Bar raised for Kurdish oil estimates

June 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

OSLO, Norway, June 11 (UPI) -- Norwegian oil and gas company DNO International said testing at fields in northern Iraq may indicate oil reserves are near the 1 billion barrel mark.

DNO said it tested its Tawke-17 well at a rate of 1,500 barrels of oil per day and its Tawke-20 well at an average rate of 8,000 bpd.

DNO Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani said testing was ongoing at both sites. Preliminary results were encouraging, he said Tuesday.

"We are very pleased that initial Tawke-17 results are in line with the company's pre-drill estimates," he said in a statement. "This discovery ... likely bumps recoverable reserves on the Tawke license to the 1 billion barrel mark."

DNO has a majority stake in the Tawke field in the Kurdish region of Iraq alongside Turkish energy company Genel Energy and the Kurdistan regional government.

The semiautonomous Kurdish government gave Genel permission in January to export crude oil to Turkey by road shipments. Genel is working to convert a natural gas pipeline to facilitate additional oil deliveries.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the region last weekend to try to settle protracted political conflicts with the KRG. Export restrictions had been in place as a sign of growing frustration with the central Iraqi government over oil laws in the country.

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