Genel Energy said it started drilling its Chia Surkh 10 exploration well, the first in the region. The company said the discovery area covers about 380 square miles in the southern part of the Kurdish region. It has the potential to yield about 300 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Genel in August agreed to take an additional 26 percent interest in the Miran exploration block from Heritage Energy Middle East Ltd., a subsidiary of Heritage Oil, for $156 million. The acquisition gives Genel Energy a 51 percent working interest in the Miran block, said to contain 10.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in place.
In early 2012, Norwegian oil and natural gas company DNO International and Genel announced a goal of establishing 100,000 barrels per day from the lucrative Tawke field in Kurdish north by the end of the year.
The Kurdish and central government of Iraq last month agreed to settle outstanding issues over payments to foreign companies working in the semiautonomous Kurdish north. Politic disputes between both sides had prompted the U.S. government to warn of the risks of doing business in Iraq.