Russia’s Rosneft clinches gas pipeline deal with Iraq’s Kurdistan

Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly listed oil company by production, clinched gas pipeline deal with Iraq’s Kurdistan. (Reuters)
Updated 18 September 2017
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Russia’s Rosneft clinches gas pipeline deal with Iraq’s Kurdistan

LONDON: Russian oil major Rosneft will invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s Kurdistan, expanding its commitment to the region ahead of its independence vote to help it become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe.
Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently from the central government in Baghdad since 2014 and Kremlin-controlled Rosneft joined the list of buyers this year, lending the semi-autonomous region hundreds of millions of dollars in loans guaranteed by future oil sales.
Now Rosneft is widening its investments to gas by agreeing to fund a natural gas pipeline in Kurdistan, Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Monday. Two sources close to the deal said the investments would amount to more than $1 billion.
Kurdistan is holding an independence vote on Sept. 25 as it seeks to part ways from Baghdad after years of disputes over budget revenues and the sharing of oil exports.
Erbil, the seat of the KRG in northern Iraq, needs money to fund the fight against Islamic state and a budget crisis caused by low oil prices.
Kurdistan has relied on oil pre-finance deals to improve its fiscal position but has struggled to develop its large gas reserves, which can require more investment to develop on a longer-term scale.
The arrival of Rosneft will speed up gas development, which has so far largely been driven by mid-sized companies.
For Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly listed oil company by production, the deal is a major boost to its international gas ambitions. Rosneft has long sought to challenge Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, in supplying gas to Europe.
For Turkey, it means the arrival of new supplies for its energy-hungry economy and the potential to become a major center for gas supplies to Europe.
The pipeline’s capacity is expected to handle up to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas exports a year, in addition to supplying domestic users. Kurdistan sits on some of the largest untapped gas deposits on Europe’s doorstep.
The volumes that Rosneft wants to help Kurdistan supply to export markets are big — they represent 6 percent of total European gas demand and one-sixth of current gas export volumes by Russia — by far the largest supplier of gas to Europe.
The pipeline will be constructed in 2019 for Kurdish domestic use, with exports due to begin in 2020.
Rosneft has previously loaned money to Kurdistan guaranteed by future oil sales and has also agreed to help the region expand its pipeline infrastructure.
Kurdistan is seeking to boost oil exports to one million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this decade from the current 0.65 million bpd.


Saudi Arabia’s Maaden signs MoU with GE to discuss digital cooperation in mining sector

Updated 2 min 18 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Maaden signs MoU with GE to discuss digital cooperation in mining sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with General Electric (GE) on Thursday, which focused on exploring possible opportunities to support digital transformation in the industrial sector.
The two sides discussed opportunities for cooperation in advanced technical solutions that included the entire chain of Maaden’s mining operations, including activities at gold, copper, aluminum and phosphate sites.
The MoU includes utilizing GE’s technological expertise and modern applications in digital transformation, with Maaden to lead the company’s digital transformation programs.
The agreement is part of Maaden’s drive to partner with leading technology and digital solutions to leverage opportunities in technological innovation and the modern digital revolution, invest in leading technologies in its operations around the Kingdom, and enhance the company’s competitiveness as a major company in the mining sector both regionally and globally.
Maaden’s digital mining solutions will improve the company’s business by improving energy costs, enhancing reliability and efficiency of performance and productivity, while improving maintenance costs.
“The Kingdom is at the forefront of the digital transformation efforts in the industrial sector in the region with an ambitious vision. We are proud to support these ambitious visions and meet their goals,” said Darren Davis, Maaden Chief Executive Officer.
Davis stressed that a sustainable mining sector is one of the key pillars of the national economy, saying: “We are confident that our partnership with GE will be a qualitative leap toward achieving these goals and enhancing our competitiveness and sustainability through effective digital industrial solutions.”
“We are keen to build constructive partnerships with the industrial sector around the world to deliver innovative digital solutions that support operations.
“Major companies such as Maaden are of immense importance, and we recognize the impact of improved operations and enhancements,” said GE CEO Bill Roh, referring to its efficiency over other companies, and the Saudi economy as a whole.
“By collaborating to develop industry-specific and environment-friendly solutions in which Maaden manages its operations, we are moving toward achieving the desired digital transformation plans that we believe will deliver significant positive results,” added Roh.
The MoU aims to achieve the goals of Maaden, a pioneer in the Saudi mining sector, to accelerate the digital transformation of the Saudi mining sector, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Maaden is working to take advantage of digital and technological transformation strategies and maximize its impact on all the company’s activities and products.
The construction of the largest 450-km treated water pipeline from Taif to support the company’s mining operations in the region, as well as the creation of artificial lakes in Ras Al-Khair for recycling water for industrial uses, are among the most prominent projects that reflect the company’s commitment to sustainability and achieving solutions, in addition to innovation and sustained economic growth, creating a professional environment that enhances talent capabilities, and ensuring the best service for communities within their professional fields.