Denmark’s Maersk Oil, a subsidiary of the AP Moller–Maersk Group, has acquired a 20 per cent shareholding in the US’ HKN Energy, whose sole asset is a licence in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq.

HKN Energy is the operator of the 1,200 square kilometre Sarsang licence area in northern Kurdistan. After signing a production sharing agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in 2007, the company has so far drilled one discovery well in 2011, which is expected to be brought into production in 2012.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is a step into the underdeveloped area of Kurdistan for Maersk.

“We want to gain knowledge and experience of operations in Kurdistan, which is why we have acquired a shareholding in a company already active in the region. In return, we will contribute our technical knowhow and expertise,” says Jon Ferrier, head of business development and strategy at Maersk Oil.