Norwegian oil and gas firm DNO said it has acquired operatorship and half of ExxonMobil’s stake in the Baeshiqa licence in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
The Oslo-listed company will have a 40 per cent paying and 32 per cent net interest in the licence, while ExxonMobil retains a similar level of interest after selling its one-half to DNO. The company did not disclose the value of the deal.
"We are pleased to partner with ExxonMobil, TEC and the Government on this exciting exploration opportunity," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO's executive chairman. "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," he added.
The remaining interest in the licence is held by Turkish Energy Company (TEC) at 20 per cent paying and 16 per cent net interest, while the Kurdistan Regional Government holds its 20 per cent interest.
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.
Mosul, until recently, has been Islamic State’s three-year-long stronghold and became the centre of clashes between IS forces and Iraqi-international forces.
In July, the Iraqi government, declared victory over IS after seizing the city, clearing the way for exploration and drilling in the Baeshiqa license, which contains two large, undrilled structures which are expected to have multiple independent stacked target reservoir systems.
After government approvals, DNO will drill an exploration well in the first half of 2018 with a second exploration well to follow on a separate structure.
DNO in August was given an interest in Kurdistan’s Tawke licence as payment by KRG for outstanding revenues. The company now operates two other licenses in Kurdistan including Peshkabir, which together with Tawke, produce over 110,000 barrels of oil per day.
With three rigs currently deployed, the company is the most active driller among the international operators in Kurdistan.
"Following regularisation of export payments and a landmark agreement with the government to close out our historical receivables, our foot is back firmly on the accelerator," Mossavar-Rahmani said.
The oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East, North Africa region and North Sea holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Norway, Oman, Somaliland, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Yemen.