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 Good progress in Iraqi Kurdistan for Gulf Keystone

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Good progress in Iraqi Kurdistan for Gulf Keystone  16.6.2011  
By Fiona Bond

May 16, 2011

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has made good progress in its plans to export 5,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from its Kurdistan operations, it announced on Tuesday.

The AIM-listed oil and gas exploration and production company is currently in the commissioning phase of the campaign from its extended well test facility close to Shaikan-1 and Shaikan-3.

The commissioning phase, involving final preparations, customary checks and tests on all elements of the process, is underway to allow the company to steadily ramp up export volumes to 5,000 bopd, with an eight-month target of over 10,000 bopd.

To date, just over 3,700 barrels of oil have been delivered to the storage tank facilities at the export pipeline injection point.

An employee works at oil fields in the semiautonomous Kurdish region in Iraq's north. Photo: Getty Images
Prior to the beginning the commissioning phase, the storage tank at the facility was emptied of around 21,000 barrels of oil, which it has since sold to the domestic market.

In May, Gulf Keystone announced that the Kurdistan Regional Government had asked it to begin initial exports from its site, which it hailed as "an extremely positive development for all the oil producers in the Kurdistan region of Iraq".

Chief operating officer John Gerstenlauer commented: "Gulf Keystone is making good progress toward commencing oil exports from our Shaikan facilities at the initial intended rate of 5,000 bopd following the current commissioning phase.

"We look forward to delivering stabilised export volumes of Shaikan crude for shipment via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline."

News of its progress in Kurdistan came as it was revealed that one of the company's largest shareholders transferred in excess of 11 million shares to chief executive Todd Kozel - without his knowledge.

In an announcement made on Monday, the company said it had "examined changes" in the share register for the month of May and found that Kozel had been given the 11.6 million shares.

A further four million shares were given to Ali Al-Qabandi, the business development director, while 20.4 million shares were transferred to United Arab Emirates company Gibca.

The shares were transferred from Gulf Keystone Petroleum LLC, which previously held 40 million shares, representing a 5.25% interest in the company.

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