Maersk Oil to Acquire 40% of Two Kurdistan Exploration Blocks


COPENHAGEN, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Maersk Oil, a unit of oil and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk, has received Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) approval to buy 40 percent stakes in two exploration blocks from Repsol Oriente Medio S.A..

Repsol will continue to operate exploration activities and also hold 40 percent interests in them. The Kurdistan Regional Government will hold the remaining 20 percent stakes in each block, Maersk Oil said in a statement.

The price for the stakes was not disclosed.

The two blocks, Piramagrun and Qala Dze, are located about 150 kilometres east of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Blocks are used to describe areas with potential for oil or gas production.

In 2012, Spanish Repsol undertook a significant 2D seismic acquisition programme which identified a number of drilling targets, Maersk Oil said.

"Being present and active in one of the world's most promising and prolific exploration basins is a fundamental part of Maersk Oil's strategy," Chief Executive Jakob Thomasen said in the statement.

Maersk Oil produced 229,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter of 2013 but is targeting 400,000 barrels per day for 2020.

"We expect our position in Kurdistan region of Iraq to help us sustain the target production level beyond 2020," Thomasen said.

Maersk Oil has said it will spend $3 billion to $5 billion annually on developing projects.

Crude from Kurdistan used to be shipped to Turkey through a pipeline controlled by Baghdad, but those exports dried up a year ago due to a row over payments for oil companies operating in the region. Iraqi Kurdistan is confident it can soon find a compromise with Baghdad in a row over oil exports from the autonomous region via a new pipeline to Turkey, a spokesman said on Monday.

(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Richard Chang)


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