Gazprom Neft starts exploratory drilling in Iraq’s Kurdistan region

JSC Gazprom Neft has commenced with exploratory drilling on the Shakal block in the southwest part of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Drilling has begun on one well and will soon start on a second, both of which will reach a depth of up to 3.5 km. The company says the project involves studying two oil reservoirs in the block and completed well testing by yearend or early 2015.

The block has already received 2D seismic surveys covering 1,000 line-km and the subsequent drilling of another exploration well. Upon the company joining the project, 3D seismic surveys covering 290 sq km were also conducted (OGJ Online, Oct. 17, 2013).

Canada’s Grey Wolf serves as the project’s contractor.

Elsewhere in the Kurdistan region, Gazprom Neft is conducting geological surveys of the Halabja block for which it plans 2D seismic surveys covering 1,000 line-km during this year and drilling the block’s first exploration well in 2015-16.

The company also is involved in the development of the Garmian block, which is currently undergoing further exploration and preparation for full scale development. The Kurdistan Regional government (KRG) is currently considering the initial field development plan.

Gazprom Neft has been operating in Iraq since 2010. The company's first project in the region was the development of Wasit province’s Badra deposit, where production of oil began in May (OGJ Online, June 2, 2014).

The company in 2012 signed a product-sharing agreement (PSA) with KRG for the Garmian and Shakal blocks (OGJ Online, May 14, 2013). The following year, it signed another PSA for the Halabja block.

Gazprom Neft operates the Shakal and Halabja blocks with 80% stake. It holds 40% stake in the Garmian project, for which it will become operator in 2015. KRG holds 20% in all PSAs.

The three blocks’ estimated reserves total more than 1.3 billion tonnes of oil, as of yearend 2013.

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