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December 14, 2016

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Sinopec eyes Gulf Keystone

CHINA’S Sinopec Corp is weighing a takeover of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, an oil company operating in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Bloomberg News said yesterday.

Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, is working with advisers and has made an approach to Gulf Keystone, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The company may also attract other bidders, according to Bloomberg News.

A spokesman for Gulf Keystone declined to comment, while Sinopec could not be reached for comment.

Gulf Keystone has been fighting to avoid insolvency after low oil prices and overdue oil export payments from the Kurdistan regional government crippled its balance sheet.

The Kurdish oil producer’s market value has tumbled to about 290 million pounds (US$368 million) as of Monday’s close from its peak valuation of 3.5 billion pounds in February 2012, according to Reuters calculations.

Earlier this year, Gulf Keystone agreed to swap US$500 million of debt for equity, wiping out some of the world’s top funds as shareholders.


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