Genel Energy, the UK-based company with operations focused on Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, said its Kurdish production rose 2% year on year in the first half of 2021 and maintained its annual guidance despite some operational delays.
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Working interest output rose to 32,760 b/d in the first half of this year and full-year 2021 guidance is slightly higher than 2020's average output of 31,980 b/d, Genel said in an Aug. 3 statement. The 2% increase is thanks to the addition of a fourth producing field in Sarta, and increased output at Peshkabir, the company said.
"Capital investment made last year, despite the low oil price and over $150 million of deferred payments, has meant this period has benefitted from the addition of oil from Sarta and increased production from Peshkabir, with production having increased in line with guidance," CEO Bill Higgs said in the statement.
Genel has a 25% stake in the Tawke license, which has the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, operated by Norway's DNO.
Genel also has a 30% stake in Sarta, 44% in Taq Taq and 40% in Qara Dagh.
"If as expected this oil price strength is sustained through the year, it will reward our determination in the second half of 2021 to return to drilling activity as quickly as possible on the Tawke PSC and to take Sarta to first oil, despite the challenging operating conditions and uncertain oil price outlook at the time," Higgs said.
"Peshkabir is currently producing over 10,000 b/d more than its average production in 2020, and although Sarta production is currently relatively low, because of its early stage in PSC economics its barrels are valuable."
KRG approval delays
Genel's operations will face delays due to deferment of payments by the Kurdistan Regional Government and delays in approving developments.
"2021 capital expenditure guidance maintained at $150 million to $200 million, with the expectation that expenditure will now be around the middle of this range, following delays in approvals from the KRG and ongoing challenges relating to COVID-19 causing some planned activity to move to Q1 2022," the company said.
Besides delays in operational approvals, the KRG announced in May plans to slash payments owed for previous shortfalls to international oil producers operating in the region, citing the rise in benchmark Dated Brent prices as well as the fiscal strains caused by the pandemic.
"Our strong financial performance would have been stronger still without the KRG changing its payment schedule in May, which resulted in only five monthly payments being received," Higgs said.
"While this amendment, and the change to the receivable recovery payment method, is frustrating, it marks a deferral of payment rather than a removal, and we are in discussions with the KRG regarding the pace of Genel's receivable recovery payments."
Genel is particularly keen to develop the Bina Bawi, where it is the operator with a 100% working interest. However, the KRG is delaying approval for developing the assets, Higgs said.
"The company remains excited by the potential that Bina Bawi presents, with development of the asset having the ability to create material value for both Genel and the KRG," Higgs said. "It has, however, proved difficult to engage the KRG under the PSC in order to obtain the necessary approvals to proceed and every effort has been, and is being, made to obtain these approvals so that the project can be progressed in the near-term."