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Gulf Keystone giddy about Iraqi oil prospects

Sept. 20, 2013 at 7:44 AM

LONDON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Gulf Keystone Petroleum, after a long court battle, said it was "delighted" with commercial production from its Shaikan projects in the Kurdish north of Iraq.

Gulf Keystone was awarded a court victory in London last week over its claims to the Shaikan oil field. The company was sued by Excalibur Ventures, operated by two former U.S. soldiers, which claimed it steered Gulf Keystone toward the field. The court ruled Excalibur had "no valid claim," The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Todd Kozel, chief executive of Gulf Keystone, said the victory opened the door to key developments.

"We are delighted to have entered the first phase of commercial production, which was eagerly awaited by the company's shareholders," he said in a statement Thursday. "It is an important milestone and another highlight of the four years of hard work since striking oil in August 2009."

Gulf Keystone said gross production from the first phase of Shaikan totaled 183,000 barrels of oil and nearly all of it was sold on the Iraqi market.

Gulf Keystone, a company with headquarters in London, indicated in June the Shaikan field could hold as much as 10.5 billion barrels of oil. The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said production would start at 40,000 barrels of oil per day and reach 250,000 bpd by 2018.

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