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Losses at Genel Energy, the oil company chaired by former BP boss Tony Hayward, widened last year as it was forced to book hefty write-downs in the value of its assets, while production also disappointed.

Pre-tax losses widened to $1.25bn from $1.16bn in 2015 on revenue of $190.7m, down 44.5 per cent.

The results were dragged down by impairments of nearly $780m against its exploration assets, while production fell to 53,300 barrels of oil per day, from 84,900 the prior year. Production was at the lower end of the company’s guidance.

Shares in the group, which produces oil in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq, hit a record low earlier this week after it admitted for a second time that its flagship asset in the country contained less crude than expected.

The Taq Taq field, which is located 85km south-east of the Kurdish capital of Erbil, is now only believed to hold a remaining 59.1m barrels of oil, down from a previous estimate produced just over a year ago of 171.8m barrels.

Genel also warned there is still “significant uncertainty” over the revised forecast and the field is currently producing just 19,000 barrels of oil a day compared to 36,000 at the end of last year.

It was the second time Genel has been forced to downgrade the reserves estimate at its flagship asset, having also done so in February of last year.

Genel admitted in its full year results on Thursday that 2016 had been “challenging” and its recent share price performance “disappointing”.

Management are focused on a strategy to “reverse this trend”, the company said. Genel started out in 2011 with $2bn of cash. Its cash at the end of 2016 was $407m and net debt had increased to $241.2m from $238.8m a year earlier.

Mr Hayward is expected to depart the company this year.

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