Erbil Stock Exchange Launch this Year

Rudaw News Apr-07-2014

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Erbil Stock Exchange (ESX) plans to launch by the end of the year, making it the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s first private joint-stock market.

While there are other exchanges in Iraq, this will be the first in the northern Kurdish enclave. Its primary focus is on listing Kurdish companies, although it also fashions itself as a secure gateway to the greater Iraqi market.

Initial plans are to focus on equities trade (stocks), although energy companies have expressed interest in issuing corporate bonds on the exchange.

The birth of ESX comes amid an economic boom in the Kurdistan Region, the only calm and secure portion of violence-torn Iraq and a thriving business hub. Foreign companies, including international energy giants, are attracted by opportunities locally, and are increasingly keen on using Kurdistan as a gateway for opportunities in the rest of Iraq.

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Foreign Investment in Kurdistan at $5.5 billion; UAE Among Top investors

Rudaw News 22.Jan.2014

BARCELONA, Spain – Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Kurdistan Region stands at $5.5 billion, and the United Arab Emirates is among the top investors, according to a senior Kurdish official.

The comments by Nawroz Mohamed Amin, vice chairwoman of the Kurdistan Investment Board, came at a panel discussion in Erbil of Kurdish officials and a visiting delegation from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), which reported the remarks in a statement.

“Kurdistan has adopted a new policy to encourage investment in certain sectors which has resulted in a massive investment development leading to USD 5.5 billion FDI,” the statement quoted Amin as saying.

It reported her saying that, “UAE investments in the region stood at US$2.5 billion which is far below both sides’ capabilities and expectations.”

Amin called on UAE investors to increase their investments in the region and highlighted the attractions offered to foreign investors in Kurdistan, including land allotment at competitive prices, tax exemption and equal opportunities for local and foreign investors.

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Iraq launches $95m snow sports resort in Kurdistan

BBC News 8 February 2014

Iraq is not currently the obvious choice for a ski holiday but the Korek Mountain Resort in Kurdistan is hoping to change that.

The $95m resort in northern Iraq threw a pre-launch party as part of the government’s plan to make the region a major tourist destination.

Watch complete story Iraq launches $95m snow sports resort in Kurdistan

Standard Chartered to open first branch in Iraqi Kurdistan

Reuters Thu Feb 6, 2014

Britain’s Standard Chartered bank will open its first branch in Iraqi Kurdistan early next month, attracted by financing opportunities for large government infrastructure projects planned in the autonomous region.

The bank is one of a small number of foreign lenders with operations in Iraq, which is experiencing rapid oil-fuelled economic growth, but also its worst upsurge in violence in at least five years.

Standard Chartered opened its country head office and first branch last November in Baghdad’s banking district, on a street lined with blast walls and patrolled by guards with Kalashnikov rifles.

Kurdistan is relatively peaceful by contrast, and the autonomous region’s main cities are full of cranes and construction sites.

The bank also plans to open another branch in the southern oil hub of Basra later in 2014.

Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Iraq Gavin Wishart told Reuters that thebusiness environment in Kurdistan was “progressive” and described the pace of development as “encouraging”.

Security concerns and a complex regulatory and political environment have put some international firms off doing business there. HSBC is trying to exit Iraq by selling its stake in Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank.

“We hope that as the financial services sector develops, we can be the partner of choice in that area,” Britain’s Ambassador to Iraq Simon Collis said at a news conference during his visit to the Kurdish capital Arbil on Thursday.

Kurdistan oil exports to jump in 2013

Reuters: 18.09.2012

Iraqi Kurdish oil exports could rise by more than 50 percent next year after the autonomous region reached a deal with central government to put an end to a payments dispute, Kurdistan’s energy minister said on Tuesday.

Ashti Hawrami also said last week’s deal was a big breakthrough that could pave the way towards resolution of Iraq’s long stalled oil and gas law by the end of 2012 or early 2013 in a move to help unlock huge reserves potential.

“If we are sincere, I think this can be done,” he said. “We need stability within to have stability of supply.”

He said Kurdistan could ramp up oil exports to 250,000 barrels per day or even more next year from the current 140,000 bpd. Iraq’s overall oil output has risen to above 3 million bpd and overtaken Iran in recent month, making it OPEC’s second largest producer.

In April, Kurdistan halted exports of its oil in protest over what it said were payments due from Baghdad to companies.

It restarted in August and last week said it would keep its oil production for export at 140,000 barrels per day this month before raising it to 200,000 bpd for the rest of this year.

“We will do our best to do more in the 2013 budget – 250,000 bpd or more might be the case,” he said.

Baghdad has agreed to release close to $900 million to pay contractors in Kurdistan. Payments are likely to come in 2 tranches, the first being $650 million, he said.

The deal will resolve only part of a broader feud between Baghdad and Kurdistan over oil and territory that has involved major companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total.

