More on BritAm Defence, Heritage Oil, Genel Energy and the new gas wars

Chairman is General Sir Michael Wilkes KCB CBE :

General Sir Michael John Wilkes KCB CBE KStJ (born 1941) is a former Adjutant-General to the Forces in the United Kingdom.

Educated at the King’s School, Rochester,[1] Michael Wilkes was commissioned in to the Royal Artillery in 1961.[2] He served as Commanding Officer of 22 SAS[3] and was appointed Commander of 22 Armoured Brigade in 1984[1] and Director SAS in 1986.[4] He was appointed General Officer Commanding 3rd Armoured Division in 1988[1] and Commander UK Field Army and Inspector General of the Territorial Army in 1990,[1] remaining in that post until 1993.[5] During Operation Granby he was the Land Deputy to the Joint Commander Gulf Forces who was based at HQ Strike Command.[1] In 1993 he became Adjutant General:[6] he retired from the British Army in 1995.[7]

He was awarded the OBE in December 1979,[8] the CBE in June 1988[9] and KCB in December 1990.[10] In 1995 he also became a knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[11]

In 1995 he became Lieutenant Governor of Jersey,[12] a post he held until 2001. In 2008 he became a Director of Heritage Oil[13] and of Stanley Gibbons.[14]

and what’s an Adjutant General?

The Adjutant-General to the Forces, commonly just referred to as the Adjutant-General (AG), is one of the most senior officers in the British Army. He is responsible for developing the Army’s personnel policies and supporting its people.[1] The Adjutant-General usually holds the rank of General or Lieutenant-General. Despite his administrative role, the Adjutant-General, like most officers above the rank of Major-General, is invariably drawn from one of the combat arms, not from the support corps.

In the late 19th and all of the 20th century the Adjutant-General was the Second Military Member of the Army Board.[2]

quite important then. And what is Heritage oil?

Heritage Oil Plc is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange (symbol HOIL) and is a member of the FTSE 250 Index. The Company has Exchangeable Shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbol HOC) and the London Stock Exchange (symbol HOX). The Company has producing properties in Nigeria and Russia, an exploration appraisal and development asset in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and exploration assets in Malta, Tanzania, Pakistan, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two of these countries caught my eye: Iraq (or KRG as they call the area), and Libya. This is why:

Kurdistan Region of Iraq

  • In October 2007, Heritage executed a Production Sharing Contact (“PSC”) with the Kurdistan Regional Government over the Miran Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq;
  • 22 August 2012 cash received of US$450m
    • Sale of 26%1 of Miran PSC to Genel for US$156m
    • Exchangeable Loan of US$294m provided by Genel

and who is Genel energy?

Genel Energy plc is an Anglo-Turkish exploration and production company with world-class oil and gas assets. We own a portfolio of high-quality assets with robust growth options over the short, medium and long-term. An excellent capital base and a high-calibre board and management team underpin these assets. With these strengths, Genel Energy is building a leading E&P business, founded on a set of assets in the Kurdistan Region, that places us in the top tier of independent E&Ps.

The board is full of ex-BP and ex-bankers (most notably Rodney Chase and Tony Hayward). So Turkey’s the big market prospect for most of Kurdistan’s gas. And if the neo-ottomans have their way, more gas will be flowing from Qatar and the UAE through Syria and Israel, crowning themselves as the new gas-overlords of the Middle East, and thereby undermining Russia’s virtual monopoly over gas supply to Europe.


  • Heritage has a controlling 51% interest in Sahara Oil Services Holdings Limited (“Sahara Oil”) which owns the entire share capital of Sahara Oil Services Limited (“Sahara”), an oil field services company in Libya;
  • Sahara has been granted long-term licences to provide full oil field services in Libya, including the ability to drill onshore and offshore and hold both oil and gas licences;
  • Heritage established a base in Benghazi in the first half of 2011;
  • Heritage is now also active in Tripoli and exploring ways to assist the newly appointed Interim Government (under the General National Congress elected in July 2012), the National Oil Company (“NOC”) and the state oil companies;
  • Work is ongoing through Sahara Oil Services with the aim of playing a key role in the substantial amounts of rehabilitation work needed to resume, maintain and increase Libya’s hydrocarbon production in line with NOC and Oil Ministry targets.

Was Gaddafi an obstacle for companies like this to gain access to these resources? We’ll never know.


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