oil plays numbers in the Barda Rash flow, actually the light and
heavy oil and if you can give us some idea of the API of the heavy oil just
in terms of what's the recovery [indiscernible] (43:55)? Thanks.
A - Iain Wright: Yeah, the total wholly owned Barda Rash is 1.747 billion
of which 506 is light which is 30 to 32 and the 906 field days is basically
heavier which ranges from around 14 to 17 as in terms of the recovery factors
obviously the heavier oil, the recovery factors will be lower initially, but
there is work to do here in terms of finally establishing that. Couple of
things that are happening, one is that the 17 API quality crude, it is being
produced by the DNO to the south via a down hold pump and this is a
technology we'll use to test this as part of our phase development and then
obviously we're looking to use steam for some of the heavier shallower
reservoir to see if we can produce that commercially. If that's the case if
we do things by steam floods, et cetera you can get quite higher recovery
factors, but that is certainly work we need to do in the coming time.

Q - Nick E. Copeman: Can you just say it roughly what recovery fact you are
seeing on the light oil inflow?
A - Iain Wright: The light oil is about 17%.
Q - Nick E. Copeman: Okay great. That's all.
A - Iain Wright: Sorry, I think, that the blended rate actually - I think,
I mean, I think on the light it's in the 20s....
A - Osman Shahenshah: Low 20s.
A - Iain Wright: So, in the low 20s.
A - Osman Shahenshah: (45:42) high 20s.
A - Iain Wright: Yeah, and we actually feel that, that could go up quite
significantly.
Q - Nick E. Copeman: Okay, great. Thanks.
Operator:
Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of [indiscernible] (45:57).
Please go ahead.
Q: Hello, good evening. I just want to ask in relation to the
infrastructure that's up in Kurdistan. Has there going to be any
infrastructure paths that you are assuming or now basically that you are
planning for that or other direct contribution you need to make or are you
just expecting to rely on this pipeline that you're saying Sinopec is
constructing, because I believe from other companies operating in the region
that up to 40% of the NPV is often given out in terms of infrastructure
payments to the regional government.

A - Osman Shahenshah: Hi. I'm not - well a couple of things. One is the
PSCs, which are very similar, have recently been reviewed, revised, and
updated if you will, and they're quite explicit. I think, you may be
referring to what's been called third-party capacity payments in the past.
And that's where monies are allocated for certain projects, whether for
infrastructure or universities or schools and so forth. And our expectation
is that most of the consideration, at least in respect of Ain Sifni, would be
so allocated for schools, hospitals, and so forth. But we are not anticipating some unknown 40% tax.

Q: Okay. And second question on [indiscernible] (47:24) I mean I'm sure for
other people it's always kind of bit of a surprise and you've always been
very much focusing on Africa and that's been at the forefront of all your
presentations in the past and even in the annual reports that was released
three months ago. So just wanted to understand as much there is an
opportunity in Kurdistan, we recognized why at this stage the shift and what
does that mean for Afren as a business going forward, that Africa is no
longer the crux of company?

A- Osman Shahenshah: Well I would vehemently disagree with the statement
that Africa is no longer the crux. I'm not sure if you were on the call
earlier, but I tried to preempt that and say that actually we're working on
other opportunities in West Africa and Nigeria and we have very nice balance
portfolio of Frontier Exploration in East Africa, which by the way wasn't
very popular when we announced it initially and now people seem to like it in
Nigeria, in that area we're doing more - we're not prepared to pay silly
value. And we think that we've maintained the evaluation discipline in
Nigeria that stood us in good set and this is a - we believe once in a
lifetime low cost opportunity to acquire some very attractive barrel and to essentially take our total resources from 137 million barrels to over a
billion barrels of resources and reserves and so that's part of growing up
[inaudible] (48:54) full cycle E&P company.

Q: Okay. Thank you.
Operator:
Our next question is from the line of Marco Spinar with Neuberger Berman.
Please go ahead.
Q - Marco Spinar: Thanks. My question has already been answered. Thank you.
Operator:
Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Charles Lesser with
Macquarie. Please go ahead.
Q - Charles A. Lesser: Hi, guys sorry to keep you from heading home. Just
one small, how do you think, how you patient you are in trying to see
resolution on as the distributional profit oil revenues, would you proceed
with Phase 2 developments in 2012 [inaudible] (49:37), would you proceed with
Phase 3 developments say in 2014 if resolution wasn't in place by then?
A - Osman Shahenshah: Yeah, Charles I mean we are - that's' a pretty sort
of theoretical hypothetical question. I mean we're - we're in a hurry we'd
like to get things done, we'd like to do them properly we feel that things
are evolving well in Kurdistan and Iraq. We don't know exactly when they will
be fully resolved, but we're very encouraged by what's happening and
obviously we make our investment decisions as we go in a phased manner.

Operator:
And our next question comes from the line of [ph] Chris Hopper (50:23),
Private Investor. Please go ahead
Q: Hey just you mentioned of your good relationship with Komet and given
the nature of the two blocks that you signed with those included too good to
be true to be honest, I mean you say that is $0.66 a barrel and how do you
want you see just could you comment on that please?
A - Iain Wright: Well, look the - let me put it that way that wasn't the
starting price. The other thing I would say is we've been working this up
properly and trying to do our work very carefully. Clearly the value about of
barrels in Kurdistan today is not the value of barrels in Kurdistan when these risks and these uncertainties have been resolved.
: Okay.
: And I think that is reflected in the price.
: Okay. Thank you.
Operator:
And ladies and gentlemen, that is all the time we have for questions. I would
like to turn the call back over to management for closing remarks.
Osman Shahenshah:
Well, listen, just thank you all for listening and participating. This is a
very exciting transaction for us. We are receiving a very strong support from
our shareholders and our partners and this really takes Afren to the next
level. Thanks for your support.

===

Blacksash
Commerciability of the oil View parent message
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 11 times.
Message
Siphy,

All the answers are in the RNS's go to the news tab click open and DYOR. Targeting 5000 bopd and ramping up to 10 000 bopd from SH-1 andSH-3 with oil already sold into the local market (commercial otherwise no buggerr would buy it) But I suspect you know that already..........

==

Zengas advfn....

Jack Diamonds
9UP


The Zengas post highlights why a Company's current Share Price WOULD NOT be used to value Back In Rights. It would be insane, although some folks try to do the calculations and appear to make them work!!

Even GKP know the Share Price does not reflect the asset value.

http://www.gulfkeystone.com/Finance-faqs.aspx

"How do you explain Gulf Keystone’s share price fluctuations?

