By John Lee.
Shares in Irish-based exploration group Petroceltic International (PCI) were up 3 percent in early trading on Monday, following the release of its preliminary results.
The results included the following statement on its operations in Iraqi Kurdistan:
"Since 2005, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has become one of the most active exploration locations worldwide and delivered an unparalleled record of major discoveries. It has also become a very important new territory for major oil and gas companies, with strong transaction values for exploration acreage, appraisal assets and developed oil and gas discoveries.
"Petroceltic has devoted significant time and effort to developing an independent technical perspective on the prospectivity of the region and, in 2011, was successful in securing exploration licences in respect of the Shakrok and Dinarta blocks, each in partnership with Hess Corporation. During 2012, the joint venture successfully acquired over 458 kilometres of 2D seismic data and undertook detailed fieldwork to rank prospectivity and develop drilling plans for each block.
"This work has clearly demonstrated the material resource potential of both Dinarta and Shakrok, with a number of prospects assessed to contain prospective resources in excess of 500 MMbbl. The joint venture plans to commence drilling two of these high impact prospects in the second half of 2013 with rig contracting for two rigs and civil works for both locations on track to meet this schedule."
Robert Adair (pictured), Chairman of Petroceltic commented:
"Petroceltic has fundamentally transformed its business over the past year. The merger with Melrose in October 2012 has created a significant, regionally focussed, full cycle, independent oil and gas company. This combination has produced a company with stable finances and excellent growth prospects.
"Petroceltic has the technical expertise and ambition to develop further over the next 12 months while the recent announcement of our new $500 million financing facility represents a strong technical and financial endorsement of the quality of our producing assets and longer term growth ambitions of the Group.
"All key objectives set out at the end of last year have been met or exceeded. The Declaration of Commerciality, announced in December 2012, is a significant milestone in the development of our Algerian asset, this has allowed us to book reserves for the Ain Tsila asset for the first time.
"Looking forward, we have an exciting programme of exploration and appraisal planned over the coming 18 months with a minimum of 9 wells planned across our portfolio in North Africa, the Black Sea and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq".