More Kurdish oil possible, Gulf Keystone says

Kurdish region of northern Iraq is preparing from a referendum for independence next week.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Sept. 19, 2017 at 6:17 AM
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Sept. 19 (UPI) -- There's enough cash flow to invest in efforts needed to increase the level of crude oil production from the Kurdish north of Iraq, Gulf Keystone Petroleum said.

Gulf Keystone, which has headquarters in London, but a portfolio based in northern Iraq, in August reported total average gross production from its Shaikan oil field last year was at the upper range of its guidance. In an update on operations for the first six months of this year, CEO Jón Ferrier said work so far was in line with expectations, with gains likely in the latter half of the year.

"Whilst continuing to maintain a rigorous and disciplined approach to its cost base, Gulf Keystone remains cash flow positive and well placed to continue to invest in increasing production from Shaikan," he said in a statement.

The company said it continued to receive regular payments for its work from the Kurdish government. Cash balance at the end of June was $118.8 million and $133.8 million as of Monday. Provided a regular payment cycle continues, Ferrier said his company was prepared to make further investments to raise production as high as 55,000 barrels of oil per day.

Gross production for the third quarter was 35,550 bpd.

Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and agreed to cut about 210,000 barrels per day from its production under the terms of a managed decline agreement. The central government in Baghdad said in the past the semiautonomous Kurdish government wasn't contributing to the arrangement.

A referendum for Kurdish independence from Iraq is set for Sept. 25. Oil is exported north to Turkish ports and at times was the target of attacks from the group calling itself the Islamic State. Gulf Keystone said its operations in the Kurdish northern were "safe and secure" during the first half of the year.

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