As a general rule, it is Gulf Keystone’s policy not to comment on changes in the share price. Changes in the share price reflect trading decisions by individuals and/ or institutions of which the Company is not aware. Therefore, it would be speculation by the Company to comment on the reason for a change(s) in the share price. We would note, however, that the Company always updates the market regarding price sensitive information in line with the AIM Rules for Companies."

The KRG arn't stupid to apply such maths. Even if they did why choose GKP's Share Price. MOL are also listed, so why not do the calculations based on their Share price?

IMO GKP's current Share Price has nothing to do with assessing the value of the BiRs, as by default it can't attribute anywhere near fair value. It includes cash on the balance Sheet, it includes a discount for legal claim and polictics but it doesn't include the Ops news yet to be released.

I suppose it gives folks something to do, while we wait..............

Jack

===

ZENGAS - 1 Aug'11 - 20:16 - 100032 of 100035


GMP Securities Europe coverage on Petroceltic entry into Kurdistan.

Page 4

Using a valuation of $5.42 per barrel for Kurdistan oil. (one for you Dalesman)

Also appears to be assuming $25m per 16% net stake in each virgin block ($50m). $10m net on seismic and $12m net on 2 wells ($30m each).


http://www.petroceltic.ie/investor-centre/~/media/Files/P/Petroceltic/Annual%20Reports/analyst-pdf/July%20GMP.pdf

For anyone who missed it - see my post '99816' lat night and what i think our other block interests are worth based on the latest Petroceltic/HESS entry costs.

ZENGAS - 1 Aug'11 - 20:19 - 100034 of 100035


ZENGAS - 31 Jul'11 - 23:49 - 99816 of 100032 edit


Looking at some of the latest PSC deals with Hess/Petroceltic.

GKP Working interest = 80% Shaikan and 20% Akri-Bijeel.
Gulf Keystone's expected total expenditure for these two blocks over the next three years, given its current interests, is approximately US$53 million, the majority of which is expected to be incurred over the next six months. (MOLs expenditure on reverse working interests ie 80% Akri-Bijeel and Shaikan would be circa $53m).

Petroceltic (PCI) Working interest = 20% Dinarta and 20% Shakrok - "Each PSC has an initial 3 year exploration period during which the joint venture plans to acquire 2D seismic and drill a minimum of one exploration well. Based on the anticipated work programmes, Petroceltic's total financial commitment during the first licence period is expected to be approximately $72 million, the majority of which will be incurred over the next 6 months. These amounts are inclusive of all signature and capacity building bonuses payable to the KRG under the terms of the PSC's".

Operations on either blocks are not due to commence until 2012 as stated in PCIs July 2011 presentation.

First phase 500 km 2D seismic and 1 well on Dinarta and 250 km 2D seismic and 1 well on Shakrok.

GKPs Gross '3D' seismic acquisition for Shaikan (80% ) and sheik-adi (40% during time of Etamic still having 40% interest) = $22m or $10m net to GKP.

If you allowed a gross $30m for seismic and 2 x $40m wells on the 2 PCI blocks then the gross costs may be around $110m - then 20% net to PCI would be around $22m - (this might be too high of an allowance).

PCI say the majority of their $72m entry costs for 20% of 2 blocks with the majority being spent within 6 months so if we take off the $22m, then PCI must have paid around $50m minimum for its 20% working interest or 20%x80%= 16% 'net' interest in both blocks.

Another angle is Hess's 80% working interest (80%*80%=64% net) cost would be pro-rata $288m + add PCI $72m = $360m less $110m work programme costs = $250m or roughly $125m minimum per block.

Could we roughly assume that an average 'new' 16% net block participation has cost at least $25m (without seismic).

Therefore Berbahr at 40% net to GKP must be worth at least $62.5m - but then again, these are covered and interpreted by seismic - Hess/Petroceltics blocks are not. Considering BerBahr has seismic and immediately adjacent/possibly linked to a discovery, it should be worth twice that - ie around $125m to GKP. Sheik-Adi at 80% net to GKP could have been worth around $250m if we were to consider it without a well already susbtantially drilled never mind the significant amount of oil encountered in many layers.

Therefore imo BerBahr and Sheik-Adi at a combined $375m to GKP would pre drill be worth around 30p per share. 3rd Party Back-in-Right costs on Akri-Bijeel/Shaikan discoveries must be around $60m which still gives a further 5p from 3rd parties coming in = a total of 35p in underlying hidden value. Last weeks deals imo prove this.

In theory we are valuing Shaikan/Bijeel discoveries at just 105p to GKP while excluding news on well results from Bechme and Sheik-Adi (S-A oil already found in many layers and an 80% net share). If we were add on full remaining back costs after 3rd party back in rights ($340m min) = 26p because we or any buyer will get those costs back - that means the we are only allowing approx 79p in total to GKP for Shaikan and Bijeel which is ridiculously cheap.

We are not even allowing subject to success, any upside from Bechme, Sheik-Adi or the deeper potential in Shaikan - all of which must be close to imminent results/news.



===

Tue 22:28
Dalesman on Form on Advfn !!

SpikeyDT
17UP

dalesman - 2 Aug'11 - 22:01 - 100304 of 100308
http://www.advfn.com/cmn/fbb/thread.php3?id=21783165&from=100298


GMP is assigning $5.2/barrel to PCI Kurdy barrels (page 4). Pumping that into the NAV gives £8.70 for Shaikan using 5 billion reserves.

Plenty of upside!

More than anything we need contract ratification followed by an offer.


The CURRENT talks in Baghdad are aimed at establishing an oil and gas law applicable to all of Iraq.

Any evidence that a solution may be near?

Yes in spades! The spurt in the take up of KRG PSC contracts speaks volumes for the need to complete the paperwork before something happens.

In this case a formalisation of the Iraqi contracts seems to be the prime driver but I also think that these companies have been given further information by the KRG that prompted the rush to sign up.

What could entice Hesse, Repsol etc to take on a PSC contract right now - given that Repsol has said they have been looking at Kurdy contracts for over a year?

In my opinion assurances have already been made by the KRG that existing contracts will be ratified but future contracts will fall under the new O&G law.

So contract ratification may not be far off - can an offer be far behind?


Dalesman
======

Tue, Aug 02/ 2011 23:32
Keeping Promises....

scaramouche
21UP

While I agree with opti’s trust in TK and her confidence that the Board of Directors will deliver, I also feel that there are some lessons to be learned from the continued decline in the SP.

• COMMUNICATION & KEEPING PROMISES

GKP really needs to ensure that they keep their shareholders regularly updated, not allowing a 7 week gap to develop without any operational news at all.

