DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced an agreement with ExxonMobil to join the Baeshiqa [Bashiqa, Bashika] license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
DNO will assume operatorship of the license with a 40 percent paying (32 percent net) interest, acquiring one-half of ExxonMobil's position.
ExxonMobil retains a 40 percent paying (32 percent net) interest, the Turkish Energy Company (TEC) its 20 percent paying (16 percent net) interest and the Kurdistan Regional Government its 20 percent carried interest.
Pending Government approval, DNO will drill an exploration well in the first half of 2018 with a second exploration well to follow on a separate structure.
The 324 square kilometer license is situated 60 kilometers west of Erbil and 20 kilometers east of Mosul. ExxonMobil had previously conducted extensive geological and geophysical studies and constructed a drilling pad before work was interrupted due to security conditions in the region.
The Baeshiqa license contains two large, undrilled structures which are expected to have multiple independent stacked target reservoir systems, including in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic.
DNO currently operates two other licenses in Kurdistan: one contains the Tawke and Peshkabir fields which together produce over 110,000 barrels of oil per day and the other the Benenan and Bastora heavy oil fields which are undergoing further appraisal and development. With three rigs currently deployed, the Company is the most active driller among the international operators in Kurdistan.
Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (pictured), DNO's Executive Chairman, said:
"We are pleased to partner with ExxonMobil, TEC and the Government on this exciting exploration opportunity.
"We bring to the project a 10-year record of successful and fast-track operations in Kurdistan, culminating in more than 200 million barrels produced to date.
"Following regularization of export payments and a landmark agreement with the Government to close out our historical receivables, our foot is back firmly on the accelerator."