COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Danish energy company Maersk Oil said it received approval to start an oil field development plan in the Kurdish north of Iraq.
The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq approved a field development plan for the Swara Tika discovery in the region.
"This is an important milestone on our journey towards building a material business in the country," Richard Doidge, managing director of Maersk Oil Kurdistan, said in a statement.
The Danish oil company said one well from the area is already producing oil at a rate of around 3,000 barrels per day. The field development plan means production could reach around 15,000 bpd by next year and eventually top out at around 50,000 bpd.
The Peshmerga, a Kurdish military force, drove elements with the Islamic State out of the strategic northern city of Sinjar last week. The military assault highlights the enduring risk of operating in the Kurdish north of Iraq, which is situated near Turkish and Syrian conflict zones.
Several energy companies pulled non-essential staff out of northern Iraq last year amid heightened security risks. Most of the areas within the immediate vicinity of the Kurdish north have been spared from terrorist violence.
Maersk holds a minority stake in the license area alongside Marathon Oil, the Kurdish government and operator HKN Energy Ltd., which holds a 42 percent stake. Maersk holds a 30 percent stake in HKN Energy.