After all, GKP has a plethora of News that SHOULD have come out BY THE END OF JULY:

1. Exports – unofficially, they started in about mid-June, but we really need official confirmation from GKP of when they started, how much they have exported to date, and current production levels.

2. 3D seismics – completed for Shaikan and Sheikh Adi by the end of January 2011, and interpretation of the data promised by the end of July. This information could be ‘transformational’, and is urgently required.

3. Sheikh Adi update – according to the schedule in the AGM presentation SA-1 was due to complete by the end of June, with SH-5 to be spudded shortly afterwards. An update in July was surely warranted. Yet, no update, no official ‘oil discovery’ announcement, and certainly no hint of any OIP figures except for an article in Upstream online!

4. Ryder Scott report part 2! On 4 July 2011, Angus McPhail of Investec, the most recent broker to initiate coverage of GKP, said this was “expected shortly”. But 4 weeks later, it has yet to materialise. A clear time-frame for when this keenly-anticipated report will become available is now surely required.

5. BIR’s – while this is of course the province of the KRG, perhaps the mention at the AGM of KNOC knocking on the door was unwise, especially if recent talk about competition for them (perhaps involving Sinopec) is true. Mentioning the BIR’s and KNOC has undoubtedly heightened expectation, and therefore increased the disappointment when the news was not forthcoming. Some kind of clarification is required.

6. Shaikan-2, Bekhme-1 and other drilling updates. With Shaikan the Jewel in GKP’s crown, and Bekhme the jewel in MOL’s, the appetite has been well and truly whetted for these. Now it needs to be satisfied!

*** In short, if GKP PROMISES something, they really ought to deliver ***


• ALL SHAREHOLDERS MATTER.

GKP would do well to remember that, while there are a few fortunate investors here who timed their entry into GKP perfectly and are still sitting on many multiples of their original investment, there are also many others who have not been quite so lucky and bought at much higher prices.

Some of those people may be struggling to come to terms with the massive disparity between GKP’s present NAV and the current share price, sitting on substantial losses, and wondering precisely when the NEWS will come that will help to tackle this.

They need a few carrots to be dangled, or some may lose patience and move on... in which case, the SP will continue to decline.

Fortunately, there is a vast amount of knowledge that is shared on this board. And thanks to many on here, there is I think at least a sound awareness that GKP’s current SP of 136p is less than 20% of the current NAV (based only on RNS's to date) and an appreciation that the politics, although moving slowly, is improving by the day.

There is also some recognition that, if the news that comes soon is pretty much what the subtle hints from GKP have indicated, the present SP could soon even be less than 10% of the soon-to-be- revised NAV.

But IMHO, I think the time has come - we need it straight from the horse’s mouth.

GLA, scaramouche

===

Evening all. here are some of my findings of the current under-performing share price.

I have labelled the points of interest from 1-6 so you can follow my line of thinking.

1 - This was where the initial support @ 127.5p was hit followed by a powerful 3 day move north towards resistance.

2 - You can see the SP shot up to 148p above resistance (143.5p) only to close the end of the trading session back below resistance. The following day the resistance was broke and the 3 subsequent trading days tested this now support before making way to point 3 @ 153p.

3 - 153p was hit but was sold off closing that session at 146p.

4 - Over the next 6 trading sessions the SP was sold off till it hit 135p where it bounced & over the next 4 trading sessions 153p was attacked once again which did not quite make it and was again sold off indicating weakness. Note how the SP bounced off support from the break at point 2.

5 - 151.9p hit.

6 - As you will see where the support was met at point 1 & point 4 it also makes a higher high thus giving a new rising support. It was at point 6 where I was watching for a bounce validating this ''rising'' support but on the 01st of Aug the SP close piercing this support. This in itself indicated to me another test of support from point 2 will be tested at 133.5p +/-

http://screencast.com/t/Z4FsCAwSoo

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today the SP was sold off into the close, closing at the low of the day which again is a weak indicator. As odd as it sounds a successful test of the support at 133.5p bodes very well for future SP progress.

I have idea to date why the SP is languishing here & I also know there must be a severe amount of news flow but again for some reason is not forthcoming. I will keep my opinions to myself at this time but I am sure many share the same views.

In summary guys I am almost certain IMO of a major +ve SP movement soon but not to sure on how it will be initiated.

All this is in my opinion & to be used as interest only.

have a good night all.

Regards

Davy

===

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You are here: Home » Politics » National Politics » Southern oil provinces vie for autonomy
Southern oil provinces vie for autonomy
Then-Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani (R) speaks with China's energy giant CNOOC director Yang Hua as Turkey's TPAO director Mehmet Uysal listens on following the signing of an oil deal in Baghdad on May 17, 2010, while other members of the delegation look on. Buoyed by projected oil revenues and discontent with Baghdad, the provinces of Missan, Basra and Dhi Qar are seriously contemplating forming a semi-autonomous federal region. (SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Then-Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani (R) speaks with China's energy giant CNOOC director Yang Hua as Turkey's TPAO director Mehmet Uysal listens on following the signing of an oil deal in Baghdad on May 17, 2010, while other members of the delegation look on. Buoyed by projected oil revenues and discontent with Baghdad, the provinces of Missan, Basra and Dhi Qar are seriously contemplating forming a semi-autonomous federal region. (SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)
By Jewdat al-Sai'di, Ali Abu Iraq, Ben Van Heuvelen and Staff of Iraq Oil Report
Published August 3, 2011

Leaders in the oil-rich provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar and Missan are trying to shift power from the central government to the provinces, proposing to combine into a new southern region modeled after the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the north.

Over the past month and a half, provincial leaders have increasingly voiced dissatisfaction with Baghdad over issues including oil development, electricity distribution, unemployment, and the continuing presence of U.S. troops. Some have proposed re...



===

'Back Door' Newsflow

Dragon_Ventures
17UP

We have had the GKP notified press release re. Adnan Samarrai and the summary of his career to date containing the statement "GKP estimate Shaikan’s proven reserves are at least 5 billion barrels making it the largest oil find in recent years and positioning the company as a likely takeover target".

http://www.gulfkeystone.com/uploads/upstream-17june2011.pdf

Also the recent Investors Chronicle GKP website link- "However, given the scale of its discoveries, it’s difficult to conceive that Gulf Keystone will ultimately develop them through to full-scale production. Shaikan alone would probably require hundreds of wells to exploit, which makes it more the territory of a national oil company. A likely scenario would be a takeover by a resource-hungry national oil Company such as China’s Sinopec. . . . "

http://www.gulfkeystone.com/uploads/investorschronicle-22july2011.pdf

Today we have:
"…Thamer Ghadhban, the top energy adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Ghadhban told a meeting in London this month that he believed the “Dispute will be solved amicably".
"UK based GKP is among the most active explorers, pressing ahead with an aggressive drilling campaign to prove up oil reserves at the Shaikan block, which may have a reserve base OF AT LEAST 5 Billion barrels".

http://www.gulfkeystone.com/uploads/upstream29july2011.pdf

Are we being fed information via the back door whilst the RNS machine is out of working order?

