Former BP chief executive Tony Hayward (pictured), who heads the cash-rich Genel Energy group, said he would be interested in buying Norwegian oil company DNO and its Kurdish oil licences.
Norwegian newspaper Finansavisen reported on Tuesday that the remarks come a week before DNO shareholders are to vote on a contested proposal to buy UAE-based RAK Petroleum for $250 million in shares, a deal that would boost RAK's current DNO stake to 40 percent from 30 percent.
"Everyone in the industry would say the same as I: the assets of DNO International are much more interesting than RAK Petroleum," Hayward said in an interview, the newspaper said.
"Just now we must await the results of this merger, but it's clear that DNO International could be interesting to us eventually."
Finansavisen said Hayward left no doubt that DNO was "absolutely something that Genel Energy could buy at some point."
DNO has produced up to 70,000 barrels of crude per day this year from its prize Tawke field in Kurdistan and announced on Monday that it had received a permit to explore in Tunisia. It also operates fields in Yemen.
Last month Hayward said Genel Energy planned to make acquisitions with its $2.2 billion in cash, targeting northern Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
In the interview published on Monday, Finansavisen said Hayward described RAK's gas fields off Oman and the Emirates as "quite simply not very interesting".
The DNO board and management proposal to buy RAK is scheduled for a shareholders' vote on Nov. 1, and is opposed by a faction of investors led by former DNO chairman Berge Gerdt Larsen.
His company Petrolia Invest said on Monday RAK faces a series of offshore platform removal projects that could cost more than the company's purported value of $250 million.