Gulf Keystone to seek main market listing

Kasmira Jefford
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GULF Keystone Petroleum, the Kurdistan-focused oil explorer listed on the alternative investment market, said yesterday it is targeting a move up to the main listing in the first half of next year.

“As at 12 September 2011, the company had a market capitalisation of £1.2bn which would place it comfortably in the higher echelons of the FTSE 250 index if it were currently eligible,” chief executive Todd Kozel said in a statement yesterday.

The company, which has made huge oil discoveries in Kurdistan, also announced plans to exit a project with Hungary’s Mol Nyrt to fund other operations in the region.

Gulf Keystone will sell its 20 per cent interest in the Akri-Bijeel block, estimated to hold around 2.4bn barrels of oil, for around $350m, the company said yesterday.

It plans to use the proceeds to help fund the development of its Shaikan field, the group’s first Kurdistan discovery in 2009.

Interest in Kurdistan has surged over the year as relations between Iraq’s central and regional governments improved.

The semi-autonomous government of Kurdistan has been haggling with Baghdad over its right to hand out licences and collect tax revenue from the oil production, which oil majors are confident will soon be resolved.

Gulf Keystone rose in early morning trading before closing down 1.24 per cent yesterday at 179.25p.