Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., an oil and gas explorer focusing on Kurdistan, plans to exit a project with (1 4870 HUF, 0,61%) to concentrate on other fields in the region. Gulf will sell its 20 percent stake in the Akri-Bijeel block, with about 2.6 billion barrels of oil in place in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, said Chief Executive Officer Todd Kozel.
In our view, Gulf Keystone sees the market for its asset. Indeed, robust oil prices as well as brightening outlook for the Kurdistani oil exports create a growing demand for exploration assets in the country. Oil exports, which were suspended last week because of mechanical disruptions, have resumed from Kurdistan. It is also expected that the Iraqi central government and Kurdistan Regional Government to overcome disagreements over a proposed petroleum law and complete the bill by the end of the year. For the Gulf Keystone exit might mean the following:
- Its potential in the project will become a market valuation, which in turn might prompt some investors see upstream potential in the firm
- It creates an opportunity to purchase a 20% stake to become a full owner. We believe it is not a necessary thing to do due to potentially rich valuation of the deal. Moreover, the 80% ownership provides with all necessary tools and privileges to carry on with its investments disregarding of the minority owner.
- There could be some risks related to the new partner. It is unclear what would be its plans and CapEx, and in worst case might lead to delays in some exploration works, which we believe is very unlikely.
We see the news as broadly neutral for .