September 10, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Britain's Gulf Keystone to resume spending to boost Shaikan output

(Adds details, background on Shaikan oilfield)

Sept 10 (Reuters) - Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd is resuming spending on the Shaikan oilfield in Kurdistan, the British-listed oil producer said on Monday, while reporting a stronger profit for the first half of 2018 led by higher output and crude prices.

Gulf Keystone has been actively evaluating development options to ramp up production at Shaikan, and had earlier set a near-term output target from the oilfield of 55,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

A gross investment of between $200 million and $230 million would be required to meet that target, the group said, of which it will cover $160 million to $184 million.

Average output from Shaikan in the first half of 2018 was 31,861 bopd, at the top end of Gulf Keystone’s target range for 2018 of 27,000 to 32,000 bopd. The company maintained that target.

“The resurgence in oil prices also played a role in the global investment community becoming increasingly positive on the prospects for the oil and gas sector,” the company said in a statement.

Oil producers have been spending more money on exploration and ramp-ups as crude prices have roughly tripled since the 2016 low, ending a period of aggressive cost cuts.

Its profit from operations was $26.6 million in the six months ended June 30, compared with $6.3 million a year earlier.

Gulf Keystone operates the Shaikan oilfield in northern Iraq and receives payments from the Kurdish government for the oil produced. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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