Dana and Keystone to boost oil and gas investment in Kurdistan

A flame rises in the Taq Taq oilfield in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Dana and Keystone to boost oil and gas investment in Kurdistan

  • Rising oil price improves payments and output
  • Iran sanctions drives oil price higher

LONDON: The Kurdistan region of Iraq is set to attract increased investment from international oil and gas companies as the improving price of crude boosts sentiment.
Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas said it would raise gas production after Pearl Petroleum, in which it has a 35 percent stake, received its latest payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Britain’s Gulf Keystone Petroleum also said it was resuming spending on the Shaikan oilfield in the region as it reported record profit for the first half.
The price of oil has been rising steadily as the US reintroduces sanctions against Iran, a major global crude suppliers. Crude prices have tripled since the 2016 trough of the market.
The prospect of a stronger price is encouraging oil and gas companies to revive spending in the sector.
“The resurgence in oil prices also played a role in the global investment community becoming increasingly positive on the prospects for the oil and gas sector,” Keystone said in a statement.
Dana Gas has been beset by payment problems in Kurdistan but has been encouraged to look at expanding operations after receiving its latest payments through Pearl Petroleum.
Dana said yesterday that Pearl Petroleum had received $21.6 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government in September — taking total collections to $211 million — or $74 million for Dana’s share of the proceeds. It means that all payments are now up to date.
“The continued arrival of these payments on time provides both us and our partners with the confidence to push forward aggressively with our expansion plans,” said Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward.
Gulf Keystone also said that it had continued to receive regular payments since Sept. 1, 2015.
Oil prices gained on Monday as US drilling slowed and the market remained watchful of the impact of Iranian sanctions on global crude supplies.
Brent crude oil jumped more than a dollar or 1.4 percent, to a high of $77.92, before paring gains to about $77.60 by early afternoon in London


Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

Updated 25 September 2018
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Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

DUBAI: New foreign direct investment in Bahrain more than doubled in the first nine months of 2018 as the kingdom marketed itself as a base for companies to access the region, especially Saudi Arabia, data released on Tuesday showed.
Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million from 76 firms, said the Economic Development Board, an investment promotion agency. That compared to $733 million in all of 2017, and was over five times the amount of FDI in 2015.
The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payments, which has been under pressure as the kingdom runs fiscal and current account deficits fueled by low oil prices.
The central bank’s net foreign reserves hit a one-year low of 499.4 million dinars ($1.32 billion) in July, although they rebounded to 734.2 million dinars last month.
Manufacturing and logistics accounted for most foreign investment in the first nine months of this year, the EDB said. Some companies are locating operations in Bahrain to take advantage of reforms in Saudi Arabia, which aims to develop non-oil industries such as mining, light manufacturing and tourism.
Bahrain also wants to become a center for financial technology; last year it created a “regulatory sandbox” allowing companies in the field to experiment without facing normal regulatory constraints.
This year it established a $100 million fund of funds to support technology start-ups across the region, which it hopes will attract venture capital firms to Bahrain.