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Kurdish oil export options shift

Gulf Keystone Petroleum says production and economics unchanged by the move.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Kurdish oil export options shift
Kurdish government of Iraq calls on companies to move all their oil exports by truck instead of cross-border pipelines. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A major player in the oil sector of the Kurdish north of Iraq said it was re-routing exports by government orders, but that won't impact production levels.

The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq said that, starting in February, all crude oil exported from its Shaikan field would move to Turkish export arteries by truck instead of by pipeline until further notice.

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According to Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which operates the field, the financial arrangements will remain the same and the Kurdish government has committed to covering the additional transportation costs.

"The company has been informed that the new arrangement is required by the Ministry of Natural Resources for its overall crude oil export quality management and is expected to be temporary," the company stated. "It is not expected to affect Shaikan production levels."

Gulf Keystone reported total average gross production for 2016 at 34,794 barrels of oil per day, at the upper range of its guidance for the year. The Kurdish government reported total crude oil production for September, the last full month for which it published data, was 562,878 barrels per day. Nearly all of that was sent to the export market.

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For production, the company said it aimed to reach a production plateau of around 40,000 bpd and up that to 55,000 bpd "as soon as possible."

Gulf Keystone CEO Jon Ferrier said the shift in exports was commercial neutral, but showed there was still an appetite for Kurdish oil.

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