UK-based oil firm Gulf Keystone is preparing to export up to 5,000 barrels a day (b/d), following a request from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The oil will be exported from Gulf Keystone’s well test facility at the Shaikan field in the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq, according to a company update on 18 May.

Earlier this month, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region confirmed the release of its first oil payments to international oil companies (MEED 15:5:11).

Norway’s DNO has exported about 50,000 b/d from the region since exports resumed at the end of February, through the Kirkuk pipeline to the port of Ceyhan on the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean Sea. However, the payments had been delayed by a long-running dispute between the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad over who should pay the contractors.

DNO is set to receive $110m in its first oil export payment from the KRG, as part of the $243m paid by Iraq’s central government to the KRG to pay international oil companies. Despite this, the Oil Ministry in Baghdad continues to declare the KRG’s numerous production-sharing contracts with international oil companies as illegal.