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Gulf Keystone Rises 21% on Speculation It Will Be Bought

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., an oil and natural-gas explorer in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, rose to a record after the company said the regional government there has the right to buy some of its acreage.

Shares climbed 21 percent to close at 266.75 pence in London, the highest since listing in 2004.

Gulf Keystone said today that the Kurdistan regional government has the right to buy into the Shaikan and Akri-Bijeel blocks. The Daily Mail newspaper reported speculation the Bermuda-based company will be taken over had been revived. Gulf Keystone denied last month it was in talks with Exxon Mobil Corp.

“Gulf Keystone will sell up, that’s the consensus,” said Alex Ogbechie, an oil analyst at Fox-Davies Capital Ltd. in London. “It’s just a matter of time. The agreement on provisions of the contracts makes investors a bit more comfortable.”

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