February 26, 2020 / 12:42 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Genel open to M&A in Kurdistan region of Iraq and beyond -CFO

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OSLO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - London-based Genel Energy is considering whether to expand its operations in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan, as well as elsewhere, its chief financial officer told an energy conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

“There are both M&A opportunities inside the Kurdistan and outside, and we are open to that,” Esa Ikaheimonen said.

“We have net cash of about $100 million ... we have got the financial position that allows us to do it,” he added.

The company has the technical ability to seek deals outside the Kurdish region, although it was unlikely to follow the example of competitor DNO, which in recent years added the North Sea to its portfolio, he added.

Since 2017 Genel has sought to reduce its commercial risk and is no longer drilling exploration wells with only a small chance of finding oil, even if those wells could prove to yield a large pay-off in case of success, Ikaheimonen said.

“That strategy failed ... we are looking at discovered resources. We are looking at (fields with) existing or near term cash flow,” said Ikaheimonen, who joined Genel in July 2017. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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