Gazprom Neft has begun drilling an exploration well at the Shakal block in Kurdistan (Iraq) and is soon to commence drilling on a second exploration well. The project will study two oil reservoirs in the Shakal block including flow testing. Well testing will be completed by late 2014 / early 2015.
Grey Wolf (Canada) has been appointed as contractor for the project based on the company’s extensive experience in the region. The wells will have a depth of up to 3.5km. Earlier, 2D seismic surveys have been conducted covering an area of more than 1,000 linear kilometres at the Shakal block, where an exploration well has also been drilled. 3D seismic surveys covering 290 square kilometres have also been conducted since Gazprom Neft joined the project.
Gazprom Neft is involved in three projects in Iraqi Kurdistan. In addition to its operations on the Shakal block, the company is conducting geological surveys of the Halabja block where it is planning 2D seismic surveys covering 1,000 linear kilometres in 2014, and drilling the block’s first exploration well in 2015-2016. Gazprom Neft is also involved in the development of the Garmian block where the deposit 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 the Badra deposit in the Wasit province. Oil production at the Badra oil field began in May 2014.
In the summer of 2012, Gazprom Neft entered into two other projects in Iraq. The company signed a product sharing agreement (PSA) with the Kurdistan Regional Government for the Garmian and Shakal blocks located in south west Kurdistan. In February 2013, the company signed an additional PSA for the Halabja block. Gazprom Neft is also the operator for the Shakal and Halabja blocks in which it owns an 80% stake. Gazprom Neft's stake in the Garmian project is 40% and the company will become the operator for Garmian in 2015. The Kurdistan Regional Government has a 20% stake in all PSAs. Estimated geological reserves for the three blocks (converted from resources), as of the end of 2013, are in excess of 1.3 billion tonnes of oil.