Kurdistan Regional Government

www.krg.org
Erbil, Iraq
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News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or "the Company") announced today its operating and financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. All amounts set out in this news release are in US dollars unless otherwise stated. Commenting on the first quarter results and subsequent events, WesternZagros's Chief Executive Officer Simon Hatfield said: "The leading news this quarter is of course our agreement with Crest to take WesternZagros private. Given the current market conditions, the Crest offer represents a significant premium to the share price at the time of the offer. The Company encourages shareholders to take advantage of this offer." WesternZagros achieved several key financial and operational milestones during the first quarter 2017 and to date, including: WesternZagros has posted its operating and financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 on its website. The financial statements, the Management Discussion and Analysis, and the Annual Information Form are available at www.westernzagros.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. WesternZagros continues to focus on advancing development in accordance with the approved Garmian FDP and securing KRG approval of the phased development plan for the Kurdamir Block in line with market conditions and dependent upon the sustainability of regular payments for production. Following the successful acidization workover, the Company anticipates the average daily productive capacity of Sarqala-1 will range from 6,850 to 10,000 bbl/d for the remainder of 2017. Assuming continuous production and payments for the year, and an average Brent price of $50 to $55 per barrel, WesternZagros estimates 2017 revenues of $24 to $33 million. The Company has $22.5 million in cash and cash equivalents as at March 31, 2017, plus the Bridge Loan proceeds of $30 million received subsequent to March 31, 2017, to advance the field development plans with its co-venturers. The Company continues its focus on strict cost management and estimates spending of approximately $48 million for the remainder of 2017 to operate the Sarqala production operations, advance the currently approved work programs of the Garmian and Kurdamir blocks with its co-venturers and fund WesternZagros head office costs. The first Garmian development well has been approved by the co-venturers and is expected to spud in July 2017 with a budgeted net cost to WesternZagros of $18 to 22 million. This is the Company's first Garmian well located with the benefit of 3D seismic data and is designed as a producing well for the Jeribe reservoir. The co-venturers have also approved a facilities work program for 2017 in order to debottleneck and expand the Sarqala production facility to an initial estimated capacity of 10,000 bbl/d and then to further increase to an estimated 15,000 bbl/d capacity by the end of the year and with an estimated cost net to the Company of $6 million. As at March 31, 2017, WesternZagros had $22.5 million in cash and cash equivalents. Subsequent to March 31, 2017, the Company received $30 million in proceeds under the Bridge Loan concurrent with entering into the Arrangement Agreement with Crest. The Company's remaining 2017 capital budget is estimated to be approximately $48 million, including the Sarqala-2 well which has now been approved by the Garmian Block co-venturers. However, the development plan for the Kurdamir Block has not yet been approved by the KRG and the Company will continue to evaluate, monitor and assess relevant factors which may impact anticipated future capital requirements and spending, including the following: With the existing capital resources on hand, including the proceeds from the Bridge Loan and expected revenue, the Company anticipates that it is fully funded for currently planned activities for the next twelve months. However, additional funding may be required by the Company in the future. The quantum of, and timing for, such funding will be dependent upon the factors identified above, and particularly the outcome of the negotiations and final approvals of the Kurdamir FDP. The Company may delay certain phases of its development plans if the ability to export or sell into the domestic market oil and natural gas, and receive timely payment therefor, in accordance with the economic terms of the PSCs is restricted, unavailable or uncertain, or if the political and security situation within Iraq is not suitable. If the Arrangement Agreement entered into with Crest is not completed for any reason, the sources for any required additional funding may include potentially accessing the debt and/or equity markets or seeking additional partnerships, farmouts or other strategic arrangements. WesternZagros is an international natural resources company focused on acquiring properties and exploring for, developing and producing crude oil and natural gas in Iraq. WesternZagros, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, holds a 40 percent working interest in two Production Sharing Contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WesternZagros's shares trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WZR". This news release certain forward-looking statements relating to, but not limited to, anticipated capital and other commitments and the timing thereof, expectations regarding the necessity for further funding and the timing and potential sources thereof, operational information, development plans, anticipated capacity of facilities, expected production rates, revenues and petroleum costs (as defined in each PSC), statements regarding the plan of arrangement under the Arrangement Agreement (the "Arrangement") and the anticipated timing for holding the required shareholder meeting and completing the Arrangement. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with words such as "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "potential", "could", or similar words suggesting future outcomes. The Company cautions readers and prospective investors in the Company's securities to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information as, by its nature, it is based on current expectations regarding future events that involve a number of assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros. Forward looking information is not based on historical facts but rather on management's current expectations as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to management, concerning, among other things, development plans, future capital and other expenditures (including the timing, amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), the outcomes of future well operations, drilling activity and testing, the installation and commissioning of facilities, the ability to access financing as required, the continued ability to sell production in the domestic or export markets and the quantum and timing of payments to be received in connection therewith, anticipated operating costs, future economic conditions, future currency and exchange rates, continued political stability, continued security in the Kurdistan Region, timely receipt of any necessary co-venturer, government or regulatory approvals, the successful resolution of any disputes, the Company's continued ability to employ qualified staff and the continued participation of the Company's co-venturers in joint activities. In addition, budgets are based upon WesternZagros's current development plans and anticipated costs, both of which are subject to change based on, among other things, the outcome of negotiations with co-venturers and the government, the actual outcomes of well operations, drilling activity and testing and the installation and commissioning of facilities, unexpected delays, availability of future financing and changes in market conditions. Although the Company believes the expectations and assumptions reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking information involves significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros including, but not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry (e.g. operational risks in development and production; inherent uncertainties in interpreting geological data; changes in plans with respect to capital expenditures; interruptions in operations together with any associated insurance proceedings; the uncertainty of estimates and projections in relation to timing, costs and expenses and health, safety and environmental risks), the risk of commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, risks relating to the ability to access the export or domestic markets and to receive payments in accordance with the PSC terms on a timely basis, risks relating to the ability to access financing as and when needed, the uncertainty associated with any dispute resolution proceedings, the uncertainty associated with negotiating with foreign governments and the risk associated with international activity, including the lack of federal petroleum legislation, ongoing political disputes and recent terrorist activities in Iraq in particular. In respect of the forward-looking statements and information concerning the completion of the Arrangement and the anticipated timing for completion of the Arrangement, WesternZagros has provided such in reliance on certain assumptions that it believes are reasonable at this time, including assumptions as to the time required to prepare and mail meeting materials, the ability of the parties to receive, in a timely manner and on satisfactory terms, the necessary regulatory, court, shareholder, TSX Venture Exchange and other third party approvals and the ability of the parties to satisfy, in a timely manner, the other conditions to the completion of the Arrangement. These dates may change for a number of reasons, including unforeseen delays in preparing meeting materials; inability to secure necessary shareholder, regulatory, court or other third party approvals in the time assumed or the need for additional time to satisfy the other conditions to the completion of the Arrangement. Risks and uncertainties that may cause such differences include but are not limited to: the risk that the Arrangement may not be completed on a timely basis, if at all; the conditions to the consummation of the Arrangement may not be satisfied; the risk that the Arrangement may involve unexpected costs, liabilities or delays; the possibility that legal proceedings may be instituted against WesternZagros and/or others relating to the Arrangement and the outcome of such proceedings; the possible occurrence of an event, change or other circumstance that could result in termination of the Arrangement; risks relating to the failure to obtain necessary shareholder and court approval; other risks inherent in the oil and gas industry. Failure to obtain the requisite approvals, or the failure of the parties to otherwise satisfy the conditions to or complete the Arrangement, may result in the Arrangement not being completed on the proposed terms, or at all. In addition, if the Arrangement is not completed, the announcement of the Arrangement and the dedication of substantial resources of WesternZagros to the completion of the Arrangement could have a material adverse impact on WesternZagros's share price, its current business relationships and on the current and future operations, financial condition and prospects of WesternZagros. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that these factors and risks are difficult to predict. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and, except as required by law, WesternZagros does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. See the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Information Form ("AIF") dated March 14, 2017 filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for a further description of these risks and uncertainties facing WesternZagros. Additional information relating to WesternZagros is also available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, including the Company's AIF. Field netback is a non-IFRS measure that represents the Company's working interest share of oil sales, after deducting royalties and operating expenses. Management believes that the field netback is a useful measure to analyze operating performance and provides an indication of the Company's results of business activities prior to other income and expenses. Field netback does not have a standard meaning under IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. It should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS such as total income (loss) or cash flow from (used in) operating activities. See the "Financial Performance" section of the Company's MD&A dated May 25, 2017 for a reconciliation of field netback. In addition, statements relating to reserves and other resources contained herein are deemed to be forward-looking statements, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the resources described can be economically produced in the future. Future net revenue values are estimated values only and do not represent fair market value. There is no assurance that the forecast prices and cost assumptions, the initial phases of the development plans as submitted to the KRG and anticipated future phases contemplated in completing the full field development utilized in such estimated values will be attained and variances could be material. The reserve and resource estimates provided herein are estimates only and there is no assurance that the estimated reserves and other resources will be recovered. Actual reserves and other resources may be greater than or less than the estimates provided herein. Terms related to resource classifications referred to herein are based on the definitions and guidelines in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which are as follows. The reserves have been evaluated by Sproule International Limited ("Sproule"). Resources other than reserves have been estimated by the Company and audited by Sproule. "Reserves" are estimated remaining quantities of oil and natural gas and related substances anticipated to be recoverable from known accumulations, as of a given date, based on (a) analysis of drilling, geological, geophysical and engineering data, (b) the use of established technology and (c) specified economic conditions which are generally accepted as being reasonable and shall be disclosed. Reserves are classified as Proved, Probable or Possible according to the degree of certainty associated with the estimates. "Proved Reserves" are those Reserves that can be estimated with a high degree of certainty to be recoverable. It is likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 90 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. "Probable Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Proved Reserves. It is equally likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will be greater or less than the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable (2P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 2P Reserves. "Possible Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Probable Reserves. It is unlikely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable plus Possible (3P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 10 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 3P Reserves. "Contingent Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Contingent Resources have an associated chance of development (economic, regulatory, market and facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The Contingent Resources estimates referred to herein have not been risked for the chance of development. There is no certainty that the Contingent Resources will be developed and, if developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Contingent Resources. "Prospective Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations by application of future development projects. Prospective Resources have both an associated chance of discovery (geological chance of success) and a chance of development (economic, regulatory, market, facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The chance of commerciality is the product of these two risk components. Unless otherwise indicated, the estimates referred to herein have not been risked for either the chance of discovery or the chance of development. There is no certainty that any portion of the Prospective Resources will be discovered. If a discovery is made, there is no certainty that it will be developed or, if it is developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Prospective Resources. Gross Block resource estimates presented herein represent the total volumes for the indicated reservoirs attributable to 100 percent of the relevant block, without any adjustment for the Company's working interest therein whereas the Working Interest (Gross) or Company Gross resource estimates presented represent the Company's 40 percent working interest (operating or non-operating) share before deduction of royalty petroleum, profit petroleum, production bonuses and capacity building support payments pursuant to the provisions of the applicable Production Sharing Contract. Best Estimate (P50) or (2C) is considered to be the best estimate of the quantity that will actually be recovered. It is equally likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will be greater of less than the best estimate. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the best estimate. A barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is determined by converting a volume of natural gas to barrels using the ratio of 6 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to one barrel. BOEs may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio of 6 Mcf:1 BOE is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value. The section "Statement of Reserves and Other Oil and Gas Information" (including Schedule A) contained in the Company's AIF dated March 14, 2017 filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, contains additional detail with respect to the Company's resource assessments and the estimates of net present value associated with its Reserves. This section includes the significant risks and uncertainties associated with the volume estimates and the recovery and development of the resources, the forecast prices and cost assumptions, descriptions of the applicable projects and FDPs and the specific contingencies which prevent the classification of the Contingent Resources as Reserves. As indicated above, unless otherwise indicated, the estimates of Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources contained in this document are presented on an unrisked basis. Readers should refer to the AIF for the associated risked estimates of Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Such risked estimates are based upon the Company's estimates of chance of commerciality set forth therein which involves assessing various risks based upon a number of assumptions and other factors. While the Company believes that such estimates and underlying assumptions are reasonable, many of these assumptions are beyond the Company's control, are subject to change and may not, over time, prove to be accurate. As such, the actual level of various risks (including those currently identified and additional risks which may be identified in the future) could prove to be greater and the chance of commerciality lower than currently estimated and such differences could be material. NEITHER THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE


NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or the "Company") announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement (the "Arrangement Agreement") with Crest Energy International LLC ("Crest") and its wholly owned affiliate WZG Acquisition Ltd. ("Crest AcquireCo") to take the Company private. Pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement, Crest AcquireCo will provide the Company with the funds necessary in order for the Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding common shares ("Common Shares") and preferred shares of WesternZagros for CAD$0.28 per share in cash, other than one Common Share held by Crest which will be acquired by Crest AcquireCo for CAD $0.28 and result in Crest AcquireCo owning 100 percent of the Company. The transaction is to be completed by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta) (the "Arrangement"). The transaction offers holders of Common Shares ("Shareholders") full liquidity at a substantial premium to current and recent trading prices. The consideration payable pursuant to the Arrangement represents a 70 percent premium to the most recent closing price of the Common Shares on the TSX Venture Exchange ("TSXV"), a 65 percent premium to the 20 day volume weighted average trading price of the Common Shares on the TSXV and represents an implied value of approximately CAD$225 million for WesternZagros. In addition, WesternZagros and Crest AcquireCo have entered into a bridge loan agreement (the "Bridge Loan Agreement") pursuant to which Crest AcquireCo has advanced a US$30 million short-term loan to WesternZagros (the "Loan") to address the Company's immediate financing requirements. "We are pleased to present this transaction to our shareholders," said Simon Hatfield, CEO of WesternZagros. "We have been engaged in an extensive search for financing and strategic alternatives for 18 months, hampered by the challenging capital markets for oil and gas investments given the low commodity price environment. We are delighted to conclude this search with the receipt of a proposal that provides a strong premium to the current share price and a fair valuation given the future risks of developing our assets over the next several years." WesternZagros Chairman, David Boone commented, "We are grateful to our existing shareholders for their patience through this long process. The board of directors unanimously supports the proposed Arrangement. Our market search for alternatives made it clear that this transaction with Crest is the best alternative available to WesternZagros, as supported by a fairness opinion from TD Securities and we will be encouraging shareholders to vote in favour of it." Completion of the Arrangement is subject to approval by at least 66 2/3 percent of the votes cast at an annual and special meeting of the Shareholders that is expected to be held on or about July 5, 2017 (the "Meeting") and, in light of Crest's current ownership of approximately 19.9 percent of the outstanding Common Shares, approval by a majority of the votes cast by Shareholders, after excluding the votes cast by Crest and any other persons whose votes may not be included in determining minority approval of a business combination pursuant to Multilateral Instrument 61-101 - Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions ("MI 61-101"). The Company is not required to obtain a formal valuation for the Arrangement