Gulf Keystone Petroleum, the Aim-quoted oil explorer, has raised $175m to accelerate its Iraq-based drilling programme in a surprise share placement, the Financial Times has reported. The placement, which has not yet been announced, was run by Mirabaud Securities and priced at 140p a share. Gulf Keystone’s shares closed at 143½p on Friday. The money will be used for appraisal drilling on its showpiece Shaikan block as well as exploratory drilling on neighbouring concessions.