Genel pulls non-essential KRG staff


Genel Energy is pulling some staff out of non-producing assets in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory of Iraq as Islamist militants continue to wreak havoc in the region.

The move comes as other oil companies pull workers from the area, with Middle East and Africa-focused player Afren saying on Friday it had shut in one of two KRG fields and taken out non-essential staff.

Genel said on Friday that its major fields of Taq Taq and Tawke “remain safe and secure” and that operations are “unaffected”.

“We remain confident in the (KRG’s) ability to maintain the territorial integrity of both the (territory) and oil infrastructure,” Genel said.

“In line with moves by other operators, we are taking the prudent and precautionary step of withdrawing non-essential personnel from our non-producing assets in the region.”

Shares in Tony Hayward-led Genel were down more than 1% in London by 10am on Friday.

DNO, which operates the Tawke oilfield, said earlier this week it was continuing operations at all its sites in Kurdistan "within established security protocols".

The company confirmed on Friday that this situation had not changed, while underlining the safety of its local and expatriate staff remained its top priority.

The Oslo-listed company also operates the Dohuk licence that hosts the Summail gas field and the Erbil licence holding the Benenan and Bastora oil discoveries.

DNO's shares were trading up nearly 8% at 2pm on Friday on a technical buying rebound, having earlier plunged as much as 24% over the past month as investors took flight due to the Iraq turmoil.

Islamic State militants were shown in Reuters photographs to have seized a checkpoint about 40 kilometres south of Kurdistan's regional capital Erbil.

The KRG insisted its forces were advancing and "would defeat the terrorists", urging people to stay calm.

US supermajor Chevron said on Thursday it was pulling staff from operations in the region, with compatriot ExxonMobil thought to be doing the same.

London-listed Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which is focused on the KRG region and operates the giant Shaikan field, said on Thursday that it has beefed up security, but operations continue unaffected.

“On-going production and trucking operations at both Shaikan production facilities remain safe and secure,” it said.

“While there is no immediate threat to any of the company's operations in the region, we continue to monitor the situation closely and operate with increased security as a precaution,”

A spokesperson said on Friday that the company’s position has not changed and personnel continue to work in the field. Nevertheless, its share price was down around 5% at 10am.

Meanwhile, the independent pipeline running from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which ships crude from Tawke and Taq Taq, was reported to be still running normally.

Sources told Reuters the route was pumping at a rate of about 120,000 barrels per day.

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