under MI 61-101 as it qualifies for the exemption to the formal valuation requirement set out in Section 4.4(1)(a) of MI 61-101, since no securities of the Company are listed on the "specified markets" set forth in MI 61-101. Pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement, the transaction is also subject to the approval of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of certain closing conditions customary in transactions of this nature. The Arrangement Agreement contains customary deal protection provisions which, among other matters, restrict WesternZagros from soliciting, assisting, initiating, encouraging or in any way knowingly facilitating any proposals or offers concerning alternative acquisition proposals. However, the Arrangement Agreement permits WesternZagros to respond to unsolicited written acquisition proposals under certain circumstances which include where such acquisition proposal constitutes or would reasonably be expected to lead to a "superior proposal" (as defined in the Arrangement Agreement). Crest AcquireCo has the right to match any competing proposal for WesternZagros in the event a proposal is made which the Board has determined to be superior. WesternZagros has agreed to pay a termination fee of $7.5 million in certain circumstances including where the Arrangement Agreement is terminated due to a superior proposal. If the Arrangement Agreement is terminated under certain other circumstances, including breach or non-compliance by Crest or Crest AcquireCo, a reverse break fee of $7.5 million is payable to WesternZagros. A copy of the Arrangement Agreement will be filed on the Company's SEDAR profile and will be available for viewing at www.sedar.com. The terms and conditions of the Arrangement will also be summarized in WesternZagros's information circular, which is expected to be filed and mailed to Shareholders in June 2017. The Arrangement is expected to close in early July 2017. Following closing of the Arrangement, the Common Shares will be de-listed from the TSXV. Recommendation of the WesternZagros Board of Directors As previously announced, the board of directors of WesternZagros (the "Board") began a review of all financing and strategic alternatives available to the Company in December 2015 and hired TD Securities Inc. to act as its exclusive financial advisor in connection with such review. Subsequently, the Board formed a committee comprised of independent directors (the "Special Committee") to, among other things, review and evaluate the terms of the Arrangement proposal from Crest, review and consider alternatives to the Arrangement, and to negotiate the terms and conditions of the Arrangement and make a recommendation to the Board in respect of the Arrangement and other related matters, including the Loan. TD Securities Inc., provided an opinion (the "Fairness Opinion") that, as of the date of the Fairness Opinion and subject to the assumptions and limitations stated therein, the consideration to be received by Shareholders (other than Crest) pursuant to the Arrangement is fair, from a financial point of view, to such Shareholders. Following an extensive review and analysis of the Arrangement and related transactions and the consideration of other available alternatives, the Fairness Opinion and the recommendation of the Special Committee, the Board, after consulting with its financial and legal advisors, has unanimously determined that the Arrangement is fair to the Shareholders (other than Crest) and that the Arrangement and entry into the Arrangement Agreement are in the best interests of WesternZagros and recommends that Shareholders vote in favour of the Arrangement at the Meeting. All of the senior officers and directors of WesternZagros, holding 2.6 percent of the outstanding Common Shares outstanding have entered into customary support agreements, pursuant to which, among other things, they have agreed to vote in favour of the Arrangement. The Loan bears interest at a rate of 14 percent per annum, with interest paid in kind to the outstanding principal and accrued quarterly in arrears. The maturity date of the Loan is June 30, 2018, subject to certain prepayment terms, including but not limited to a repayment obligation where the Arrangement Agreement is terminated due to a superior proposal. The Loan is secured by 35 percent of the outstanding shares of WesternZagros's operating subsidiary. In certain circumstances where the reverse break fee is payable to WesternZagros, the principal amount available under the Loan may be increased by US$10 million with additional security to be provided in outstanding shares of WesternZagros's operating subsidiary. The Loan is a "related party transaction" for the purposes of MI 61-101 since Crest is a "related party" of the Company. However, the Company was not required to obtain minority approval of the Loan under MI 61-101 as it qualifies for the exemption to the minority approval requirement set out in Section 5.7(1)(f) of MI 61-101. Specifically, the Loan is being made available to the Company by Crest AcquireCo on reasonable commercial terms that are not less advantageous to the Company than if the Loan were obtained from a person dealing at arm's length with the Company, and the Loan is not (A) convertible, directly or indirectly, into equity or voting securities of the Company or a subsidiary entity of the Company, or otherwise participating in nature, or (B) repayable as to principal or interest, directly or indirectly, in equity or voting securities of the Company or a subsidiary entity of the Company. In connection with the entering into of the Arrangement Agreement and the Bridge Loan Agreement, WesternZagros and Crest have entered into an agreement terminating the prior loan agreement between the parties dated August 14, 2014. TD Securities Inc. is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Torys LLP is acting as legal counsel to WesternZagros. Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP is acting as legal counsel to the Special Committee. Dentons Canada LLP is acting as legal counsel to Crest. Crest is an affiliate of Crest Investment Company, a Houston, Texas-based principal investment company. Crest has a long history of investing in oil and gas and midstream assets, including assets in the Middle East. The company has additional expertize and investments in technology/ social media, real estate, and the manufacturing sectors. WesternZagros is an international natural resources company focused on acquiring properties and exploring for, developing and producing crude oil and natural gas in Iraq. WesternZagros, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, holds a 40 percent working interest in two Production Sharing Contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WesternZagros's shares trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WZR". NEITHER THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE Forward-Looking Statements. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. These forward-looking statements contain statements of intent, belief or current expectations of WesternZagros. Forward-looking information is often, but not always identified by the use of words such as "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "plan", "intend", "forecast", "target", "project", "may", "will", "should", "could", "estimate", "predict" or similar words suggesting future outcomes or language suggesting an outlook. The forward-looking statements included in this press release, including statements regarding the Arrangement, the receipt of necessary approvals, the shareholder vote and the anticipated timing for mailing the information circular, holding the Meeting and completing the Arrangement, are not guarantees of future results and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking statements. In respect of the forward-looking statements and information concerning the completion of the Arrangement and the anticipated timing for completion of the Arrangement, WesternZagros has provided such in reliance on certain assumptions that it believes are reasonable at this time, including assumptions as to the time required to prepare and mail meeting materials, the ability of the parties to receive, in a timely manner and on satisfactory terms, the necessary regulatory, court, shareholder, TSX Venture Exchange and other third party approvals and the ability of the parties to satisfy, in a timely manner, the other conditions to the completion of the Arrangement. These dates may change for a number of reasons, including unforeseen delays in preparing meeting materials; inability to secure necessary shareholder, regulatory, court or other third party approvals in the time assumed or the need for additional time to satisfy the other conditions to the completion of the Arrangement. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements and information contained in this news release concerning these times. Risks and uncertainties that may cause such differences include but are not limited to: the risk that the Arrangement may not be completed on a timely basis, if at all; the conditions to the consummation of the Arrangement may not be satisfied; the risk that the Arrangement may involve unexpected costs, liabilities or delays; the possibility that legal proceedings may be instituted against WesternZagros and/or others relating to the Arrangement and the outcome of such proceedings; the possible occurrence of an event, change or other circumstance that could result in termination of the Arrangement; risks relating to the failure to obtain necessary shareholder and court approval; other risks inherent in the oil and gas industry. Failure to obtain the requisite approvals, or the failure of the parties to otherwise satisfy the conditions to or complete the Arrangement, may result in the Arrangement not being completed on the proposed terms, or at all. In addition, if the Arrangement is not completed, the announcement of the Arrangement and the dedication of substantial resources of WesternZagros to the completion of the Arrangement could have a material adverse impact on WesternZagros's share price, its current business relationships and on the current and future operations, financial condition and prospects of WesternZagros. When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Additional information on these and other factors that could affect WesternZagros's operations or financial results are included in reports on file with applicable securities regulatory authorities and may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com). The forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date it was issued and WesternZagros does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks that outcomes implied by forward-looking statements will not be achieved. WesternZagros cautions readers not to place undue reliance on these statements.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Oslo, 10 May 2017 - DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported receipt of USD 41.40 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government as payment towards February 2017 crude oil deliveries to the export market from the Tawke field. The funds, to be shared pro-rata by DNO and partner Genel Energy plc, include USD 34.73 million toward monthly deliveries and USD 6.68 million toward recovery of outstanding receivables. Tawke production in February averaged 110,803 barrels of oil per day (bopd), of which 110,641 bopd was delivered for export through Turkey. For further information, please contact: Media: media@dno.no Investors: investor.relations@dno.no Tel: +47 911 57 197 DNO ASA is a Norwegian oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 1971 and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the Company holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Oman, Somaliland, Tunisia and Yemen. