Afren buoyed by Kurdistan oil discovery

OIL explorer Afren said yesterday it had made a “significant” oil discovery in Kurdistan, adding to a string of discoveries that have attracted foreign oil companies to the semi-autonomous region of Iraq in recent years.

The FTSE 250-listed company said the find, made with its partner Hunt Oil, is in the Ain Sifni exploration block.

It said data suggested the results of the Simrit-2 well had “the potential to be transformational for Afren”.

The company’s shares jumped by more than six per cent after the announcement to close at 143p.

Afren previously said that Ain Sifni had prospective resources of 917m barrels.

Kurdistan remains locked in a dispute over oil revenue sharing with Baghdad, which says the contracts signed by the Kurdish government are illegal. This has blocked exports of crude from the region, weighing on the value of assets there.