Looking back over 2015, how would you assess the impact of the low oil prices on the company? Two dynamics emerged from the low oil prices. First, there was a cash flow challenge. The price fell so quickly and government reform could not keep up. Money for energy companies was scarce for a while. That has changed in 2016 as the systems have adjusted and the government is working with its energy partners to encourage investment. Also, the price of oil has rebounded from its lows. Second, for investment projects, the lower oil price translated into more cost effective projects. We took advantage of this at KAR. We signed with the KRG a gas project to increase gas-processing capabilities at Khurmala from 100 mmscf/d to 300 mmscf/d. We started drilling gas wells also for feedstock production for the gas plant. We installed a new crude stabilization train at Avana, and we continued on a water injection project for Bai Hasan, Avana and Khurmala.
Looking ahead for the coming year, what are the major plans for KAR Group? We would like to raise output from 350,000 bpd to 410,000 bpd. This requires a workover program, some new drilling and the use of artificial lift and water injection. We also are expanding our power plant from 600 MW to 1000 MW. This project has been in the works for some time, and will be commissioned in 3rd quarter of 2016. We will continue to expand and upgrade the Kurdistan Export Pipeline including gathering crude from Sarsang, Atrush and Sheikhan. This will also include a pump station to boost overall export capacity as well.
Our refinery is currently at 100,000 bpd, but at 75,000 bpd expansion is in commissioning. This will put our overall refining capacity at 175,000 bpd.
What is the current capacity of the KAR’s Kalak refinery, and what is your expansion target for 2016 and beyond? Our refinery is currently at 100,000 bpd, but at 75,000 bpd expansion is in commissioning. This will put our overall refining capacity at 175,000 bpd. We are adding a new element during this phase: condensate refining. With increased gas production forthcoming, we see condensate refining as a good domestic value add.
Do you have any plans to invest in renewables in the medium or long term? How do you see the global renewable energy trend? Since we have an abundance of natural gas, I feel that adding value to that natural gas domestically – by making power, petrochemicals, and industry – is a better use than exporting the raw material. Using is locally builds an economy and employ people. Renewables are good for places without natural resources. Shall we make use of our abundant sun here in Kurdistan? Yes, but only if it is cost competitive. I read that solar has come down in price, but still with abundant gas, it is more efficient for us to use it domestically and let other markets without such resources transition to renewable energy.