Dragon_Ventures


===

http://www.thegulfonline.com/Articles.aspx?ArtID=3749

Opportunity knocks
The Gulf 20:52:40 03 Aug. 2011

Kurdistan has succeeded in attracting investment, but the region also recognises that it needs to implement reforms

In recent years international oil and gas companies have flocked to the Kurdistan region of Iraq to participate in the booming oil market, which has blossomed in the wake of several notable discoveries.

Oil exploration is a costly and risky business - warranted only when there is a strike - and, as small oil players in the region have found, striking big is common there. Since August 2007, the regional government has signed over 20 Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with dozens of international oil and gas exploration and production companies, many of which have announced sizeable discoveries.

British companies are leading the march in the Kurdistan Region. Gulf Keystone Petroleum –a small oil and gas exploration company listed on the London Alternative Investment Market (AIM) – has unearthed what could be one of the largest discoveries in the world; its Shaikan discovery may hold over 10 billion barrels of oil, a figure which is likely to increase significantly according to recent announcements. Moreover, Heritage Oil, another British exploration firm, has also announced Iraq’s largest gas discovery, an area that could contain over 12 trillion cubic feet (TCF).

But it’s not just the oil and gas sector that is seeing unprecedented growth. Over the past four years, the Kurdistan Board of Investment, a government entity overseeing investment projects in the region, has attracted over $17 billion in various sectors, particularly in industrial projects and housing. The Board of Investment supervises almost $4 billion worth of capital injected into the region by foreign investments, including over $1.5 billion by Kuwaiti businesses.

The Kurdistan Region has demonstrated that it offers rich opportunities for investors, but it is also investing in the future by supporting projects that encourage entrepreneurship and prepares the local population for the next generation. As part of this scheme, the regional government has decided to extend a $100 million scholarship programme this year by sending hundreds of students from our universities to some of the world’s most reputable institutions. This, amongst other programmes, illustrates our government’s belief in the rich talent our region possesses and that they hold the key to our long-term future. In fact, businesses operating in the country, including British Petroleum (BP), are now beginning to sponsor scholarship programmes for Iraqi students.

However despite the vast investments, our region is not immune from shortcomings, and recent protests illustrate the need for significant reforms to be conducted. The president of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, is spearheading an effort to implement meaningful reforms, and we have witnessed some positive reactions to his reform plans – supported by the parliament and regional government. Collectively, the authorities in the region recognise that transparency and accountability will play a crucial role in attracting continued investment and building trust within the international community, to ensure meaningful prosperity. Furthermore, we have announced early provincial elections – scheduled to take place this September.

Our experience and relationship with Turkey has taken a tremendous turn; a few years ago Turkey massed hundreds of thousands of troops on the Kurdish border ready to conduct an incursion into the Kurdistan Region. Today, of Turkey’s $7.5 billion worth of investment into Iraq, over half is directly to the Kurdistan Region – a testament of the opportunities it has to offer. This has been the key to enhancing our ties with Turkey and has led to senior Turkish officials visiting our region, including an unprecedented visit by the prime minister, Recep Erdogan in March this year.

Now is the time for the Gulf to set a key example by encouraging more business and relations with the Kurdistan Region, and to take advantage of our attractive investment law and exceptional opportunities. An investment into the Kurdistan Region today means an investment into the future of a promising region.

Aziz Ahmed is an employee with the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

==


By Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has qualified 41 companies to participate in its 4th energy bidding round, which is scheduled to take place in late January, Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of the oil ministry's contracts and licensing directorate, told Reuters on Sunday.

The 4th bidding round for 12 new exploration blocs is expected to add 29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10 billion barrels of oil to Iraqi reserves from the auction.

"We eventually qualified 41 companies," Ameedi said.

OPEC member Iraq has already signed a series of deals with oil majors to develop its largest oil-fields and is seeking to boost its production as the country pulls back from years of war and economic sanctions.

Ameedi said the next step would be inviting the 41 companies to a roadshow on Sept 11 in Amman, Jordan and presenting a data package with initial tender protocol to companies on Sept 12.

Iraq was scheduled to make an announcement of pre-qualified companies on June 30, but some issues relating to company documentation forced further delay.

"Some companies posted required documentation to places like Iran by mistake and others asked for more time to sort out bank issues, so we had to delay announcement," Amedi said.

Iraq's oil ministry also excluded companies which have contracts with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from the qualification process, Amedi said.

The Shi'ite-led Iraqi government is embroiled in a protracted dispute with ethnic Kurds in the semi-autonomous northern part of the country over land and the country's vast oil wealth. Iraq deems production-sharing contracts signed by the Kurds to be illegal.

Companies qualified range from oil majors, including BP Plc, ExxonMobil and Italy's ENI, to state-run firms like Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp.

The announcement of the qualifications may also lead to a clash with an Iraqi parliament energy panel chief who said in May he wanted the bidding delayed until lawmakers approve a long-stalled new hydrocarbons law.

The hydrocarbons law is aimed at resolving outstanding disputes with the Kurdish region among other issues and is seen as key to guaranteeing more legal security for investors.

This 4th bidding round will focus mainly on gas exploration. Iraq auctioned three major natural gas fields to foreign firms last October.

Iraq needs to harness gas energy to generate electricity an end chronic power blackouts that still plague the country almost eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Mike Nesbit)


======


Fourth bid round companies announced





By Staff
Published August 9, 2011




BAGHDAD - The Ministry of Oil published the names of 41 companies pre-qualified to bid for oil and gas exploration blocks in Iraq’s fourth licensing round.

The list includes the American firm Hess, which had previously been blacklisted by the ministry for signing a contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Ministry officials did not comment on its apparent change in posture, though the inclusion of Hess could be one sign of thawing relations between Baghdad and the KRG.
Or there was a timing overlap of the KRG's announcement and Baghdad's review of bidding round applications.


The ministry also announced it will host a one-day road show for the pre-qualified companies in Amman on Sept. 11.

At the road show “there will be an explanation of the draft contract in general, about the data package, other technical information about the blocks, and other technical issues,” said Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedi, the director general of the ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate.

The ministry has pressed ahead with plans to hold the licensing round on Jan. 25 or 26, despite resistance from parliamentarians who are calling for a moratorium on new oil and gas deals until new hydrocarbon legislation can be passed.