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Oslo, 10 May 2017 - DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported receipt of USD 41.40 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government as payment towards February 2017 crude oil deliveries to the export market from the Tawke field. The funds, to be shared pro-rata by DNO and partner Genel Energy plc, include USD 34.73 million toward monthly deliveries and USD 6.68 million toward recovery of outstanding receivables. Tawke production in February averaged 110,803 barrels of oil per day (bopd), of which 110,641 bopd was delivered for export through Turkey. For further information, please contact: Media: media@dno.no Investors: investor.relations@dno.no Tel: +47 911 57 197 DNO ASA is a Norwegian oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 1971 and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the Company holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Oman, Somaliland, Tunisia and Yemen. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Oslo, 10 May 2017 - DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported receipt of USD 41.40 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government as payment towards February 2017 crude oil deliveries to the export market from the Tawke field. The funds, to be shared pro-rata by DNO and partner Genel Energy plc, include USD 34.73 million toward monthly deliveries and USD 6.68 million toward recovery of outstanding receivables. Tawke production in February averaged 110,803 barrels of oil per day (bopd), of which 110,641 bopd was delivered for export through Turkey. For further information, please contact: Media: media@dno.no Investors: investor.relations@dno.no Tel: +47 911 57 197 DNO ASA is a Norwegian oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 1971 and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the Company holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Oman, Somaliland, Tunisia and Yemen. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Oslo, 10 May 2017 - DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today reported receipt of USD 41.40 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government as payment towards February 2017 crude oil deliveries to the export market from the Tawke field. The funds, to be shared pro-rata by DNO and partner Genel Energy plc, include USD 34.73 million toward monthly deliveries and USD 6.68 million toward recovery of outstanding receivables. Tawke production in February averaged 110,803 barrels of oil per day (bopd), of which 110,641 bopd was delivered for export through Turkey. For further information, please contact: Media: media@dno.no Investors: investor.relations@dno.no Tel: +47 911 57 197 DNO ASA is a Norwegian oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 1971 and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the Company holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Oman, Somaliland, Tunisia and Yemen. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

America’s relationship with Turkey has entered a period of deep crisis. At the heart of the matter is continued U.S. support for Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State. The partnership between the United States and a coalition of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Arab militias, currently known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), began more than two years ago under President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump’s administration continues to back the 50,000-strong SDF as the most capable anti-Islamic State force in northern Syria. The SDF are now closing in on Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s self-described caliphate, and Trump has approved a plan to provide arms directly to the YPG for the final push. Yet Turkey sees the SDF as mortal enemies due to the YPG’s affiliation with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a designated terrorist organization which has fought a bloody insurgency inside Turkey for three decades. These clashing interests have put Washington and Ankara on a collision course just as the U.S.-led campaign to crush the caliphate enters its culminating phase. Turkey’s concerns about the YPG are understandable and widely appreciated. What is less well known is the fact that it was Turkey’s own actions, in particular a set of decisions made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that stymied joint U.S.-Turkey efforts to identify an alternative anti-Islamic State force. This pushed the United States and the YPG closer together and eventually created the SDF. And, with Raqqa in their sights, the Trump administration is unlikely to abandon them now. In the closing days of the Obama administration, President Barack Obama was willing to increase training and assistance to the SDF, including YPG elements, for the final push on the Islamic State’s capital. But retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security advisor, asked the administration to hold off so the new team could run its own review. (We now know that Flynn was paid to represent Turkish government interests prior to becoming national security advisor, although it is unclear whether that had any impact on the decision.) After surveying the options, the Trump administration seems to have come to the same conclusion Obama did: the SDF represent the only viable force to seize Raqqa anytime soon. Nevertheless, the Trump administration decided to delay providing additional support to the SDF — especially armaments directly to the YPG — for months out of deference to the U.S.-Turkey alliance and Erdogan’s domestic politics. The hope appears to have been that waiting until after Turkey’s April 16 referendum on enhancing the power of the presidency would give Erdogan less incentive to whip up nationalist sentiment against the American plan. Following the narrow approval of the referendum consolidating Erdogan’s power, Trump even took the controversial step of calling Erdogan to congratulate him, most likely to make the bitter pill of the Raqqa operation easier to swallow. Erdogan was also invited to meet with Trump at the White House, a political boon to the Turkish president given rising international criticism over Turkey’s democratic backsliding. It didn’t work. On April 25, Turkish warplanes struck YPG and PKK positions on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border. The bombing raid against a YPG command center on Mount Karachok in northeastern Syria — which occurred only a few miles from where U.S. troops were operating — killed 20 YPG fighters. Meanwhile, the Turkish strikes in northwestern Iraq, which targeted the PKK on Mount Sinjar, mistakenly killed several Kurdish Peshmerga troops instead. There was no formal coordination with the United States, and the U.S. military was given less than an hour’s notice prior to the Turkish operation. In the days since, U.S. forces have been patrolling the Syrian side of Turkey-Syria border, acting as de facto peacekeepers to deter the two side from going at each other’s throats. Erdogan has warned that Turkey will continue to strike the YPG unless the United States abandons its partnership with them, even as Turkey has thrown its support behind a Russian proposal to create “de-escalation zones” to freeze the conflict elsewhere in Syria. One Erdogan advisor even hinted that U.S. forces could be struck if they continue to back the Syrian Kurds. If Turkey follows through with these threats, it could trigger a Turkey-Kurd border war that derails the Raqqa campaign, undermining a core national security interest of the United States. And, if a military mistake by Turkey results in the death of U.S. forces, it could bring Washington and Ankara — two NATO allies — into direct conflict. When Erdogan travels to Washington next week, American support for the Syrian Kurds will be the top issue he raises with Trump. Erdogan is likely to urge Trump to cancel his decision to arm the YPG and look for other alternatives to take Raqqa — moves Trump is unlikely to take. Does that mean the two NATO allies are fated for an irreparable breach? No. But it does mean that, between now and then, the administration needs to develop a comprehensive plan to ease tensions, before it is too late. The campaign to defeat the Islamic State and the future of the U.S.-Turkey alliance hang in the balance. Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on January 30, 2015. Photo credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images Understanding the options available to the Trump administration requires understanding how we got to this point in the first place. The United States has made its fair share of mistakes in Syria. But the current predicament is largely the result of choices Erdogan made that pushed the United States to partner with the Kurds as the only viable anti-Islamic State force in northern Syria. The story starts in September 2014, when Islamic State militants assaulted Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish border town under YPG control since 2012, pushing more than 100,000 refugees into Turkey. Turkey moved tanks to the border, but as the world watched jihadists lay siege to the city, Turkish forces refused to intervene on the YPG’s behalf. Kurds on the Turkish side were also blocked from entering Syria to help. Turkish officials saw Kobani as a fight between two terrorist entities, and Erdogan initially conditioned any Turkish assistance to the town on the YPG distancing itself from the Syrian regime, dismantling its administrative cantons in northeastern and northwestern Syria, and committing not to threaten the Turkish border. In mid-October 2014, Obama authorized an air drop to provide Kurdish fighters desperately needed medical supplies and ammunition. Ankara and Washington then managed to broker an arrangement allowing Iraqi Peshmerga forces to transit Turkey into Kobani to help reinforce the YPG. (The Turks hoped that Iraqi Peshmerga forces aligned with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani would help counterbalance YPG influence.) Over the next three months, with the help of coalition airstrikes, thousands of Islamic State militants were killed and the YPG eventually succeeded in repelling the onslaught. As the battle for Kobani raged, U.S. and Turkish officials began discussing the conditions for the U.S.-led coalition to gain access to Turkish air bases, as well as the extent of U.S.-Turkish cooperation to push the Islamic State off Turkey’s border. The U.S. Special Envoy for the Counter-Islamic State Coalition at the time, retired Gen. John Allen, and his deputy, Brett McGurk, worked up a proposal that would open up Turkish bases — which were already used by the United States for unarmed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) flights — for armed-ISR and strike missions against the Islamic State. The plan also included an ambitious joint U.S.