Despite extremely tumultuous months following the loss of 280,000 b/d as federal Iraqi forces captured the Bai Hassan field and Kirkuk’s and Avana Dome in late 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan’s upstream sector has since brought several key projects online due both to regularized KRG payments and higher oil prices. MEES estimates that KRG output jumped from 310,000 b/d at end-2017 to 492,000 b/d two years later (MEES, 8 November 2019).

This came as the slew of small Kurdistan-focused firms that continue to dominate the region’s upstream doubled down on their assets, planning a string of new developments, expansion projects and drilling campaigns. These would have added a further 100,000 b/d to regional output by the end of 2021. But such plans have been knocked badly off course by Covid-19 travel restrictions, cripplingly low oil prices, and payment problems from the cash-poor Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Firms were forced to slash capex and delay plans crucial to the region’s oil future (MEES, 20 March). Now, even with a slight recovery in oil prices and ‘regularized’ payments, the near-term doesn’t look so rosy. (CONTINUED - 1090 WORDS)