Gulf Keystone in $200m rights issue

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The Independent Online

Gulf Keystone, the Kurdistan-focused oil explorer, confirmed plans to raise $200m (£128m) through a rights issue to fund its rapid growth. The AIM-listed company, which is seeking admission to the main market next year, has issued 91 million new shares at 140p and will use the cash to develop its Shaikan discovery in Kurdish Iraq.

It also needs money to build a pipeline connecting the site to the existing 600-mile pipeline between Kirkuk in Iraq and Ceyhan in Turkey.

Keystone, which denies talk of a takeover, is seeking to raise a further $350m through the sale of its 20 per cent stake in Akri-Bijeel, another oil block in Kurdistan.

The semi-autonomous region of Northern Iraq has become popular with oil companies as a deal with Baghdad to formally recognise contracts signed in Kurdish Iraq looks increasingly likely to be agreed. After putting off investing in Kurdistan for years, companies such as Repsol from Spain and Marathon Oil and Hess from the US are now moving in.