Norway's DNO upbeat on Iraqi oil discovery

Nov. 6, 2012 at 6:39 AM

OSLO, Norway, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Norwegian oil and gas company DNO International said it made an oil discovery in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq that could double in-place estimates.

DNO said it encountered an oil column measuring more than 680 feet in its Erbil license in northern Iraq. The company said the discovery is expected to more than double field estimates to as much as 700 million barrels of oil-in-place.

The company said it would formalize estimates from the field, dubbed Benenan, by Nov. 15 when it releases its third-quarter earnings report.

"We are excited to continue to build reserves, production and value across our licenses in the Kurdistan region of Iraq," Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO International's executive chairman, said in a statement from Oslo.

DNO announced similar developments from the region in September. Mossavar-Rahmani said then that the drilling campaign in the Kurdish north was aggressive.

"Through these wells and others planned next year, the company is targeting in excess of 500 million barrels of gross unrisked oil and gas reserves, predominantly in Kurdistan," he said.

The central government in Baghdad had said it was considering cutting ties with foreign energy companies signing unilateral deals with the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, which controls oil-rich northern Iraq.

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