Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Kurdistan lies within the northern extension of the Zagros Folded Belt in northern Iraq and is one of the world’s most significant oil and gas exploration plays. In November 2007, the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq awarded an 80% participating interest in the Atrush License Block (approximately 269 km2) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to an Aspect investment vehicle, General Exploration Partners, Inc., subject to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s 25% carried option. In August 2010, ShaMaran Ventures BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ShaMaran Petroleum Corp. (TSX.V:SNM) (OMX:SNM), acquired a 33.5% equity interest in General Exploration Partners, Inc. In October 2010, Marathon Oil KDV B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), acquired a 20% interest in the block from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Operationally, an extensive exploration and appraisal work program was conducted, including the acquisition and interpretation of 2D and 3D seismic surveys, and the drilling, testing and completion of two successful exploration and appraisal wells. These efforts resulted in two major oil discoveries with gross contingent resource estimates ranging between 1.5 (1C) to 3.7 (3C) billion barrels. A Commercial Discovery was declared in November 2012, with the initial field development plan due in May 2013.
In December 2012, Aspect closed the sale of its interest in the Atrush Block to TAQA Atrush B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (also known as Taqa). As part of the transaction, Aspect agreed to a $125 million capacity building bonus payment to the Kurdistan Regional Government, which the Kurdistan Regional Government intends to use for healthcare, education, and transportation projects each administrated by the responsible department or ministry.
Additional information on Aspect’s investment in Kurdistan can be found in the following press releases:
- 13 April 2011 - General Exploration Partners Inc. Announces a Significant Oil Discovery at Atrush, Kurdistan
- 13 September 2012 - Atrush-2 Well Flows 42,212 BOPD
- 3 December 2012 - General Exploration Partners Sells 53.2% Interest in Atrush Block
- 30 August 2010 - ShaMaran Acquires Interest in Major Oil Project in Kurdistan
- 4 February 2013 - ShaMaran Announces an Increase in Contingent Resources