Energy company leaves Iraq empty-handed

Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

LONDON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- British company Sterling Energy said there wasn't enough potential from a block in the Kurdish north of Iraq to keep its production sharing contract.

Sterling Energy said it notified the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq that seismic data from the Sangaw North block provided little justification to continue with drilling operations there.

"While we are naturally very disappointed to have been unsuccessful in our exploration efforts in Kurdistan, we now look forward to focusing on, and adding to, our remaining high potential exploration interests in Africa," said Sterling Chief Executive Officer Angus MacAskill.

Sterling said it started seismic surveys of the block last year. The block is about 80 miles south of the Kurdish capital Erbil. Test rates from five early wells found natural gas but not in commercial quantities.

The semiautonomous Kurdish government placed restrictions on oil exports in response to ongoing political battles with the central government in Baghdad over the oil sector. Ongoing political turmoil is in part to blame for restrictions on Iraq's post-war energy sector.

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