Kuwait Energy Group May Sign Afghan Exploration Accord in June

A group including Kuwait Energy Co., a privately owned oil and natural-gas company, may sign an agreement in early June for two exploration blocks in northern Afghanistan, Chief Executive Officer Sara Akbar said.

“It’s in the government’s hands, we’ve almost negotiated all the terms with the government but there’s a whole process that goes in Afghanistan,” Akbar said in an interview in Kuwait today. Kuwait Energy is part of a group including Turkey’s state-owned TPAO and Dubai-based Dragon Oil Plc (DGO) that submitted bids in November for the exploration and production agreement, which is part of the 2012 Afghan-Tajik Phase 1 tender.

Kuwait Energy is still planning to sell shares in London and is waiting for the right moment, Akbar said.

“There is a huge discount in the value for companies operating in the Middle East so I think until things settle a little bit in the Middle East, I don’t think we will get the value that we are looking for,” she said.

Kuwait Energy, which posted 29 percent increase in profit last year, sees growth in 2013 through developing its operations in Yemen, Egypt and Iraq, according to Akbar. It is also building on its relations with Libya with a view to entering that market, she said.

“This year it will be a better year, except I see there is pressure on the oil price,” Akbar said. “So production will be up, but I don’t know about the oil price.”

Kuwait Energy, which also operates in Oman, Ukraine, Latvia, Russia and Pakistan, has a current daily production of 17,966 barrels of oil equivalent. The company plans to drill 16 exploration wells and 56 development wells this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at fmacdonald4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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