Genel confident on Iraqi Kurdistan oil payments despite tensions

In August, Genel and fellow oil producer DNO from Norway struck deals with the KRG to clear outstanding debt and restructure oil export payments. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Genel confident on Iraqi Kurdistan oil payments despite tensions

Genel Energy said it was confident the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq will continue meeting oil export payments despite tensions with the central government following the region’s independence referendum last month.
Genel, one of a handful of foreign oil producers in Iraqi Kurdistan, has seen its share price drop nearly a quarter since the September 25 vote for Kurdish independence from Iraq, which the central government and western powers have opposed.
Iraqi forces have since taken control of some of Kurdistan’s biggest oilfields and operations were interrupted for the first time on Wednesday when oil exports through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey more than halved.
However, Genel said on Thursday its own operations were continuing as normal and that it had not increased security at its sites.
“Our operations continue as usual, staff rotations continue, spare parts are coming in when needed. It’s very much business as usual,” Esa Ikaheimonen, Genel’s newly appointed chief financial officer, told Reuters.
He declined to comment on the status of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.
Ikaheimonen said he was confident the KRG would continue meeting payments for oil exports. The payments are Genel’s main source of revenue for oil it produces at the Taq Taq and Tawke oilfields.
In August, Genel and fellow oil producer DNO from Norway struck deals with the KRG to clear outstanding debt and restructure oil export payments.
The companies have since received the first payments under the new structure.
“They’ve (been making payments) flawlessly for two years now and in addition to that they’ve also been extremely cooperative in finding solutions for the settling of problems,” he said.
“That gives us quite a lot of confidence that the desire is there and the commitment is there.”
A slight rise in oil prices, the KRG payments and ongoing revenue from production helped Genel to increase cashflow in the third quarter with unrestricted cash balances at $268 million at the end of September, up from $246 million three months earlier, the company said in a trading update published on Thursday.
This also enabled it to reduce net debt by 13 percent over the quarter to $138 million.
Average output stood at 33,810 barrels per day (bpd) in the quarter, compared with an average of 37,100 bpd in the first half of the year.
Shares in Genel were up 2 percent at 0758 GMT.
“Macro events are likely to remain the major driver of the stock in the near-term,” said analysts at Numis.


Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

Updated 17 February 2019
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Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

  • Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion previously
  • Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption

DUBAI: Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East went down 15.3 percent to $6.62 billion in 2018 from $7.81 billion a year earlier, latest government data shows.
Lower crude prices, which affected most OFW host countries in the region, the job nationalization schemes of Gulf states and a deployment ban last year of household service workers to Kuwait were the primary reasons for the decline, a reversal from the 3.4 percent remittance growth recorded in 2017.
A government study has noted that Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination for OFWs, with more than a quarter of Filipinos being deployed there at any given time, together with the United Arab Emirates (15.3 percent), Kuwait (6.7 percent) and Qatar (5.5 percent).
Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion a year before; down 19.9 percent to $2.03 billion in the UAE from $2.54 billion in 2017; 14.5 percent lower in Kuwait to $689.61 million from $806.48 million and 9.2 percent down in Qatar to $1 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine government issued a deployment ban for Kuwait early last year, and lasted for five months, after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
OFW remittances from Oman, which implemented a job nationalization program like that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, dove 33.8 percent to $228.74 million in 2018 from $345.41 million a year before. In Bahrain, cash sent by Filipinos rose 2.2 percent to $234.14 million last year from $229.02 million previously.
Meanwhile, overall OFW remittances grew 3 percent year-on-year to $32.2 billion, the highest annual level to date.
“The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year,” the Philippine central monetary authority said.
Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption and in 2018 accounted for 9.7 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.