Gulf Keystone Petroleum, a Bermuda-registered company listed on the London Stock Exchange, is the latest oil patch minnow to have struck oil in Iraqi Kurdistan. The oil junior, which in 2007 was a takeover target for the UAE's RAK Petroleum, yesterday announced a "significant" discovery with its very first well in the region. Based on preliminary data, it estimated the size of the discovery at between 300 million and 500 million barrels of oil in the ground. That is by no means huge by Iraqi standards, but it is another indication of the country's potential as a source of substantial new oil and natural gas reserves that are relatively easy to produce. Underexplored parts of the country such as Kurdistan, the semiautonomous northeastern region of Iraq, are especially rich in prospects. Gulf Keystone's oil strike is at a moderate depth of about 1,500 metres. The company's Shaikan-1 exploration well, located near the city of Dohuk, produced between 5,000 and 8,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude during tests. The oil quality is comparable to that of crude pumped from the Tawke oilfield, north-west of the Shaikan block, the company said. Tawke's oil is being exported by pipeline through Turkey. The field is being developed by Norway's DNO International and Genel Enerji, the Turkish oil producer that is due to merge with Heritage Oil, a Canadian oil junior. Heritage recently discovered an oilfield in Kurdistan containing up to 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. None of those enterprises approaches the stature of the major oil companies that last month bid on service contracts to raise production from some of Iraq's biggest oilfields. Two of them - Gulf Keystone and Heritage - produce very little oil and are not yet profiting from crude sales. Gulf Keystone, which describes itself as an "investment stage company", lost US$59.3 million (Dh217.8 m) last year. But Kurdistan is one of only a few jurisdictions believed to hold large untapped oil resources that encourages juniors to come and explore. And for a chance at a company-making discovery, a school of intrepid minnows have braved the immense political and legal uncertainties associated with operating in the region. BlackGold, a private Dubai company, said yesterday it had teamed up with DNO to explore for oil and gas near Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital. The company, a unit of the family-owned Dubai conglomerate Al Zarooni Enterprises, said it had also struck a deal with the Kurds over two newly leased exploration blocks. The exploration venture in Kurdistan may be BlackGold's first in the upstream oil sector. In a statement, it listed its main existing assets as an oil refinery and minerals operations in Ethiopia and South Africa. Kurdistan's regional government is locked in a war of wills with Baghdad over territory, resources jurisdiction and revenue sharing. The dispute has held up passage of a new federal oil law that is considered crucial for providing a legal foundation for any contracts held by foreign oil companies operating in Iraq. The Iraqi oil minister, Dr Hussain al Shahristani, has declared "illegal" more than two dozen deals that the Kurds have signed with foreign oil companies. Nonetheless, two months ago, the ministry allowed oil exports to start from the Kurdish region's Tawke and Taq Taq oilfields. The Iraqi government oil marketing agency is collecting the revenues, and there is still no agreement on how the foreign companies pumping the oil will get paid. Gulf Keystone was founded in 2001 by a group of Gulf investors and former state oil company managers to pursue oil production opportunities in Algeria. It switched its focus to Kurdistan in 2007, shortly after the proposed merger with RAK Petroleum fell through. That deal foundered when Algeria's government demanded a $10m payment to authorise the takeover. The Iraqi government's recent oil and gas licensing round, the first in post-war Iraq, attracted bids from the worlds biggest international oil companies and some national oil companies. But only one of the eight offered contracts was awarded, after most of the bidders baulked at the government's payment terms. Iraq's oil exports of 2 million bpd last month have now reached their highest level since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, but are still below their pre-war peak of 2.4 million bpd. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chief of Saudi chemicals giant Sabic urges regional innovation
- In pictures: Polar vortex gives new life to ageing US power plants
- Energy diplomacy with the Dana Gas chief executive
- Abu Dhabi ‘has learnt lessons from Fukushima’
- Adnoc will cut liquid fuel prices in Northern Emirates
- Regional oil and gas deals increase by 15 per cent in 2013
- Most Viewed
- Most Commented
- Landlord wants Palm Jumeirah tenants paying 50% below market rate to leave
- Dubai in talks over India hub at DWC, says Emirates Airline president Tim Clark
- US Customs post in Dubai could create challenges for carriers, Emirates Airline chief says
- Emirates Airline lines up A380 super jumbo for Boston route
- In pictures: Emirates’ inaugural non-stop flights to Boston
- Most Viewed
- Most Commented
- Federal Traffic Council approves proposal to lower UAE driving age
- Men ripped off woman’s clothes in bathroom, Abu Dhabi court hears
- Ties no longer mandatory for Dubai cabbies amid safety concerns
- OSN blames rival for TV sport blackout in the UAE as fans will have to buy new set-top boxes
- Live blog: With the emergency workers at Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre
Enrique Iglesias wows crowd at launch of Emirates Airline’s direct flights to Boston
The best-selling artist charmed guests during the gala dinner at Boston’s historic Wang, belting out classics ‘Hero’ and ‘Be With You’.
In pictures: World’s biggest Buddha statue manufacturer
Zagyin village in Myanmar is also known as the second birth place of Buddha because the village is the biggest location in the world that produces Buddha statue images of different sizes, with many exported to countries such as China and Thailand.
In pictures: Crashing Ford cars to make them safer on the road
It takes high-tech computing power, dummies fitted with up to $700,000 in sensors and about 600 full-scale crash tests a year to ensure Ford vehicles meet global safety standards.
Falcon Island launched in Ras Al Khaimah
All of the electricity for homes, street lighting, water desalination and cooling will be generated on the island, which will feature 150 luxury villas and mansions with private beaches.
Aldar announces plans to build 2,300 homes
The projects, funded by the Government of Abu Dhabi, are scheduled to be completed in 2016 and include 1,020 villas on Yas Island, 996 villas in Al Falah and 275 villas at Al Ghuraibah in Al Ain.
Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards
Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.