-Turkish effort to identify, vet, train, and arm Syrian opposition forces, backed by U.S. and Turkish air power, to clear the Islamic State from the entirety of the Turkey-Syria border. There was even talk of introducing Turkish special operations forces as advisers to work alongside these fighters. In late November 2014, I accompanied Vice President Joe Biden for two days of talks with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Erdogan in Istanbul (where Erdogan often preferred to hold meetings). The primary goal was to get the Allen-McGurk proposal, which had been worked on extensively with senior Turkish officials, across the goal line. In Biden’s meeting with Davutoglu, the vice president secured Davutoglu’s agreement to the joint plan. Biden then met with Erdogan, who clearly had different priorities. During nearly five hours of talks, Biden acknowledged Erdogan’s concerns over U.S. support to the YPG in Kobani, while noting that Turkey also supported highly problematic groups from the U.S. perspective, including Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful hardline Salafist force which often worked closely with al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. Biden urged Erdogan to put these differences aside by embracing the Allen-McGurk proposal. To address Erdogan’s concerns about the YPG, the United States and Turkey would identify an alternative, jointly vetted anti-Islamic State force. Erdogan was open to the proposal, but with one condition: the United States first had to impose a no-fly zone over all of northern Syria, including Aleppo city. This was not a new request. For two years, Erdogan had pushed to establish a safe zone in Syria’s northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib to stem the flow of Syrian refugees and provide an area for anti-Assad rebels to organize and train, backed by a no-fly zone to keep Assad’s planes at bay. Yet despite the threat being on Turkey’s doorstep, and the fact that Turkey possessed the most powerful land army and air force in the region, Erdogan was unwilling to directly intervene. Instead, he preferred that the United States take the lead in establishing these zones. The Obama administration’s campaign against the Islamic State, and the U.S. request for Turkish base access, was seen by Erdogan as useful leverage to achieve this longstanding objective. Erdogan’s decision to play hardball stemmed from the priority he placed at the time on toppling Assad over combatting the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Indeed, for the first few years of the war, Ankara’s commitment to regime change led Turkey to impose few restrictions on the transit of anti-Assad fighters across the border into Syria. Even as the Islamic State spread in eastern Syria and the influence of al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate grew among the northern opposition — including groups Turkey worked with — toppling Assad remained the focus of Erdogan’s policy. Ultimately, Erdogan believed the specific threat the Islamic State posed to Turkey could be managed through a live-and-let live approach: if Turkey left the Islamic State alone in Syria, the Islamic State would not conduct attacks in Turkey. Erdogan therefore saw cooperation against the Islamic State as a favor to Washington, rather than something that was vital to Turkish national security. Thus he was intent on extracting a concession in return — namely, a commitment for the U.S. military to directly confront the Assad regime. That condition proved to be a deal breaker. Imposing a no-fly zone would require the United States to take out Syria’s air defenses and shoot down Syrian aircraft. In the absence of a clear military end game, an international mandate, or domestic authorization, Obama was unwilling to enter into a direct conflict with the Assad regime. Moreover, the Pentagon told the president that a no-fly zone would require significant air and ISR assets to police it, directly trading off with the scarce resources needed for the anti-Islamic State campaign and operations in Afghanistan. YPG women fighters stand near a check point in the outskirts of the destroyed Syrian town of Kobani, Syria. Photo credit: AHMET SIK/Getty Images In the absence of U.S.-Turkey agreement, the Pentagon backed the only forces willing and able to take on the Islamic State in northern and eastern Syria: the YPG and affiliated Syrian Arab militias. After holding Kobani and regrouping, the YPG and their Arab allies went on the offensive in the spring of 2015. By mid-June they had seized Tal Abyad, one of two key Islamic State border crossings in northern Syria (the other being Jarabulus), gaining control of all but 60 miles of the Turkey-Syria border (see the maps below). Capturing Tal Abyad was particularly consequential since the Islamic State used the crossing to flow men, leaders, material, and explosive mixtures directly south into Raqqa, and often on to Iraq. Meanwhile, Erdogan’s belief that Turkey could avoid being attacked by the Islamic State proved unfounded. On July 20, 2015, a bombing carried out by the Islamic State killed 33 people and wounded more than 100 in the southern Turkish city of Suruc. Many of the victims were Kurds. Several days later, PKK militants killed two Turkish policemen, claiming the attack as retaliation for Turkey conspiring with the Islamic State. On July 22, 2015, following a phone call between Obama and Erdogan, Turkey agreed to open up Incirlik and other Turkish air bases to the U.S. coalition; strike missions began a few weeks later. Erdogan’s decision was prompted by the growing threat posed by the Islamic State. But, even more, it was motivated by Erdogan’s desire to check Kurdish expansion. Washington and Ankara agreed to work to identify vetted Syrian opposition forces to clear the Islamic State from the remaining 60 miles of the border not controlled by the Kurds — an area between the crossings at Azaz (in northwestern Syria) and Jarabulus (on the bank of the Euphrates River) known as the Manbij pocket. But Turkey was slow to identify opposition forces willing to prioritize fighting the Islamic State over Assad.The Pentagon’s “train-and-equip” program intended to stand up 5,000 opposition fighters per year struggled for the same reason, and had to be reoriented to focus on groups already combating the Islamic State on the ground. As a result, despite devoting nearly half of coalition ISR and strike missions flown out of Incirlik in this period to operations in the Manbij pocket, little progress was made. In the face of these challenges, U.S. reliance on the YPG to combat the Islamic State continued to deepen. In October 2015, the Obama administration deployed a contingent of 50 U.S. special operations forces to improve training, planning, and support to Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces east of the Euphrates, who were rebranded as the SDF. During another vice presidential trip to Istanbul in January 2016, Biden and other senior U.S. officials spent hours poring over maps of Iraq and Syria with Erdogan and his aides. Top on Biden’s agenda was conveying to Erdogan the urgent need to clear the Islamic State from Manbij City. The city was a key transit point for foreign fighters, a primary supply line to Raqqa, and a hub for Islamic State militants involved in external plotting. Indeed, U.S. officials believed that a number of the individuals involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks passed through Manbij. The U.S. proposal was to use the SDF to cross the Euphrates and push west to the city. But Ankara objected, seeing any SDF move into the Manbij pocket as a step toward unifying Kurdish cantons, and thus a geographic red line. In lieu of the SDF, Erdogan assured Biden that Turkey had thousands of opposition fighters ready to move east from the Azaz-Marea corridor area toward Jarabulus and then turn south to Manbij City. The Obama administration agreed to hold off on using the SDF to work with Turkey. Yet only a few hundred Turkish-backed fighters materialized. In April, a small Turkish-backed force composed of Turkman, Free Syrian Army, and Salafist factions — supported by coalition air power — made a push to seize al-Rai (22 miles east of Azaz) and a number of other border villages moving toward Jarabulus. After some initial success, however, Islamic State militants regrouped and routed the Turkish-backed groups. On net, the operation lost ground. With the Turkish play a bust, the United States once again swung behind the SDF alternative. In late May 2016, the SDF crossed the Euphrates headed toward Manbij City. After months of bloody battle, with thousands of casualties on both sides, the Islamic State stronghold fell to the SDF on August 12. Two weeks later, Turkey finally discovered a larger opposition force and decided to intervene in Syria. Turkish Army soldiers walk by tanks set to join a contingent for Turkey's operation Euphrates Shield on August 25, 2016. Photo credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images The Obama administration had promised that all YPG forces would move back east across the Euphrates following the liberation and stabilization of Manbij City. The failure of a small cadre of YPG to do so, as well as Ankara’s perception that the Arab-majority Manbij Military Council governing the city served as YPG proxies, heightened Turkish fears that Syrian Kurds might soon take over the rest of the border. The establishment of defensive positions by the SDF north of Manbij City, in proximity to Jarabulus, magnified this perception. Compounding matters, in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016 by supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric residing in Pennsylvania, relations between Ankara and Washington deteriorated further. A trip by Biden to Ankara in late August prevented the relationship from going completely off the rails, but serious tensions over the failure to extradite Gulen and continued U.S. support for the SDF persisted. On August 24 (the same day as Biden’s visit), Turkish-backed opposition forces, supported by Turkish special operations troops and tanks, launched “Operation Euphrates Shield,” crossing into Jarabulus to push out the Islamic State and, most especially, contain the Kurds. As Turkish-backed forces moved south, quick intercession by the U.S. military and diplomats was required to narrowly avert a major clash with the SDF near Manbij City. Although Turkey had given the United States almost no warning of the operation, the Obama administration quickly offered U.S. special operations forces, ISR, and air support to Euphrates Shield, encouraging Turkish-backed militants to move west and southwest to clear Islamic State fighters from a string of additional border towns. After six months of fighting, Euphrates Shield culminated in the seizure of al-Bab, on the southern edge of the Manbij pocket, creating a 772-square mile buffer zone controlled by the Turks (see map). In many respects, Euphrates Shield represented the type of joint endeavor against the Islamic State first discussed in the fall of 2014. Yet it took nearly two years for Erdogan’s calculations regarding the Islamic State to shift sufficiently to justify direct Turkish intervention. More than anything else, however, Erdogan’s move was about the Kurds. In one of the many ironies of the Syrian war, it was Erdogan’s earlier reluctance to focus on the Islamic State that produced the very dynamic — close U.S.-YPG ties — that eventually forced Turkey’s hand. