Kurdish gas reserve upgrade met with production questions

Jan. 19 (UPI) — Genel Energy said Friday there were more natural gas resources in two of its Kurdish fields than expected, but an assessment said extraction might be complex.

The company, which has headquarters in London, said an assessment by a third party, RPS Energy Consultants Ltd., of the Bina Bawi and Miran West fields in the Kurdish north of Iraq led to an upgrade in the estimate of gas reserves.

Genel in February 2017 increased its hold over both production sharing contracts to 100 percent. The assessment from RPS upgraded the resource estimate by about 40 percent.

“The recovery factors for the gas reservoirs in both fields have, in most resource categories, been increased to reflect a better understanding of potential reservoir performance,” the company said in its statement. “Further appraisal activity, which is currently under consideration, could help refine reservoir performance and these recovery factor estimates.”

An assessment from RBC Capital Markets, emailed to UPI, said the update in resources is impressive, but there are substantial commercial, technical and political hurdles to overcome before Genel starts actual gas production. For Genel, it could be something of a rebirth for a company under a new management team.

“Interest in the International exploration and production sector has picked up in recent weeks, but the Kurdistan-focused stocks remain an acquired taste,” RBC’s report read.

After moving over from BP, Tony Hayward retired as the chairman of the board at Genel Energy in June. Hayward, the former chief executive officer, was appointed chairman when Rodney Chase resigned from the position in 2015. Genel Chief Executive Murat Ozgul, who served as chief commercial officer since 2008 and president of Turkey and Kurdish operations, took over Hayward’s spot.

Genel in its latest financial report acknowledged the last three years were difficult. Operations near flagship production facilities in the Kurdish north of Iraq were clouded by security challenges and production from its regional Taq Taq oil field moved sharply lower in part because of reserve downgrades.

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