Gulf Keystone Petroleum said that it raised 16 million pounds ($24 million) to start the initial stages of its 2010 drilling program in Iraq, with expectations for the number to rise during the year.

“The company is considering its best funding strategy with its advisers,” said the Oil explorer company in a statement.

The Iraq focused firm said it and broker Fox-Davies Capital placed 20.9 million shares at a price of 76.5 pence per share, equivalent to a 12 percent discount to Friday’s closing price of 87.25 pence.

Previously the reports suggested that the oil company may need to collect around $ 150 million to cover the costs of drilling. Gulf Keystone also gave more details of its drilling operations at the Shaikan block in the Kurdistan region.

Todd Kozel, CEO of Gulf Keystone said, “The short term Jurassic tests and the extended well test on the discovery zone in Shaikan-1 are expected to provide comprehensive data on potential recovery factors and to provide Gulf Keystone with our first oil production revenue in Kurdistan.”