Kuwait Energy (KEC), which despite its name is a privately-owned firm with key assets in Egypt and Iraq, this week confirmed talks to merge with London-listed SOCO International, with main assets in Vietnam and Angola.

A deal would give KEC access to public financing after a flopped attempt to raise $150mn through a London IPO last year.

KEC’s Faihaa field on Iraq’s block 9 is highly promising, with plenty of upside to current 15,000 b/d output (10,600 b/d net for KEC’s...