The list of qualified companies includes the world’s super-majors and national oil companies from several countries.

In assessing firms, the ministry selected for financial strength. Companies were graded on a weighted scale that assigned numerical scores across five criteria: technical, financial, legal, training, and health, safety, and environment. A company’s “financial” score was worth more than the other categories combined.

As a result, smaller independent firms generally did not qualify.


“Our application was initially well received, but the ultimate criteria were heavily weighted towards large company strengths such as financial depth, rather than technical and practical experience working on the ground in Iraq,” said David Horgan, the managing director of Petrel Resources PLC, a junior oil company focused on Iraq.


According to a statement from the Ministry of Oil, the pre-qualified companies are:

1. ATPECO (Japan)
2. Bashneft (Russia)
3. BP (UK)
4. Chevron (US)
5. CNOOC (China)
6. CNPC (China)
7. Edison (Italy)
8. Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (Egypt)
9. Eni Iraq (Italy)
10. ExxonMobil (US)
11. Gazprom (Russia)
12. Hess (US)
13. INA-Industrja Nafte d.d. (Croatia)
14. Inpex (Japan)
15. ITOCHU (Japan)
16. Japex (Japan)
17. JOGMEC (Japan)
18. JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corp. (Japan)
19. Kogas (Korea)
20. Kuwait Energy (Kuwait)
21. Lukoil (Russia)
22. Mitsubishi (Japan)
23. Mitsui Oil (Japan)
24. Mubadala Oil (UAE)
25. Occidental (US)
26. OJSC Oil Company Rosneft (Russia)
27. OJSC TNK-BP Holding (Russia)
28. ONGC Videsh Ltd. (India)
29. Pakistan Petroleum (Pakistan)
30. Petro Vietnam E&P (Vietnam)
31. PetroChina (China)
32. Petronas (Malaysia)
33. Premier Oil (UK)
34. PT Pertamina (Indonesia)
35. PTTEP Int. Holding Co. Ltd. (Thailand)
36. Shell (Netherlands)
37. Sonangol (Angola)
38. Statoil (Norway)
39. Sumitomo Corp. (Japan)
40. Total (France)
41. TPAO (Turkey)

=======================


Reuters
Cheaper oil may be last best stimulus

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.)

By Christopher Swann and Ian Campbell
NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Falling crude prices are the silver lining to the market's black clouds. While governments lack economic ammo, one estimate says each cent off gas adds $1 billion to U.S. pockets alone. OPEC is unlikely to intervene any time soon, meaning lower fuel costs could be the only economic booster for now.

Oil prices can be a potent stabilizer in volatile times -- dampening consumer spending power in a boom and buoying incomes when times are tough. The contribution could be especially valuable now. Not only do the authorities in most nations lack an ability to provide further stimulus(Something causing or regarded as causing a response.
An agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a physiological or psychological activity or response.), many will be actively sapping((geology) Erosion along the base of a cliff by the wearing away of softer layers, thus removing the support for the upper mass which breaks off into large blocks and falls from the cliff face. Also known as undermining. ) demand through fiscal retrenchment.


The effect is particularly strong in the United States. If sustained, the fall in gas prices on the NYMEX exchange from the $3.46 a gallon at the end of April to $2.70 now will provide a $75 billion boost to the U.S. economy, according to Deutsche Bank.


Elsewhere, politicians will also be glad of the relief from exorbitant crude. Soaring commodities have pushed up prices around the world, especially in fast-growing emerging economies. Chinese inflation is up 6.5 percent. The likes of Brazil and India have raised interest rates steeply to rein in prices. Their growth has been affected.


If investor gloom over demand proves justified, oil could decline further. There will be the requisite mumbling( To utter indistinctly by lowering the voice or partially closing the mouth: mumbled an insincere apology.
To chew slowly or ineffectively without or as if without teeth.) of discontent from OPEC, which has already trimmed its outlook for how much oil the world desires. And the cartel, which controls about 40 percent of global production, will be tempted to cut output to stop prices falling too far.



Before that happens, though, oil has more room to fall. Even after extra government spending to placate( To allay, reduce the anger of, especially by making concessions; appease.) public opposition, oil kingpin Saudi Arabia can balance its budget with Brent at $80-85 a barrel, Deutsche Bank reckons. In addition, OPEC has not always been successful setting a floor. Cutting 4.2 million barrels of production a day a few years ago amid the financial crisis, for example, failed to tame oil.
With growth in rich nations so sluggish, oil at $80 would still be too high for comfort. But politicians and consumers will nevertheless be grateful for small mercies.

CONTEXT NEWS
-- Brent crude was trading at $104 in early New York trading on Aug. 9, rebounding only slightly after sharp falls the previous day. The intraday price fell below $100 on Aug. 8 for the first time since February. The recent peak was $127 in April.

((christopher.swann@thomsonreuters.com))
(Editing by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Martin Langfield)



====================================================================
Author carillion View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted Tuesday 22:22
Subject Iraq oil report
Votes for this Posting Voted UP 3 times.
Message

Contract for next auction in September






By Staff of Iraq Oil Report
Published August 16, 2011




BAGHDAD - Iraq has extended next month's "roadshow" for foreign oil companies planning to bid in the January bidding round to two days, offering pre-qualified firms the long-awaited model contract and selling data on the areas to be put up for auction.

The country is continuing its massive, fast-paced effort to sink billions of dollars of international oil company (IOC) dollars into producing, idle and undiscovered fields in the oil and gas sector. In late January, the 41 pre-qualified oil companies will bid on 12 exploration blocks.

This follows a bidding round last October of three natural gas fields and two bidding rounds in 2009 that led to 11 oil field development technical service contracts signed with some of the world's largest oil firms.

Iraq plans to increase oil production capacity from about 2.75 million barrels per day (bpd) to more than 13.5 million bpd in seven years.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Karim Luaibi told reporters at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner that the country is averaging 2.2 million bpd in oil exports, bringing in $48 billion so far this year.

"We expect the revenues will reach more than $80 billion by the end of the year," he said.


On Sept. 11, in Amman, Jordan, the ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD) "will explain the basic features of the draft of the (model) contracts" for the fourth bidding round, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday, attributed to PCLD director general Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedi.

At the first day of the roadshow, the statement said, pre-qualified oil firms will get an explanation of "the conditions of competition and the technical information for the exploration blocks." The companies will be able to discuss the terms with and ask questions of the ministry officials.

The next day, Sept. 12, the PCLD will distribute data packages on the blocks, "in addition to a preliminary tender document ready for sale to companies wishing to participate.