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Turkish president Abdullah Gul attend the funeral of a victim of the coup attempt in Istanbul on July 17, 2016. Photo credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images Where Do We Go From Here? Regardless of where one places the blame for the current predicament, we are where we are. The key question is: What can the Trump administration do about it? Given the vital national interest the United States has in defeating the Islamic State, it would be unwise to abandon the SDF at this point, despite the frictions with Turkey. And it is hard to see the Trump administration doing so. During an April 26 event in Washington, for example, retired Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff, the current U.S. deputy special envoy for defeating the Islamic State, noted that the SDF represent the “only viable effort to liberate Raqqa.” He then added: “How long can you allow [the Islamic State] and its external operations to wait? We have a sense of urgency here.” Not surprisingly, Turkish officials disagree. Erdogan will likely ask Trump to pause U.S. plans and reverse the decision to arm the YPG, arguing that the administration should support an assault on Raqqa utilizing thousands of Turkish-backed forces instead, essentially redirecting the groups mobilized for Euphrates Shield. Yet there is no such alternative force. The Pentagon estimates that the SDF totals 50,000 fighters, including 27,000 YPG and 23,000 Arab forces. In contrast, Turkey only marshalled a few thousand fighters for Euphrates Shield. Although some analysts believe that force may have now grown to perhaps 10,000-strong, they are needed to hold the buffer zone Turkey has created. And even if they could be freed up to assault Raqqa, their numbers remain too small — and the coherence and command-and-control of the motley assortment of groups too uncertain — to represent a credible alternative to the SDF for the foreseeable future. Moreover, as a simple matter of geography, Turkish forces and the armed opposition groups operating in the Euphrates Shield buffer zone are boxed in, and it is unclear how they would even get to Raqqa. Moving south and east from the Euphrates Shield area in an attempt to hook up to Raqqa from the south would require them to fight through Russian and Assad regime forces. And if they opted to assault Raqqa from the north, it would require a permissive corridor through SDF lines, which is hard to imagine, or seizing the Tal Abyad crossing and then fighting through thousands of American-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, which would be disastrous (see the map below.) Nor would it be a good idea to substitute American G.I.s for the SDF in an effort to appease Turkish concerns. Last month, reports surfaced that senior National Security Council staff floated the option of sending tens of thousands of U.S. troops to Syria to seize Raqqa. Such a move, which would essentially represent an invasion of Syria, would be a major departure from the “indirect approach” that relies on local partners to seize and hold terrain. Beyond the costs in American lives, it would leave the U.S. military owning a Syrian city with more than 200,000 inhabitants with no exit strategy. It should come as no surprise that the Pentagon is not a fan of this option, and Trump has recently reiterated his desire to avoid sending large numbers of U.S. ground forces into combat against the Islamic State, as well as his reluctance to sink further into a Syrian quagmire. Given the paucity of good alternatives, the Trump administration should move ahead with the SDF option. But it should do so as part of a broader strategy aimed at mitigating Turkey’s concerns as much as possible. Such a plan should include at least five elements. First, even as Trump impresses upon Erdogan the urgent need to liberate Raqqa with the forces at hand, the administration needs to make a stronger case — both in private and in public — for the potential advantages to Turkey of the U.S. partnership with the YPG. The Raqqa operation orients the SDF away from the Turkish border and away from further attempts to link Kurdish cantons. American backing also provides important influence over YPG cadre in north central and northeastern Syria, limiting the prospect that the YPG will pursue an alternative alignment with Russia and Iran, which could prove much more detrimental to Turkish interests. The U.S. relationship with the YPG and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), also positions the United States to potentially play a quiet mediating role between Turkey and the PKK in the event the parties are willing to re-start peace talks. This is something that should be in Erdogan’s interest given the toll the PKK insurgency has taken on Turkish society, and the fact that there is no purely military solution to the conflict. Moreover, having consolidated executive power, Erdogan’s political need to whip up anti-Kurdish sentiment should theoretically be lessened. It is important to remember that, from 2012 to early 2015, Erdogan previously pursued a strategy that aimed to end the war with the PKK via a negotiated settlement. Simultaneously, the Turkish government engaged the PYD/YPG in the hopes of driving a wedge between them and the PKK. This strategy collapsed in 2015 as the cycle of PKK violence reignited and Erdogan’s own political interests in checking Kurdish political gains in Turkey led him to take a harder line. One key task for Trump, therefore, is to make the case to Erdogan that it is in Turkey’s interest to return to a version of this earlier approach — and that the U.S. dealmaker-in-chief is prepared to help. Second, to address Ankara’s concerns that U.S. assistance to the YPG could produce a direct military threat to Turkey, Trump should commit to being fully transparent with Erdogan about the nature of the military support the United States is providing to the SDF. U.S. defense officials have said the assistance will include small arms, machine guns, ammunition, armored vehicles, and engineering equipment. The administration should follow through with a Pentagon proposal to meter the quality and quantity of the weapons and ammunition it provides to YPG forces such that it enables the Raqqa operation while posing as little danger to Turkey as possible. And the administration should present a credible mechanism to track weapons provided to the YPG so they do not end up across the border in the hands of the PKK. Any heavy weapons provided should also be returned to the United States following the Raqqa campaign. Third, Trump should outline a broader modus vivendi between Ankara and the SDF that, while far from ideal from Erdogan’s perspective, would preserve core Turkish interests in containing Kurdish ambitions and sustaining the U.S.-Turkey alliance. The Trump administration must define and enforce clear and credible limiting conditions on the expansion of the Kurds’ territorial control and influence in Syria. In practice, that means the United States should be willing to deliver a total SDF withdrawal across the east bank of the Euphrates, leaving Manbij City to be administered by groups acceptable to Turkey. It also means providing additional U.S. assistance to Turkey’s efforts to consolidate its Euphrates Shield buffer zone — both as a hedge against the return of the Islamic State and to ensure that the Kurds do not link their cantons and control the entire Turkey-Syria border. The administration should restate U.S. opposition to an independent Kurdish state in northern Syria. And it should push for the inclusion of non-PYD and non-Kurdish political organizations Turkey can live with in SDF-administered areas east of the Euphrates, including in Raqqa once the city is liberated. Furthermore, it is imperative that Trump does more to reassure Erdogan that the United States continues to regard the PKK as a terrorist organization, offering more intelligence and assistance to head off PKK attacks. To further address Turkish security concerns, the administration should make it crystal clear to the YPG that a continued operational relationship with the PKK — especially in the context of ongoing PKK attacks in Turkey — will make any long-term, post-Raqqa relationship with the United States unviable. Even as it takes steps to address legitimate Turkish concerns, however, Trump must insist that Erdogan take reciprocal actions to address the concerns of Syrian Kurds. If the SDF fully withdraws east of the Euphrates, for example, Turkey should facilitate the creation of a secure transportation corridor across its buffer zone to allow the movement of Kurdish civilians between disconnected Kurdish cantons. In exchange for greater participation of openly pro-Turkish political organizations in SDF-controlled areas, Turkey should also agree to tolerate a future Syrian government that provides a degree of local autonomy to SDF-controlled areas in northern Syria. And, in return for the YPG distancing itself from the PKK, the Trump administration should offer the SDF continued U.S. assistance. Finally, Trump should be prepared to present options to address Erdogan’s concerns regarding the PKK outside of Syria, especially in northern Iraq. Erdogan is very worried about the presence of the PKK in the Sinjar mountain region, one of the areas bombed on April 25, fearing that the PKK will work with Iran to establish a “land bridge” to ship weapons from Iran to Syria via Iraq. Here, the United States has unique influence with all the relevant parties, and Trump should offer to use that influence. As a recent International Crisis Group report usefully suggests, the administration could potentially leverage U.S. relationships with the YPG, Iraqi Kurdistan President Barzani, and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to remove the PKK from Sinjar. Trump could also offer to intercede with Baghdad, warning Abadi that attempts by Iranian-backed Shiite militia to build a land bridge into Syria could prompt a military confrontation between Iraq and Turkey and complicate the long-term military partnership Abadi seeks with the United States after the fall of Mosul. None of these actions represent a silver bullet. And none will be an easy sell for Erdogan. No amount of reassurance or compensation by the Trump administration will lead Turkey to accept the U.S. relationship with the YPG. But, taken together, the steps suggested here may be just enough to prevent the campaign against the Islamic State and the U.S.-Turkey alliance from sliding into the abyss — something that should be in the interest of both countries. As with many of the global challenges Trump faces, the president is undoubtedly discovering that events in northern Syria are complicated. Indeed, there may be no more complicated piece of terrain on the planet. But with U.S. forces caught in the middle of escalating Turkey-Kurd tensions and Erdogan’s impending arrival to Washington, the president has no choice but to grapple with this complexity. Fast.


Nasrollahzadeh M.,University of Qom | Mohammad Sajadi S.,Kurdistan Regional Government
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science | Year: 2016

For the first time the extract of the plant of Euphorbia granulate was used to green synthesis of Pd nanoparticles (NPs) as a heterogeneous catalyst for the phosphine-free Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reaction at room temperature. This method is a facile and eco-friendly way in organic synthesis using the plant extract as biomedia, bioreductant and capping ligand which considerably stabilizes the surface of Pd NPs. The presence of flavonoid and phenolics acids in the extract could be responsible for the reduction of Pd2+ ions and formation of the corresponding Pd NPs. © 2015 Elsevier Inc..


NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or the "Company") announces that the Company has entered into a letter agreement (the "Amending Agreement") with its major shareholder, Crest Energy International, LLC ("Crest"), to further extend the date by which the Company must deliver to Crest the first drawdown notice (the "Drawdown Deadline") for both debt tranches. The most recent amendment to the Company's debt facility better aligns the timing of the debt availability with the anticipated capital needs. Pursuant to the terms of the Loan Agreement, Crest has agreed to provide debt financing to the Company of up to US$200 million in two tranches. One tranche is for up to US$50 million (the "$50M Tranche") and the other tranche is for up to US$150 million (the "$150M Tranche"). Once an initial draw has been made under a tranche, the drawn amounts accrue interest at 14 and 12 percent per annum under the $50M Tranche and the $150M Tranche, respectively, and the undrawn amount under the tranches accrues a commitment fee of 8 percent per annum. Pursuant to the Amending Agreement, the Drawdown Deadline for the $50M Tranche has been extended from March 1, 2017 to May 1, 2017. In addition, the maturity date for this tranche has also been extended from March 1, 2019 to May 1, 2019. The Drawdown Deadline for the $150M Tranche has been extended from August 1, 2017 to November 1, 2017, with a corresponding extension of the maturity date for this tranche from August 1, 2019 to November 1, 2019. This deferral of the deadlines provides the Company with an opportunity to reduce commitment fees and interest costs as it does not expect to need to access any funds until the second quarter of 2017 based upon the currently anticipated level and timing of capital expenditures. The other terms of the Loan Agreement remain in effect, including the above-mentioned interest rates and commitment fees, as well as the condition precedent to drawdown that nothing has occurred since the closing of the Loan Agreement on November 18, 2014 (the "Closing Date") which could reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company (as defined in the Loan Agreement). The Amending Agreement preserves Crest's right to determine if a material adverse effect has occurred since the Closing Date at the time that any drawdown notice is provided by the Company. WesternZagros is an international natural resources company focused on acquiring properties and exploring for, developing and producing crude oil and natural gas in Iraq. WesternZagros, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, holds a 40 percent working interest in two Production Sharing Contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WesternZagros's shares trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WZR". NEITHER THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE This news release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to, but not limited to, timing for expected capital expenditures and need to access additional funds. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with words such as "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "potential", "could", "should" or similar words suggesting future outcomes. The Company cautions readers and prospective investors in the Company's securities to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information as, by its nature, it is based on current expectations regarding future events that involve a number of assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros. Forward looking information is not based on historical facts but rather on management's current expectations as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to management, concerning, among other things, development plans and concepts, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), expected drilling results, the continued ability to sell production in the domestic or export markets and the payments to be received in connection therewith, anticipated operating costs, future economic conditions, future currency and exchange rates, continued political stability, continued security in the Kurdistan Region, timely receipt of any necessary co-venturer, government or regulatory approvals, the successful resolution of any disputes and the participation of the Company's co-venturers in joint activities. Although the Company believes the expectations and assumptions reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking information involves significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros including, but not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry (e.g. operational risks in development and production; inherent uncertainties in interpreting geological data; changes in plans with respect to capital expenditures; interruptions in operations together with any associated insurance proceedings; the uncertainty of estimates and projections in relation to timing, costs and expenses and health, safety and environmental risks), the risk of commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, risks relating to domestic refining capacity and continuing ability to access the domestic market, risks relating to the ability to access export markets and receive payments in accordance with the PSC terms on a timely basis, the uncertainty associated with any dispute resolution proceedings, the uncertainty associated with negotiating with foreign governments and risk associated with international activity, including the lack of federal petroleum legislation and ongoing political disputes and recent terrorist activities in Iraq in particular. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that these factors and risks are difficult to predict. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and, except as required by law, WesternZagros does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. See the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 16, 2016 ("AIF") filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for a further description of these risks and uncertainties facing WesternZagros. Additional information relating to WesternZagros is also available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, including the Company's AIF.


NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or the "Company") is pleased to announce a 60 percent increase in the Company's Proved plus Probable ("2P") Reserves and a 250 percent increase in the net present value of the future net revenue of such reserves discounted at 10 percent ("NPV10"). The Company is also pleased to provide an Operational Update and confirmation of receipt of all proceeds for 2016 oil sales. The Company's Reserves as at December 31, 2016 were evaluated by the Company's independent reserves evaluators, Sproule International Limited ("Sproule") for the Sarqala Jeribe / Upper Dhiban reservoir on the Garmian Block located in Kurdistan, Iraq in a report dated February 28, 2017 (the "2016 Sproule Report"). The 2016 Sproule Report has been prepared in accordance with the definitions, standards and procedures contained in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook ("COGEH") and National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities ("NI51-101"). Highlights of the 2016 Sproule Report in comparison with the reserves evaluation completed by Sproule as at December 31, 2015 include: The table below presents highlights from the 2016 Sproule Report for both WesternZagros's Working Interest (Gross) and Gross Block 2P Reserves volumes, together with 2015 YE estimates for comparison. In addition, as a result of the increased Reserves recognized in the 2016 Sproule Report the Company is now able to reverse the non-cash impairments of property, plant and equipment recorded in previous years(3). Commenting on the Company's 2016 YE 2P Reserves, Simon Hatfield, WesternZagros's CEO said, "We are pleased that the steady performance of Sarqala-1 has allowed us to continue the conversion of Prospective Resources into Reserves at Garmian. The well continues to produce at over 5,000 barrels of oil per day and has produced almost 4.5 million barrels of high quality crude with no water or H2S to date. The Company's forward production estimates predict that, under the current 2P reserves scenario, Sarqala-1 will ultimately produce over 13 million barrels of crude. Although our material balance calculations indicate additional reserves below the current lowest known oil, COGEH guidelines restrict the estimates to the deepest known oil evident on well logs at Hasira-1. We have been and will continue to be annually subject to the stringent Canadian securities requirements of reserves and contingent resources reporting although we remain optimistic about our ability to continue to increase reserve estimates as drilling and production continues." The increases to the Company's Reserves are due to the conversion of Prospective Resources to Reserves and are based on the performance of the Sarqala-1 well. The conversion to Reserves is supported by the Company's material balance analysis to reconcile the modest pressure decline observed during production and the continued absence of produced water at the Sarqala-1 well. 2016 YE Reserves are now assessed down to a revised depth of -3574 metres subsea ("ss"), which is the depth of lowest known oil as indicated on petrophysical logs in the Hasira-1 well whereas the 2015 YE Reserves were assessed down to -3501 metres ss, the depth of the top of the pay zone from logs in the Hasira-1 well (see figures 1 and 2 below). The Company's internal material balance analyses support the further presence of oil reserves below the lowest known oil interpreted from petrophysical logs in the Hasira-1 well. However, COGEH guidelines in accordance with NI 51-101 limit the estimation of reserves to the lowest known oil in Hasira-1. As such, the Company expects that the reserves estimates will increase further once additional wells penetrate the Jeribe/Upper Dhiban oil reservoir at greater depths than the Hasira-1 penetration. The following map and cross-section illustrate the reservoir configuration associated with the revised lowest known oil at -3574 metres ss. The darker green shaded areas represent Reserves and the light shaded green area represents Prospective Resources. Fig 1 - Top Jeribe (top reservoir) Depth Structure Map showing the difference between 2015 YE and 2016 YE Base Reserves (Lowest Known Oil). To view figure 1, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/1087332_fig1.jpg Fig 2 - Schematic Cross-Section illustrating 2016 YE Base Reserves defined by Lowest Known Oil in the H-1 well. To view figure 2, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/1087332_fig2.jpg Additional information related to the 2016 Sproule Report and the Reserves estimates is included in the Appendix below and certain advisories and relevant definitions related to the Reserves and Resources are noted at the end of this news release. Sproule's audit of the revised estimates of Prospective Resources resulting from the conversion to Reserves and other technical factors for the Garmian Block discussed above is pending and revised estimates will be included in the Company's 2016 Annual Oil and Gas Statement (see the Appendix below under "Additional Information"). In relation to the material increase in Reserves, a material reduction in the Prospective Resources is anticipated. On the Company's other development project at Kurdamir, estimates of the Prospective and Contingent Resources are currently being audited by Sproule and will also be included in the Company's 2016 Annual Oil and Gas Statement. No material changes are anticipated. Subsequent to December 31, 2016, the Company received payment for outstanding oil sales proceeds of US$4.9 million related to the fourth quarter, resulting in no remaining outstanding receivables for 2016 sales. At Sarqala, WesternZagros's revenue for the 2016 fiscal year is estimated to be US$14.4 million (unaudited), which has been collected in accordance with production sharing contract entitlements. WesternZagros acknowledges the efforts made by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Government, despite the hardships the Region is under, to pay its oil producing contractors in accordance with their production sharing entitlements. The Sarqala-2 well on the Garmian Block is planned to be drilled in the third quarter of 2017. This is the Company's first Garmian development well targeted with the