Long story short, in 2009, GKP discovered a massive field in the Shaikan PSC block of Kurdistan. Current estimates for OOIP are around 14 billion barrels with recoverable amounts of 2.25 billion barrels. You can read more about the field here.
I think there is a lot of misinformation on what exactly GKP owns. In the following paragraphs, I will explain how much oil GKP has at Shaikan due to the terms of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and also try to estimate what Shaikan is worth:
Slide 6 of their most recent presentation shows recoverable oil in Shaikan of 2250 million barrels. The PSC is laid out here on slide 8. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) takes 10% off the top for royalty. Of the remaining 90%, 40% of this is allocated for the contractors to recover costs. The remaining 60% is the profit oil. Of this 60%, the contractors portion is determined by an R factor which is based on the contractors revenues divided by costs. The most they can receive of this 60% is 30% and the minimum is 15%.
Let's work in gross terms for now (all numbers are in millions). From above we have 2250 recoverable oil in Shaikan. Take off 10% for KRG royalty and we are down to 2025. The cost recovery oil is 40% of this which is 810 leaving 1215 for profit oil. The contractors maximum claim to the profit oil is 30% which is 365.
So far, the maximum the contractors have claim to is 810 barrels of cost recovery oil and 365 profit oil. In 2010, the PSC was amended and a Capacity Building Bonus was added that is 40% of the contractors profit oil. This leaves the contractors with 60% of the maximum profit oil which is 219.
In total, the contractors can count 1029 barrels of oil as reserves down to a possible low of 919 by using the lowest possible percentage of profit oil. GKP's diluted WI is 54.3% in the Shaikan block. So in total, on the high side, 559 million barrels are net to GKP and the low side is 499 million barrels.
Obviously it is the KRG who wins with these PSCs, however, the companies have to agree to them to be able to explore the blocks. The actual net reserves (559 MMbbls) GKP will have is around 46% of their WI barrels (2250 * 54.3%= 1222 MMbbls). It seems incredibly low, but this is typical of these types of contracts and the Shaikan PSC is actually much better than what Genel (OTCPK:GEGYF) has on the Taq Taq block. Genel is only netting out around 22% of their WI reserves.
On the net worth side of these reserves, we can also look to Genel for some NPV values on Kurdistan reserves. According to the Genel website (Taq Taq and Tawke), Genel is valuing the finds at around $30/bbl NPV10. Applying this same valuation to Shaikan would value GKP's 559 million barrels at $16.77 billion. Current GKP market cap is around a paltry $3 billion. That is tremendous upside on Shaikan alone. GKP has many other assets along with Shaikan, including deeper targets below Shaikan.
On the flip side, there are also many other things that have kept the valuation of the company down: the lawsuit with Excalibur, the lack of export capacity, the inability of Kurdistan and Iraq to agree on the oil and gas law, and just plain old political instability.
The lawsuit with Excalibur seems like a shakedown that I am confident GKP will win. Excalibur has been asked to reveal who is backing them monetarily and I doubt they will do that so I believe the case will be dismissed.
The lack of export capacity is going to be changed with a pipeline to Turkish ports that should be completed in late 2013. The instability of the region is, no doubt, a huge overhang. The recent entries of Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM) to Kurdistan should bring a little bit of calm to the region. The Iraqi government has already been dealt a huge blow in their last lease offering by placing a clause in the leases saying the contractors could not work with the Kurds. This was almost universally shunned and the sale was woefully undersubscribed.
GKP has found massive amounts of oil at Shaikan and still has other assets to explore and appraise. As the aforementioned roadblocks slowly disappear, I would expect the share price to rise dramatically to bring more value to Shaikan. A 5x rise from here would not be out of the question. Watch for a takeover of GKP as well. XOM, CVX, or even another major would certainly love to get a piece of the massive reserves at Shaikan.
Additional disclosure: Long GKP on the LSE.