"Companies will be given a month and a half to review the contract and develop proposals and questions concerning the technical information, to be sent to the ministry in order to study them," the statement said.


In November, the PCLD will hold a workshop with companies that purchase data packages – and thus remain eligible to bid in the January auction – to discuss model contract terms. A final model contract will then be released.

The statement also clarified that the 41 companies pre-qualified to bid are in two categories: those that are eligible to have an operator role in a consortium bid proposal – or, even, bid alone -- and those that must be junior partners in a consortium led by a first-tier company. The statement did not disclose which of the pre-qualified firms are eligible for the lead role.


The previous bidding rounds for oil and gas fields that are either currently producing or have been discovered but are largely dormant included two main bidding criteria: a production plateau target the IOCs will reach and the remuneration fee the companies will be paid for each increased barrel of oil equivalent produced.

Technical Service Contracts were chosen as an alternative to the industry-preferred Production Sharing Contract, the former believed to better assist Iraq in retaining control over its reserves. Production Sharing Contracts are more common for higher risk environments – such as exploration blocks.

It's not clear how Iraq will translate the compensation aspects of the previous rounds' contracts to the fourth bidding round. Iraqi officials have said the model contract will be similar, and that the deals will not bind Iraq to actually producing from any fields discovered in the exploration.

IOCs have expressed concern that the contracts won't offer enough financial incentive. Critics of the ministry plan have called the exploration round unnecessary amidst the country's already ground-breaking production capacity increase plans.


Iraqi staff in Baghdad are anonymous for their security.
===


Shahristani delays Shell contract

WisdomSeeker
3UP

AK News

'Shell southern gas contract delayed further
22/08/2011 16:22

Baghdad, Aug. 22 (AKnews) - The Energy Commission announced today that it has decided to postpone the meeting its discuss the Shell gas contract until next week, further delaying the heavily overdue signing.

The Energy Commission, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, announced last Wednesday that today it would discuss the contract to develop and exploit the gas from Iraq’s southern oil fields.

The media director of the energy committee Faisal Abdullah told AKnews: "The Energy Commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani decided to postpone the meeting with Shell until next week in order for it to be completely studied and then it will submit the recommendations to the cabinet.

On July 12 Iraq singed the initial contract with Shell to develop Basra’s gas fields after originally signalling intent back in 2008. It is now just awaiting approval from the cabinet.

The realization of the contract will see Shell exploit the gas from the giant oil fields in Basra. Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna can produce 1.05 billion cubic feet of gas per day, but only 450 million cubic feet is currently exploited per day, with the rest flared off into the desert sky.

By Jaafar al-Wannan
RN\PS '

===


Author scaramouche View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted Saturday 00:39
Subject A few black gold-en nuggets...
Votes for this Posting Voted 96 times.
Message
Firstly, I should like to extend my sincere thanks to those who attended the two latest GKP presentations and fed back to us all what they had gleaned. Also, to Oilman63 many thanks for his selfless efforts to attend the Court case today at a moment’s notice and let us know what he found out. It is great that this BB has so many active participants who are willing to give up their time freely to assist their fellow investors. Thanks to you all.

I was out for much of today but have learned a great deal from many of the posts I read this evening.....

From what a number of people have said, it is apparent that Chris was not the best of speakers. But, to be fair, it does look as though GKP was trying its best to keep investors informed but had to send their second string contingent this time around. When I first went to one of these presentations it was Ewen ably backed by John G - This time around it was Chris Garrett with some support from Anastacia, I understand - I can therefore see why people might have been a bit disappointed, although I feel that any criticism is probably a tad unfair.

In reality, I suspect that this is much more an indication of the increasing demands now placed on the key members of the BoD than their failure to respect their shareholders. After all, if the latter was true, why would they bother holding these events at all?

I also feel that people should not be too hard on Chris G. specifically. It cannot have been easy presenting to hundreds of presently rather disappointed share holders (given the SP’s recent performance), and he did apparently reveal a few snippets of information which other more ‘polished’ performers amongst the BoD might not have given us.

And the slides themselves contain a number of possible 'black gold-en nuggets' which people may not have noticed. Indeed, by all accounts, CG's main problem was with reference to the financials, which is not really his territory. Imagine how you would feel presenting on a subject you were not entirely comfortable with!

So, what ‘nuggets’ have we learned in the last 2 days that we did not know before?

1) From Hawkflight, it appears that BEKHME-1 HAS REACHED TD and is now testing. The presentation is dated 12 and 13 October 2011, and refers to Bekhme as still drilling, so this has obviously recently moved on. As we know, MOL are not particularly forthcoming with their communications but, assuming this is true, it is excellent news. TK had announced timescales of 90-120 days from 16 September for the sale of AB to take place, so it should now definitely take full account of Bekhme!

2) From slide 7 in the presentation, it appears that the situation regarding Akri-Bijeel might also have changed. Suddenly, BAKRMAN-1 and AQRA-1 have appeared on the work programme, scheduled to start in November and December respectively - they weren’t there at all in the presentation dated 25 August, which was the last one to show this plan I believe.

Can we conclude that either MOL now see an urgent need to drill those prospects, or that GKP might even delay the sale of AB pending results from one or both of these?

3) 3dgie mentions a possible slip of the tongue by Chris G when referring to the “KNOC BIRs”. It could of course be exactly that - a slip of the tongue- but then again, we were talking about this possibility in May 2011 and TK also referred to it in the June AGM. The BIRs were supposed to have been awarded by the end of June 2011, since when it has all gone strangely quiet, so at least it appears that KNOC are still in the frame and discussions are ongoing.

4) Both Hawkflight and Lester say that Chris G confirmed “SH-5 WILL SPUD ANY DAY NOW”, whereas Ewan (in his Q&As with Proactive Investors just ahead of the presentations) simply said “we plan to spud Shaikan-5 appraisal well in 2011”. Ewen yet again seems to prefer to be very cautious.

5) Various posters have stated that the TD of 2100m specified by Vallares/Genel for BB-1 now appears to be just an initial plan, and it could actually go much deeper. This makes sense when you think that Bekhme-1 was originally planned to go to 3000m but has now presumably only just completed at around 5000m.

6) From Lester, we learn “I new NED to follow soon”. Ewen had simply advised Proactive in the Q&As “In September, we said that we were planning to appoint three additional high-calibre non-executive directors to the board. Earlier this month, we welcomed Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank as a new non-executive director and we look forward to strengthening the board further.”

So, we can expect another NED announcement soon, I think.