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Chevron buys Reliance’s 80 pc stake in two blocks in Kurdistan

New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) US oil behemoth Chevron Corp today said it has bought Reliance Industries’ 80 per cent stake in two oil blocks in Kurdistan region of Iraq for an undisclosed amount. RIL’s exit from Rovi and Sarta onland blocks in northern Iraq is part of the company’s overseas asset restructuring wherein it is cutting exposure in exploration blocks to focus on producing properties. The company had in 2007 paid a signing amount of USD 15.5-17.5 million to autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) for the two blocks that were believed to hold one billion barrels of oil reserves. RIL may have got about USD 200 million from Chevron from the stake sale. In a statement, Chevron said its subsidiaries have completed a transaction to acquire interests in two blocks. “Chevron will acquire Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC’s 80 per cent interest and operatorship of the production sharing contracts (PSCs) covering the Rovi and Sarta blocks. The blocks are located north of Erbil and cover a combined area of approximately 490 square miles (1,124 square kilometres),” it said. Austria’s OMV AG holds the remaining 20 per cent interest in the two blocks.

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Attack threatens Iraq oil supply

Firefighters in southeast Turkey have put out a fire on a pipeline carrying about a quarter of Iraq’s oil exports, but it is unclear when oil will resume flowing, security sources say.

They blamed sabotage by Kurdish separatists for the explosion on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.

The fire broke out at 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Friday near the town of Midyat in Mardin province, near the Syrian border.

Officials blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group that has claimed responsibility for past attacks on the 960-km (600-mile) pipeline.

Firat News, a website with ties to the PKK, also said the outlawed group was behind the attack.

Insurgents in Iraq have in the past disrupted the transport of oil on the pipeline, the country’s largest, and technical faults on the 35-year-old link, which consists of two pipes, have also cut flows.

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Iraq asks Obama to halt Exxon’s Kurdish deal

June 19 2012

BAGHDAD/LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) – Iraq has asked U.S. President Barack Obama to stop Exxon Mobil exploring for oil in its autonomous Kurdistan region, saying the U.S. company’s actions could have dire consequences for the country’s stability.

An aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Reuters of a letter the premier had sent, seeking Obama’s intervention, as Kurdistan said on Tuesday it would sign more deals with majors to raise its output five-fold.

Turkey also signalled it was prepared to import oil directly from Kurdistan, potentially defying Baghdad, which has a long-running dispute with Kurdistan over oil export controls.

Exxon angered Baghdad last year by signing an exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north, which the central government deemed illegal.

“Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki explained to President Obama in the letter sent this month the dire consequences of the Exxon deal and its negative impact on Iraq’s stability,” Maliki’s media adviser Ali al-Moussawi said.

Since the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in December, disputed areas between Kurdistan and Baghdad have been seen as a potential flashpoint for conflict as tensions between the two regions rise, without the buffer of a U.S. military presence.

Iraq’s oil minister said in April that Exxon had written to Baghdad informing it that it had suspended work in the Kurdish region.

“Despite Exxon’s letters about the freezing of their work in the region, we still receive information that suspicious work is going on relating to their exploration activities,” Moussawi said.

“The point of the message was clear. The U.S. administration must intervene,” he added.


Kurdistan announced in November the signing of a deal for six exploration blocs with Exxon, the first major oil company to deal directly with the Kurds in northern Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdistan, which has its own government and armed forces, has already clashed with the central government over autonomy and oil rights, and halted its crude exports in April after accusing Baghdad of not making due payments.

On Tuesday, Kurdistan’s natural resources minister said it expects more oil majors to follow Exxon in the next few months and that oil shipments would resume.

“The market is very buoyant in Kurdistan. We have a lot of majors circling around looking at new PSCs (production-sharing contracts) and certainly mergers and acquisitions,” Ashti Hawrami told an energy conference in London.

“So in the next few months, we expect to see another two or three major companies coming and working in Kurdistan.”

Exxon is one of the oil majors participating in massive projects in central Iraq, which is due to become the biggest source of additional oil for world markets in the next decade.

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Oil exports from the Kurdistan Region halted

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – ( Iraq – The export of oil from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been stopped from today because the federal government in Baghdad has not honoured its payment commitments, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) said.

“After consultation with the producing companies, the Ministry has reluctantly decided to halt exports until further notice. There have been no payments for 10 months, nor any indication from federal authorities that payments are forthcoming,” the MNR said.

It added, “We hope that this is a temporary measure and that those in the federal government responsible for non-payment will quickly realise that their failure to adhere to their agreements is not in the interests of the Iraqi people.” No payment has been received since May 2011.

“Once this unfortunate non-payment situation has been satisfactorily resolved we will do our utmost to increase exports above the target of 175,000 barrels per day included in the 2012 Iraq budget,” the Ministry said. “From now on, production will be diverted to the local market for processing and refining to generate an alternative source of cash flow for the producing companies.”

Heritage Oil says starts drilling new well in Kurdistan







LONDON, MARCH 8 – Heritage Oil Plc have announced that they will Commence drilling  on the Miran East-1 exploration well in the kurdistan region of Iraq. The operation is  expected to take approximately seven months to drill and test.

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