Apr 24, 2017

Hayward finds life anything but easy in Kurdistan

The deal for the Turkish company - called Genel Energy - was supposed to mark a successful return to the oil and gas industry for Mr Hayward, who just a year earlier had resigned as chief executive of BP following fierce criticism of him and the UK energy group during its response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the US. It also promised to be a potentially highly lucrative transaction for the four founders of the investment vehicle, called Vallares, as the deal was structured so they would receive ordinary shares in Genel equivalent to a combined 6.7 per cent stake. Six years on Mr Hayward's venture into Kurdistan has looked anything but easy. Genel is not the only oil explorer that has found Kurdistan to be far trickier than when overseas investors first visited the area following the second Iraq war and returned with excited tales of oil seeping from the ground. Energy companies active in Kurdistan have had to cope with the oil price crash since mid-2014 and difficulties in securing regular payments in exchange for their crude exports from the cash-strapped Kurdistan regional government in Erbil, which had to contribute resources towards the battle against militant group Isis. Stephen Whyte, Mr Hayward's replacement as chairman, on Monday stressed an improvement in the operating environment in Kurdistan, with more regular payments coming from the Kurdistan regional government.

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