7) Ewen in the Proactive Q&As confirms that GKP “have already made several steps towards the move to the main market”. He offered no time-scales and simply mentioned the recent appointment of one NED and the $200 million fund-raising.

By contrast, several posters have mentioned that the recent speakers referred to a move to the main market expected in 2012. Sadly, we are none the wiser from GKP regarding what might be missing to prevent them from achieving a December 2011 listing. My guess is it is all to do with the present absence of a clearly defined revenue stream from production and exports, or perhaps that there is no guarantee that sufficient quota of NEDs will be in place in time. Hopefully, someone who attended one of the presentations might offer an explanation, as I feel this would be very worthwhile for us to understand.

All in all then, despite some disappointment expressed about the quality of the speaking, it seems to me that we have all learned quite a bit.

These days, presentations so often all a matter of 'style over substance' – for once, it appears that the reverse may be true!

AIMHO and please DYOR

GLA, scaramouche


=====

Author: GLA, scaramouche

Resolving the political impasse....
GKP.L
49
Both Najork and Hub make a number of very valid points.

On the one hand, it seems that Shahristani wastes very few opportunities to refer to the Kurdish contracts as illegal. Notably though, the contracts that he endorses in Southern Iraq are equally illegal (if not more so) since that were signed in the absence of any kind of Oil and Gas Law whatsoever in Iraq, whereas the Kurds do at least have an 'official' oil and gas law of their own!

But, whatever we may think, Shahristani's opinion clearly carries considerable weight in Iraq, and it seems that Maliki finds it well nigh impossible to rein him in.

On the other hand, as Hub says, more than 40 international companies have signed exploration contracts in Kurdistan. Several of those have found oil and will be expected to get paid 'as per contract' when they become producers. DNO, Genel and Addax/Sinopec are already getting paid, but it will become very interesting when the cost recovery period is over and the essential 'profit oil' becomes due to be paid.

The recent entry of Afren, Petroceltic, Hess, Repsol and Vallares,and just before them, Marathon and Murphy, are also clear indicators that many companies are prepared to invest heavily in Kurdistan,even in the absence of Baghdad's willing endorsement.

In this context, the Vallares/Genel deal stands out as it involves a massive $2.1 billion of investment risk, whereas some of the other deals have involved purely buying into exploration licences, and the money at stake would have been far less. In addition to this, this, the overall investment involved (both direct and indirect) is colossal, given the number of foreign firms investing there, and expert legal opinion suggests that Shahristani's comments would ultimately hold no weight in an international court of law.

So, it is very clear that there are 2 distinct schools of thought as to how 'risky' the politics in Iraq/Kurdistan are. I remain an optimist, although it is good to hear well thought-out alternative views.

And how do the brokers view it? Goldman Sachs recently reduced the 'political risk' component to only 15% and gave GKP a target price of 390p. Certain other brokers, whether they admit it or not, are clearly assessing the political risk as much higher, with target prices around the 200p level. Even the most negative amongst 10 of them covering GKP view it as worth at least 40% more than the present SP!

Certainly, from the rapid rise in the SP in early February by around 20% in a matter of hours, when Maliki seemingly accepted the Kurdish contracts, followed by a similar fall when Shahristani contradicted him and said he had been misinterpreted, it is very apparent that this is one of the most important issues.. if not the most important!

It is therefore very easy for us to say that Mr S should retire gracefully or be forcibly removed as this would automatically resolve this particular headache. But, from the articles I have read, I don't believe that this would be so easy.

Maliki seems essentially to be caught between two stools. The Kurds helped him to get back into power, and Shahristani represents a block of about 30 seats in his own party, I believe. The loss of either's support would very likely see the collapse of Maliki's government... and we all know how long it took to be formed in the first place - more than 9 months.

Interestingly, I recently came across an article from the end of September 2011 which questions Shahristani's involvement in the widely publicised fraudulent electricty deals which led to the sacking of the Electricity Minister; and I believe that it highlights exactly the issue I am referring to. I don't recall the article being discussed previously, but it is well worth a read IMHO.

http://www.aknews.com/en/aknews/8/264344/

Extract: "As deputy prime minister, one of Shahristani’s main responsibilities is to oversee electricity. He, along with Maliki, scapegoated Minister Ani over the fake

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Wed 00:49
Getting to know the drills....
GKP.L
115
Long-termers may recall that in the period from April 2009 to August 2010, the drill bit was turning on only 2 wells, Shaikan-1 and Bijeel-1. GKP is now a completely different animal though, sufficiently funded for multiple drills across every one of its licences.

With this in mind, I think some of you may find the following summary quite revealing, taken from a mixture of RNS's and recent presentations...

SHAIKAN:
Shaikan-1 = spudded 27 Apr 2009/ target 3000m/completed 1 July 2010/ Final depth 2950m/ 14 months drill duration.
Shaikan-2 = spudded 1 Dec 2010/ target 5000m/ completed 18 Aug 2011 / Final depth 3300m/ 8.5 months drill duration.
Shaikan-3 = spudded 2 Sep 2010/ target 1100m /completed 5 Jan 2011/ Final depth 1157m/ 4 months drill duration.
Shaikan-4 = spudded 27 May 2011/ target 3760m/ at 2880m on 14 Sep 2011.
Shaikan-5 = spud expected October 2011.
Shaikan-6 = spud expected October/November 2011
Shaikan-7 = contingent well which may spud late 2011/early 2012.

SHEIKH ADI:
Sheikh Adi-1 = spudded 4 Aug 2010/ target 3850m/ completed 10 Aug 2011/ Final depth 3780m/ 12 months drill duration.
Sheikh Adi -2 = TBA (referred to in RNS for $200 million placing).

AKRI-BIJEEL:
Bijeel-1 = spudded 11 Dec 2009/ target 4300m/ completed 8 Nov 2010/ Final depth 3967m/ 8 months drill duration.
Bekhme-1 = spudded 21 Mar 2011/ target 3000m/ at 4800m on 14 Sep 2011.

BER BAHR:
Ber Bahr-1 = spudded 10 October 2011/ target 2100m/ just started.

The result of this is that, by my reckoning, we should have drilling news coming thick and fast over the next 3 months with OIP figures set to increase quite frequently. Here is a ‘taster’ of what I believe is in store...

• SHAIKAN-2: Final test results imminent (October/November), as now 2 months into testing.

• SHAIKAN-4: Reaching final depth should be imminent (October/November) after a total of 5 months drilling... with test results to follow 2 months later (around Christmas).

** Note: SH-4 was referred in $200 million placing RNS, which stated: “Building additional testing and production facilities for Shaikan-2 & 4 capable of producing 20,000 bopd, following successful well tests at Shaikan-2 and IN ANTICIPATION OF POSITIVE RESULTS FROM SHAIKAN-4 **.

