Gulf Keystone (LSE:GKP)

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Gulf Keystone releases investor day webcast

Oil production company Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) described itself as a "major player in the Kurdistan region" as it prepared to seek admission to the FTSE 100.

The oil and gas company published a webcast of its investor day held in London on 4 July, with some of its highlights mentioned below:

Appointment of non-executive chairman

Non-executive director Lord Guthrie said the newly-appointed non-executive chairman Simon Murray was "very, very well-respected" and "understands the workings of boardrooms at FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 level."

"He will be invaluable in supporting [chief executive] Todd Kozel and our team in the process of moving our company from AIM to the main market and achieving our ambitious plans," he added.

Murray's appointment split the roles of chairman and chief executive for the first time.

But Guthrie said Gulf Keystone was still looking for "at least one" new independent director, with the most important criteria being "independence and FTSE 100-scale public company experience."

Production

"We've got a world-class asset," said chief operating officer John Gerstenlauer, referring to the Shaikan block, located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Gulf Keystone also has shares in three other blocks in the region, all close to Shaikan.

Gerstenlauer said present estimates suggested that the company had a share of 19 billion barrels of oil across these four blocks, but stressed that "there is still significant upside potential in every one of those blocks."

By the end of 2013, he expected Gulf Keystone to have production capacity of at least 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd), and had a target of 150,000 bopd by 2015.

Financials

Based on this assumed production capacity of 40,000 bopd, finance director Ewan Ainsworth told shareholders that the company should be able to generate $292 million (£193.8 million) in 2014. In addition, increasing production to 100,000 bopd would raise net revenue to $730 million per year.

"Major company, major revenue stream," commented Ainsworth, adding that the net revenue figure would depend on how the oil was exported and that Gulf Keystone planned to meet Iraqi oil minister Ashti Hawrami later in July to finalise decisions on this.

He said that it would cost the company around $380 million for each 40,000-50,000 bopd added, and expected capital expenditure for 2014 to be $471 million.

It was also pointed out that there was no resolution to increase Gulf Keystone's approved share capital at the upcoming annual general meeting, scheduled for 25 July.

"We are on the road to becoming self-financing," Ainsworth concluded, adding that this would probably happen "in the medium term."

Executive remuneration policy

As shareholder M&G Recovery Fund accused Gulf Keystone of "excessive" executive pay, legal and commercial director Tony Peart defended the company's executive remuneration policy.

He said that remuneration was taken "very seriously" by the company and that chief executive Todd Kozel had not received a pay rise since 2004.

The rest of the management team had had their pay frozen since 2009 and did not receive pension benefits.

But he also admitted that management would receive larger cash bonus payments in 2013, a change from the past few years in which bonuses have been paid mostly in shares, reflecting the move into production at Shaikan.

He added that Simon Murray had taken over as chair of the remunerations committee on his appointment.