ERBIL, Iraq, May 11 (UPI) -- Energy company Gulf Keystone said the spudding of the Bakrman-1 exploration well in the Kurdish region of Iraq marks its third such regional effort.
The British oil exploration company said Bakrman-1 is the third exploration well drilled on the Akri-Bijeel block in Iraqi Kurdistan, about 15 miles northwest of an appraisal well assessing the Bijell discovery.
Gulf Keystone's exploration and appraisal program for the year targets the hydrocarbon prospects for the entire block. The company estimates Bijell holds as much as 2.4 billion barrels of oil in place.
Iraq is expected to put around a dozen oil and natural gas blocks up for auction in a fourth international licensing round at the end of the month. Baghdad officials have said Iraq has proven oil reserves of 143 billion barrels plus potential reserves of around 214 billion barrels.
The International Energy Agency, in its monthly oil report, said Iraq, Nigeria and Libya all raised their oil output last month. Iraq managed to increase its production to 195,000 barrels of oil per day, one of the highest levels in decades.