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Iraq: ShaMaran relinquishes Pulkhana, Arbat blocks

ShaMaran Petroleum Corp., Vancouver, BC, has relinquished its 60% interest in the Pulkhana and Arbat blocks in Iraq's Kurdistan region for a consideration of $25 million payable to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The relinquishment will allow ShaMaran to focus on Atrush and Taza, considered to be its most prospective blocks. Pulkhana and Arbat were not as prospective as anticipated, ShaMaran said.

General Exploration Partners Inc. and Marathon Petroleum KDV BV plan to complete a 3D seismic survey in the current quarter over an April 2011 discovery on Atrush. The plan to drill an appraisal well in the second quarter and later install an early production system. ShaMaran owns 33.5% of GEP, which has 80% interest in Atrush, and Marathon has 20%.

Meanwhile, the first well on Taza, formerly Block K42, is to be drilled in the 2012 second quarter. Oil Search Iraq Ltd. operates Taza with 60% interest, and ShaMaran and the KRG each hold 20%.

ShaMaran noted that more than 30 mid to large international oil companies are exploring Kurdistan, which lies within the northern extension of the Zagros fold belt.

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