ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Norwegian oil and gas operator DNO ASA on Friday announced they had reached an agreement with ExxonMobil to join the Bashiqa project in the Kurdistan Region.
According to a statement by DNO, the oil and gas firm will undertake operatorship of the Bashiqa license with a 40 percent paying (32 percent net) interest, acquiring one-half of ExxonMobil’s position.
As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil will retain a 40 percent paying interest, while the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will preserve its 20 percent carried interest.
DNO plans to drill an exploration well in the first half of 2018 with a second exploration well to follow on a separate structure.
ExxonMobil had previously conducted extensive geological and geophysical studies and even constructed a drilling pad before work was halted due to the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in the region.
The Bashiqa license contains two large, undrilled structures which are predicted to have several independent stacked target reservoir systems.
Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO’s Executive Chairman, expressed his delight at the “exciting exploration opportunity” between DNO, ExxonMobil, and the KRG.
“We bring to the project a 10-year record of successful and fast-track operations in Kurdistan, culminating in over 200 million barrels [of oil] produced to date,” he said.
“Following regularization of export payments and a landmark agreement with the [KRG] to close out our historical receivables, our foot is back firmly on the accelerator,” the DNO official added.
The 324-square-kilometer Bashiqa license is located 60 kilometers west of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region.
Bashiqa, located in the Nineveh Province, is a disputed territory between the KRG and Iraq currently under Peshmerga control.
The area will be included in the Region’s upcoming independence referendum on Sep. 25.
With three oil rigs currently installed, DNO is the most functioning oil and gas firm among international operators in Kurdistan.