Gulf Keystone says court judgment may not come until June

Oil explorer Gulf Keystone , defending its ownership of a huge oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan after it was sued, said the outcome of the court battle may not be known until at least June.

The English Commercial Court said a judgment may take more than three months from the conclusion of the trial, expected at the end of this month or in early March, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Gulf Keystone has long been touted as a potential takeover target for an oil major looking for a foothold in Kurdistan, but the court case has been cited as a potential obstacle to any deal.

The company has been contesting claims made by Excalibur Ventures at the English Commercial Court in a trial which started in October.

The claimant, which commenced legal action in 2010, asserts it is entitled to an interest of up to 30 percent in all of Gulf Keystone's blocks in Kurdistan.

Gulf Keystone said on Monday that it continues to vigorously dispute the allegations and claims made by Excalibur.

Excalibur was ordered by the court to pay 4.7 million pounds as security for Gulf Keystone's costs on February 15, said Gulf Keystone, on top of the 6 million pounds it paid for the same purpose last year.

Shares in Gulf Keystone, which have fallen 7 percent in the last month, closed at 200 pence on Friday, valuing the firm at 1.75 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

($1 = 0.6442 British pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Paul Sandle)