Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Iraq: Talisman Energy Preparing Its Iraqi Kurdistan Assets For Sale

Talisman Energy, Canada's fifth largest independent oil and gas producer, said on 12 August that it still plans to sell all or a portion of its exploration properties in Iraq's Kurdistan region despite conflict in the area.

Brent Anderson, a spokesman for Calgary-based Talisman, said to Reuters that the company expects to begin the sale process in the coming few weeks and that an adviser has been selected to handle the marketing of the properties. He declined, however, to say who had been chosen to oversee the process. The company could sell all or part of its oilfields in the region depending on the amount of interest in the sale.

"We had anticipated going to the marketplace in the third quarter and this process has just started," Anderson said. "We have an adviser selected and we plan to go into the market with that adviser over the next couple of months."

The company is starting its sales process as 200,000 civilians, according to an UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) estimate, have been driven from their homes in the region in the last 48 hours and the United States carries out air strikes against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, who have captured a third of the country.

Talisman has an interest in two oil blocks in Iraq's Kurdistan region: The Kurdamir block, which it shares with WesternZagros Resources Ltd, and its wholly controlled Topkhana property, where it has just completed the drilling of a promising well. It is now assessing the results of that drilling and has yet to release its findings.

Anderson said the company's properties have not been affected by the conflict in the region; nonetheless Talisman last week evacuated most of its non-essential personnel from the area.

Talisman, recently seen as a target of a potential takeover by Spain's Repsol SA, has long said it would like to sell all or part of its Kurdistan operations. However, the timing of the sale, coming during the fighting in the region, may deter some potential buyers.

Talisman shares, however, were up nine Canadian cents to C$11.56 by early afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. C$11.56 is equal to US$10.59 and £6.32.

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

© 2014 Menas Associates

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