Petrel cuts losses, expands into Africa as market in Iraq remains uncertain

PETREL Resources has reported a significant lowering of losses and a diversification into Africa as it continues to wait for clarity on the future of the Iraq market.

The Irish oil and gas exploration company has a traditional operational focus on the Middle East. The company’s first-half results, published yesterday, showed a pre-tax loss of €171,000 for the six months to the end of June. This was down from a loss of €228,000 for the same period last year. Similarly, Petrel’s first-half operating losses fell from €232,000 to €172,000 on a year-on-year basis and its loss per share went from 31c to 22c. During the period in question, Petrel pulled out of Jordan and re-entered Africa after being offered a low-cost exploration opportunity in Ghana.

However, management has said that Iraq will remain its chief focus, even though full development of the country’s oil industry remains uncertain. On Iraq, Petrel’s chairman John Teeling said: “The Iraqi odyssey continues. Since we entered Iraq in 1999, we’ve dealt with five governments, survived a war, faced down many threats and risks – all in pursuit of oil. Iraq will, in future years, provide oil for a significant percentage of the world’s energy needs – and we will be part of it.

“The lengthy wait for a new Iraqi Government has strained patience. Iraqi oil production is down, but the principle of international company involvement is gaining acceptance. This is an important step toward creating economic terms. Financial markets are nervous, but it’s a time of opportunity.”

“But,” he added, “eleven years is a long time to wait and uncertainty continues. By diversifying into Africa, we return to our roots. Ghana will be a major force in world oil.”


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