Gulf Keystone ready for 'exciting year' after oil discovery in Iraq

LONDON (ShareCast) - Gulf Keystone Petroleum, the AIM-listed oil and gas group focused in Iraq, said that oil has been found at its part-owned Bakrman-1 exploration well.

Operator MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas announced that the well had made a new Triassic discovery, the second discovery on the Akri-Bijell Block, in which Gulf Keystone owns a 20% stake. It flowed at a rate of 2,616 barrels of light oil per day and a gas rate of 5.86m standard cubic feet per day.

Bakrman-1, which spudded in May 2012, is the first well to target the Bakrman structure on the block. Well testing is ongoing and expected to be completed by April.

"The second discovery on the Akri-Bijeel block marks the beginning of an exciting year for Gulf Keystone. We look forward to joining the ranks of key producers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in 2013," said Chief Operating Officer John Gerstenlauer. 

Elsewhere on the block, the company said it was forced to abandon the Bijell-3 well after it didn't find a commercial inflow of hydrocarbons. However, the appraisal programme of the Bijell discovery continues with a number of other wells already in place.

Meanwhile, the company said that it is nearing the completion of its production facility on the Shaikan Block, and despite the cold and snowy weather conditions and delays in the shipping schedule, it would be up and running by next month.

Gerstenlauer said: "In addition to drilling a number of development wells on Shaikan, as well as our first deep exploration well, we anticipate further positive results of the extensive exploration, appraisal and early production programme on the Akri-Bijeel block."

Shares were up 1.68% at 202.35p in early trading on Wednesday.