Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Oil production at Iraqi Kurdistan's largest-producing oilfield is set to rise to as much as 140,000 b/d by the end of the month
Oil production at Iraqi Kurdistan's largest-producing field is set to rise to as much as 140,000 b/d by the end of August despite the Islamic State’s advances into the region, the General Manager of Taq Taq Operating Company (TTOPCO), Onder Tekeli, said on 15 August.
Taq Taq Oil Field is jointly owned by the KRG (20%) and TTOPCO (80%) which is a joint venture between the Anglo-Turkish Genel Energy (55%) and Sinopec’s Addax Petroleum (45%) subsidiary. Tekeli stated "We have a target to ramp up production towards 140,000 b/d and I believe we would achieve this by the end of the month."
Radical Sunni militants of the Islamic State last week advanced to within a half hour's drive of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region and a hub for IOCs, before U.S. military air strikes thwarted their advance.
Several IOCs, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, operating in the previously stable Kurdish controlled region have evacuated all non-essential staff while other smaller producers, such as Afren and Taqa, have suspended operations, as reported here on 11 August.
In spite of KRG-based IOCs seeing their shares fluctuate, in a manner reflecting the Kurdish forces as they retreat and regain ground, there has been little impact on the overall oil output of the region. According to company estimates, production has only been cut by 5,000 b/d, although fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Islamic State fighters in the environs of Erbil have kept firms and investors on edge.
Currently unaffected by the Islamic State’s advances, however, Tekeli insists that morale at the Taq Taq oil field, 40km (25 miles) southeast of Erbil, remains high: "The worries started about the IS (Islamic State) fighters when they attacked the Makhmour camp. But we have not stopped working and our local staffers have expressed their commitment to us.” Makhmour to the southwest of Erbil was the closes the fighting got to the capital last week.
Ozan Guler, production superintendent, stated that in order to increase Taq Taq oil field production beyond 140,000 bpd TTOPCO will set up three well-site production facilities to boost output: "We already have the potential to boost production up to 140,000 b/dd in our wells ... We will be setting up these new facilities whose start-up period is about 10 days."
Genel Energy, which operates the Taq Taq and Tawke oilfields in Kurdistan, has said it has evacuated non-core personnel from fields that are not producing oil. Last week it said that production was still ongoing at the two fields and it was averaging a combined 230,000 b/d.
Genel's shares fell by almost a quarter in early August as Islamic State forces advanced towards Erbil, but have since rebounded by around 12%.
At the end of trading, 15 August, they were up almost 2% at £824 (US$1,378.10). Although the rebound has slowed, Genel's shares are currently up 0.5% at £829.50 (US$1386.97).
(£1 = US$1.67).
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