(Updates with closing prices in second paragraph.)
Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mol Nyrt., Hungary’s biggest refiner, jumped the most in more than a month after a report that Exxon Mobil Corp. is considering a bid for Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., Mol’s exploration partner, to develop oil resources in Iraq.
Mol’s shares soared as much as 7.2 percent and traded 6 percent higher at 18,250 forint by the close in Budapest, the biggest gain since Nov. 17. The BUX index of shares, in which Mol has a 34 percent weighting, rose 2.7 percent to 17,519.07 in a third day of gains. Hungary’s currency appreciated 0.3 percent to 303.1 per euro.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, is weighing an offer for Gulf Keystone, the Independent on Sunday reported, without saying where it got the information. Mol and Gulf jointly own the Shaikan discovery in Kurdistan, a region of Iraq.
“This would be a huge vote of confidence from Exxon toward Kurdistan,” Peter Csaszar, a Warsaw-based analyst at KBC Securities, wrote in a research report. “We expect a strong positive market reaction” for Mol, Csaszar added.
Last month, Exxon became the latest explorer to join the hunt for oil and gas in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, home to about 40 percent of Iraq’s estimated 115 billion barrels of reserves. Gulf Keystone has announced the discovery of as much as 10 billion barrels of oil in northern Iraq’s Shaikan field.
“The offer would improve the project’s assessment from Mol’s point of view,” Akos Kuti, an analyst at Equilor Befektetesi Zrt., and colleagues wrote in a research report today. “ExxonMobil’s entry would take care of financing issues for a long time.”
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