ShaMaran Petroleum (TSX VENTURE:SNM) has announced the start of drilling operations at the Atrush-1 exploration well in the Atrush Block, Kurdistan. The well is being operated by General Exploration Partners ("GEP"), a company jointly owned by ShaMaran (33.5%) and Aspect Energy (66.5%).
The Atrush-1 exploration well was spudded on October 5, 2010. The well which is being drilled by the Viking International 10 rig has a planned total depth of 3,100 metres and is expected to take approximately 120 days to drill. The well is targeting the same reservoir sections as the adjacent major new Shaikan oil discovery announced by Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd. Of the ten expected target reservoirs in Atrush-1, nine were confirmed to be oil-bearing in Shaikan, while the Lower Kurra Chine encountered high pressure gas.
In August, the Company announced that it had entered into a Subscription Agreement and a Shareholders Agreement with Aspect Energy International, LLC ("Aspect") whereby ShaMaran Ventures BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company had acquired a 33.5% stake in General Exploration Partners Inc ("GEP"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspect. GEP currently owns 80% of the rights and obligations of the Contractor in the PSC and the Contract Area and the Atrush-1 represents the exploration well obligation of the First Exploration Period. The obligation for the acquisition of 2D seismic was completed with 143 line kilometres acquired in 2008.
Pradeep Kabra, President and CEO of ShaMaran, commented," This well on the Atrush prospect (which appears to be similar to the adjacent Shaikan discovery announced by Gulf Keystone earlier this year) is the start of an exciting new phase for ShaMaran in Kurdistan."
The Company has completed the seismic program on the Arbat Block in eastern Kurdistan, having already acquired seismic earlier this year on its Pulkhana and K42 blocks.