Kurdish oil production expectations high

Gulf Keystone Petroleum sets sights on a 70 percent jump in medium term production.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Jan. 22, 2018 at 5:50 AM
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Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Kurdish oil player Gulf Keystone Petroleum said it wants to set up a commercial framework necessary to boost gross production by as much as 70 percent.

The company, issuing guidance ahead of its full-year 2017 report, said its production expectations were met last year and it was looking to stimulate output from the high end of its guidance for 2018 to around 55,000 barrels of oil per day. CEO Jón Ferrier said it has the potential to eventually reach 100,000 bpd.

"We are very pleased with the progress made to date on the commercial and operational matters to implement this and look forward to concluding commercial matters in the near future," he said in a statement.

In front-office news, Gulf Keystone Petroleum said Chairman Keith Lough was stepping down after less than two years. Chief Strategy Officer Nadhim Zahawi resigned in December after two and half years.

The company, which has headquarters in London, was the target of an unsolicited takeover from rival Iraqi player DNO, a Norwegian oil company. In 2015, it had mulled possible partnerships, but emerged the following year with an agreement with the majority of its creditors and shareholders to restructure its debt obligations.

Guidance for the year is around 32,000 bpd at the high end and the company said its range was limited because of the lack of upstream infrastructure. Gross production for the third quarter was 35,550 bpd.

A referendum for Kurdish independence from Iraq was set for Sept. 25 and met with opposition from the federal government in Baghdad. A military confrontation that coincided with the liberation of parts of northern Iraq from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State left the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government without a hold over the oil in the contested province of Kirkuk.

Two pipelines run north to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea. One was badly damaged by years of fighting. British energy company BP may be called to rehabilitate oil fields and related infrastructure.

According to Gulf Keystone Petroleum, oil from its Shaikan oil field started flowing north to Turkey again in mid November.

"The company sees the latest export development as confirmation of the suitability of the Shaikan crude within the Kurdish blend," its statement read.

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