•SHEIKH ADI-1: Further test results imminent (October/November), as now 2 months into testing.

• BEKHME-1: Reaching final depth should be imminent (October) as 7 months into the drill and now 2000m deeper than originally expected... with test results to follow 2/3 months later (around Christmas).

• BER BAHR-1: As this is such a shallow well, it would be expected to complete in January 2012 with test results in Q1 2012.

Now, doesn’t that whet the appetite a little, especially after the last few weeks have been rather less than palatable.

So, time for a few more drilling report RNS's please Todd, backed up by those long awaited 3D seismic results in November!

AIMHO and please DYOR.

GLA, scaramouche

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Author SpikeyDT View Profile | Add to favourites | Ignore
Date posted today 10:57
Subject Proactive-"Shaikan-type" play in Kurdistan,
Votes for this Posting Voted 7 times.
Message
Petroceltic chasing "Shaikan-type" play in Kurdistan, says chief executive
10:50 am by Jamie Ashcroft
http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/34913/petroceltic-chasing-shaikan-type-play-in-kurdistan-says-chief-executive-34913.html


Petoceltic's new Kurdistan acreage is just a few kilometres from Gulf Keystone's major Shaikan oil discovery
Petroceltic (LON:PCI) chief executive Brian O’Cathain said the company was “very fortunate” to grab its highly prospective acreage in Kurdistan.

And he reckons the door has now slammed shut on smaller firms attempting stake their claim in this emerging oil territory.
In late July the junior explorer teamed up with American firm Hess Corp (NYSE:HES) to snap up two licences in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq, which was recently described as “the last great oil frontier” by former BP boss Tony Hayward.
“We were delighted to pick up the two blocks,” O’Cathain said in an interview with Proactive Investors.
“They are excellent blocks with five anticlines – three on one and two on the other – any one of which could potentially contain in excess of 1 billion barrels of oil in place.
“It is the same petroleum system and target horizon as in the adjacent Gulf Keystone’s Shaikan block.
“It is the Shaikan type play that we are chasing, particularly in the Triassic which has been proved up by Gulf Keystone, and other Operators in the area.”
“We are only a few kilometres away from Shaikan so we are very optimistic.”
He added: “The Kurdistan assets have the potential to be absolutely huge for Petroceltic, even though our equity in the projects is relatively modest at 20 per cent.
“The fact that we have 20 per cent of what could potentially be 4 or 5 major discoveries is very significant.
“We are very excited about it and we are delighted to have acquired these assets just before the door effectively closed for smaller companies.”
A wave of similar deals followed Petroceltic’s move into Kurdistan, though the investments were being made by larger explorers. Murphy, Marathon, Hess, TAQA, Repsol, and Maersk are now all involved in the area.


And Vallares’ £3 billion merger with Turkish firm Genel give us a hint of things to come as this particular niche in the oil sector consolidates.
“I don’t think there’ll many more small companies getting the chance to enter Kurdistan now,” O’Cathain said.
“I think any future activity will revolve around consolidation, rather than new entrants.”
Petroceltic’s initial work in Kurdistan will involve seismic exploration. Then in early 2013 it plans to follow this by drilling at least two major exploration wells.
While it may seem some way off, O’Cathain and his team are by no means sitting on their hands until then.
On the contrary, Petroceltic has a very busy few months ahead of it in Algeria where it is developing the Ain Tisila gas field – the group’s flagship asset which is quickly approaching ‘world class’ proportions.
O’Cathain said: “Ain Tsila is on track now to become a world class resource. It is a very large discovery and we are delighted to be associated with it,” O’Cathain.
Indeed a farm-out deal with ENEL – Europe’s second largest utility company – was a telling endorsement of the project’s potential.
The deal to sell an18.375 per cent stake in the Isarene licence, which hosts Ain Tsila, for at least US$101.75 million (including back costs) was initially struck in April this year and Petroceltic is now awaiting its first payday under the agreement.
“We are expecting the ENEL deal to close in the next four weeks,” O’Cathain explained.
“At that point we’ll have around US$100 million in receivable (cash) due to us from ENEL, hopefully by the end of this year. We’ll also have another payout from ENEL next year, how much will depend on the size of the resource that’s proved up.
“That figure could be anything from US$30 to US$75 million depending on the level of reserves.”

On the ground Petroceltic continues to make good progress with the appraisal of the Ain Tsila gas discovery, which is currently estimated to contain around 10 trillion cubic feet of gas in place (mid case, in house estimate).
Notably the most recent operations have thrown up some of the best results on the field to date, with the highlight being the AT-8 well.

“AT-8 was a fantastic result, an absolutely stunning well. It gave us a great test result,with 38.6 million cubic feet (of gas) per day flowing from the well. If it had been completed as a development well it could done in excess of 50 million cubic feet a day, which is a great amount to get out of a single well.”
“In terms in energy (or oil) equivalent it did very well, it works out at around 8,000 barrels a day. That is a fantastic rate for an Ordovician gaswell in Algeria.”
Following on from AT-8, work continues on the AT-7 and 9 wells. The later is now pretty much at target depth in the horizontal section, according to O’Cathain.
The well is now being prepared for logging and subsequently testing operation. Meanwhile AT-7 is still being tested. O’Cathain emphasised that the AT-7 and 9 results are expected in the near future.
All this testing will help inform the final discovery report for Ain Tsila, which is on track and is expected to be completed by January. After that O’Cathain expects the partners will also complete a new competent persons report by the end of the first half of 2012.
Petroceltic still has a 56 per cent stake in Isarene, but O’Cathain is not against the idea of selling more project equity when the time is right.
“A further farm-out is something we are giving active consideration to at the moment.
“With the permission of Sonatrach, with have been having some discussions with a number of new possible partners, but there’s nothing formal yet.”
Closing the ENEL farm-out is the most obvious and immediate catalysts for stock as the proceeds will help fund Petroceltic’s current commitments and it will also open up the possibility of further additions to the group’s exciting portfolio.


Indeed O’Cathain told us that early talks have already taken place. “We have some new venture activity which is dependent on the closing of the ENEL deal, once that closes we’ll hopefully be announcing these deals,” he said.
“We looking at both new territories as well as existing ones. At the moment it’s hard to say. Nothing is ever done, until it’s done. We haven’t concluded any deals yet.
“Some of the things we are looking at, obviously we’re not currently in a position to make any capital commitments on just yet, until we’ve closed the ENEL deal. But when that’s done we’ll have the firepower to take on new deals, so we hope to add to the portfolio in the not too distant future.


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