advantage of 3D seismic data and designed as a producing well for the Jeribe reservoir. Revised drilling and completion techniques will be used in Sarqala-2 and it is anticipated to be put on stream in early 2018 with the objective of tripling the current field production levels. In addition, the drilling of Sarqala-3 in 2018 is designed to further advance the project to 25,000 bbls per day by 2020. Recent Garmian oilfield service tender responses are reflecting a significant reduction in service industry costs in Kurdistan and WesternZagros expects to see future well costs decline by 15 percent or more over previous well estimates. Commenting on the Company's Operational as well as Regional updates, Hatfield said, "WesternZagros is very well positioned for long-term development opportunities - which we will pursue with our tradition of prudent capital management and paced development. We are pleased to see that the Kurdistan Regional Government is committed to regular payments to IOCs. The KRG's economic reforms initiated in 2015 aimed at reducing expenditures have resulted in a significant drop in their deficit. We also are encouraged by their development of new markets worldwide for Kurdistan crude oil as seen with the recent new financing and oil sales arrangements. We remain committed to a strong partnership and are optimistic about our projects and the long-term future of the Kurdistan Region." A summary table from the 2016 Sproule Report and from the reserve report prepared by Sproule as at December 31, 2015 and dated March 16, 2016 (the "2015 Sproule Report") are presented below and show the significant increases to the Proved, Probable and Possible Reserves categories. The table below presents a reconciliation of the Company's Gross Reserves by Product Type as at December 31, 2016 against such Reserves as at December 31, 2015 using forecast prices and costs. The forecast prices utilized by Sproule in the 2016 Sproule Report for estimating future net revenue from Reserves were based on Sproule's December 31, 2016 pricing model. The table below presents a summary of selected forecasts. The Company's weighted average historical price for 2015 was US$41.42 and for 2016 was US$36.41. To view the table associated with this release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/1087332_table.jpg Additional information related to the 2016 Sproule Report and the Reserves estimates is included in the Company's Material Change Report dated February 28, 2017, which is available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on its corporate website at www.WesternZagros.com. The reserves data provided in this news release and the Material Change Report present only a portion of the disclosure required under NI 51-101. The Company's oil and gas disclosure statement for the year ended December 31, 2016, which will include complete disclosure of the Company's oil and gas reserves and other oil and gas information in accordance with NI 51-101, will be contained in the Company's annual information form which will be available on SEDAR on or before March 31, 2017 (the "2016 Annual Oil and Gas Statement"). The 2016 Annual Oil and Gas Statement will also include updated estimates of Jeribe / Upper Dhiban Prospective Resources on the Garmian Block, as well as updated estimates of Prospective and Contingent Resources for the Company's other development project at Kurdamir. WesternZagros is an international natural resources company focused on acquiring properties and exploring for, developing and producing crude oil and natural gas in Iraq. WesternZagros, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, holds a 40 percent working interest in two Production Sharing Contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WesternZagros's shares trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WZR". This news release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to, but not limited to, expected costs and revenues and future development plans, including expected timing thereof and increased production rates therefrom. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with words such as "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "potential", "could", or similar words suggesting future outcomes. The Company cautions readers and prospective investors in the Company's securities to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information as, by its nature, it is based on current expectations regarding future events that involve a number of assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros. Forward looking information is not based on historical facts but rather on management's current expectations as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to management, concerning, among other things, development plans and concepts, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), the ability to identify appropriate financing transactions, the outcomes of future well operations, results of drilling activity and testing, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), the availability of debt financing or access to alternate financing, the continued ability to sell production in the domestic or export markets and the payments to be received in connection therewith, anticipated operating costs, future economic conditions, future currency and exchange rates, continued political stability, continued security in the Kurdistan Region, timely receipt of any necessary co-venturer, government or regulatory approvals, the successful resolution of any disputes, the Company's continued ability to employ qualified staff and to obtain equipment in a timely and cost efficient manner and the participation of the Company's co-venturers in joint activities. In addition, budgets are based upon WesternZagros's current development plans and anticipated costs, both of which are subject to change based on, among other things, the outcome of negotiations with co-venturers and the government, the actual outcomes of well operations and the installation and commissioning of facilities, unexpected delays, availability of future financing and changes in market conditions. Although the Company believes the expectations and assumptions reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking information involves significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros including, but not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry (e.g. operational risks in development and production; inherent uncertainties in interpreting geological data; changes in plans with respect to capital expenditures; interruptions in operations together with any associated insurance proceedings; the uncertainty of estimates and projections in relation to timing, costs and expenses and health, safety and environmental risks), the risk of commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, risks relating to domestic refining capacity and continuing ability to access the domestic market, risks relating to the ability to access export markets and receive payments in accordance with the terms of its production sharing contracts on a timely basis, the uncertainty associated with any dispute resolution proceedings, the uncertainty associated with negotiating with foreign governments and risk associated with international activity, including the lack of federal petroleum legislation and ongoing political disputes and recent terrorist activities in Iraq in particular. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that these factors and risks are difficult to predict. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and, except as required by law, WesternZagros does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. See the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Information Form (AIF) dated March 16, 2016 filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for a further description of these risks and uncertainties facing WesternZagros. Additional information relating to WesternZagros is also available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, including the Company's AIF. In addition, statements relating to reserves and other resources contained herein are deemed to be forward -looking statements, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the resources described can be economically produced in the future. Future net revenue values are estimated values only and do not represent fair market value. There is no assurance that the forecast prices and cost assumptions, the initial phases of the development plans as submitted to the KRG and anticipated future phases contemplated in completing the full field development utilized in such estimated values will be attained and variances could be material. The reserve estimates provided herein are estimates only and there is no assurance that the estimated reserves will be recovered. Actual reserves may be greater than or less than the estimates provided herein. Terms related to resource classifications referred to herein are based on the definitions and guidelines in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which are as follows. The reserves have been evaluated by Sproule International Limited ("Sproule"). "Reserves" are estimated remaining quantities of oil and natural gas and related substances anticipated to be recoverable from known accumulations, as of a given date, based on (a) analysis of drilling, geological, geophysical and engineering data, (b) the use of established technology and (c) specified economic conditions which are generally accepted as being reasonable and shall be disclosed. Reserves are classified as Proved, Probable or Possible according to the degree of certainty associated with the estimates. "Proved Reserves" are those Reserves that can be estimated with a high degree of certainty to be recoverable. It is likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 90 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. "Probable Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Proved Reserves. It is equally likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will be greater or less than the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable (2P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 2P Reserves. "Possible Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Probable Reserves. It is unlikely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable plus Possible (3P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 10 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 3P Reserves. "Contingent Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Contingent Resources have an associated chance of development (economic, regulatory, market and facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The Contingent Resources estimates referred to herein have not been risked for the chance of development. There is no certainty that the Contingent Resources will be developed and, if developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Contingent Resources. "Prospective Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations by application of future development projects. Prospective Resources have both an associated chance of discovery (geological chance of success) and a chance of development (economic, regulatory, market, facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The chance of commerciality is the product of these two risk components. Unless otherwise indicated, the estimates referred to herein have not been risked for either the chance of discovery or the chance of development. There is no certainty that any portion of the Prospective Resources will be discovered. If a discovery is made, there is no certainty that it will be developed or, if it is developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Prospective Resources. Gross Block resource estimates presented herein represent the total volumes for the indicated reservoirs attributable to 100 percent of the relevant block, without any adjustment for the Company's working interest therein whereas the Working Interest (Gross) or Company Gross resource estimates presented represent the Company's 40 percent working interest (operating or non-operating) share before deduction of royalty petroleum, profit petroleum, production bonuses and capacity building support payments pursuant to the provisions of the applicable contract. NEITHER THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE

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