Genel Energy PLC, owned by billionaires Mehmet Emin Karamehmet and Mehmet Sepil as well as British investors, purchased the 21 percent stake from American company Hawler Energy for $240 million. The company already had acquired a 23 percent stake in the Bina Bawi exploration license back in May from Turkish firm Pet Holding for $175 million. This has made Genel Energy, which has operated in the region since 2002, the largest partner in the Bina Bawi oilfield, with purchases totaling $415 million for a total 44 percent stake. The other stakeholders are the Austrian energy group OMV with a 36 percent stake in the concession and the regional Kurdish government with the remaining 20 percent stake.
The Bina Bawi oilfield is located 240 kilometers east of Arbil and holds reserves estimated to be between 500 million and 1 billion barrels. The region surrounding the oilfield is known for its large reserves of natural gas. According to reports, Iraq currently has 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, a large percentage of which is located in the country's north.
In November 2011, Genel Energy merged with British Vallares and became Genel Energy PLC. It was the first Turkish firm to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. Genel Energy PLC holds seven oil exploration licenses in northern Iraq and has ongoing production at the Taq Taq and Tawke oilfields.